Freezing Drizzle, Melting Today, And Long-Term Forecast

March 5th, 2014 at 8:35 am by under Weather

I knew that I would have to take a little extra time to get to work this morning due to some iciness on the roads.  What I didn’t realize was how thick the glaze of ice would be on my car.  It took me about 8 minutes to try to scrape off the windshield.  When I finally got it loose, it came off as a sheet of ice.  That wasn’t the only thing frozen.  Here was our tower cam which sits a couple hundred feet in the air.

Ice Glaze On Tower Cam 10

Ice Glaze On Tower Cam 10

Look at that later of ice!  There actually wasn’t a lot of precipitation last night. However, it was persistent and there was good coverage in the metro area.  Here was the view on Super Doppler 10 early this morning.

Freezing Drizzle On Radar

Freezing Drizzle On Radar

I talked about this yesterday in the morning that we would have a possibility of freezing rain moving in from the south.  Then at midday I talked about it getting a little farther north, and lasting longer.  So this small area of precipitation caused a lot of traffic problems this morning.  Temperatures were near the freezing mark.  Most roads were wet in the metro, but there were many spots of black ice.  There was a large accident on the James River Bridge due to the icy/wet conditions.

Jame River Bridge

Jame River Bridge

There were actually many accidents this morning as numerous vehicles hit those icy spots.  The small area of freezing drizzle was caused by a weak area of low pressure which formed just to the east of the Outer Banks.

Satellite/Radar

Satellite/Radar

Today the low will slowly push away from land as high pressure builds in from the northwest.  We will see at least some clearing this afternoon.  If we’re lucky then we’ll go to partly cloudy skies by the early afternoon.  Especially towards Williamsburg, Gloucester and Reedville.   High temperatures will be in the low/mid 40s.  Winds will be out of the north at about 10-15mph.

Tonight we’ll have partly cloudy skies. Low temps will drop to the low 30s, but there will probably be some 20s inland.  Luckily we’ll have had a chance to melt and evaporate a lot of the ice and water today.  So I don’t anticipate too many problems tomorrow morning.  Tomorrow we’ll have a lot of clouds around and a few spotty showers late in the day. Highs will be in the mid 40s.

On Friday another area of low pressure will form and move along the southeast coast.  This will be a stronger area of low pressure. It will bring us a higher chance for rain and stronger winds as well.  It will turn into a weak coastal storm that will push away from us by Friday night.  I don’t see any Wintry problems with this one, but I will be tracking the wind, rain, and higher tides.  We may see some nuisance to minor tidal flooding on Friday, but luckily we will have a half moon.  That phase is not conducive to tidal flooding, unless there is a major system nearby.

We are still looking good this weekend.  Skies will be partly to mostly cloudy with highs in the 50s.

Some folks are wondering when we will finally warm up.  While we will have some warmer days ahead, I believe the weather pattern will favor colder air through the rest of March.  The big reason for this is the snow cover across a large part of the eastern United States.

http://www.nohrsc.noaa.gov/snow_model/images/full/National/nsm_depth/201403/nsm_depth_2014030505_National.jpg

Snow cover across the U.S.

The snow is cold in itself.  However, the snow also reflects a lot of light.  It doesn’t absorb it and turn it into heat.  The amount of light reflected is called albedo.  A higher albedo can cause cooling over a large region.  It can force cooling during the day, and support colder air at night.  So that will likely be a big driver of our short-term weather.  In terms of climate…the North Atlantic Oscillation has been positive lately.  Usually that means warmer weather along the east coast, but not always.  Remember, the Winter of 1979-1980 was also positive.  Do you remember what happened in the March of that year?  During the circus? Though the NAO did go negative into 1980 unlike this year. The Arctic Oscillation has been negative lately.  That has probably been a big factor in our recent cold, but is forecast to go positive soon.  So that could mean the warmer air will try to push in on more occasions.  However, I still think the cooler weather will dominate.

The cooling pattern will likely induce troughing (dipping of the jetstream).  That means more areas of low pressure will try to form and move into the area.  I think we still will have a shot or two of more snow in the next month.  It will probably be more in the way of a mix, but we’ll see.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler

One Response to “Freezing Drizzle, Melting Today, And Long-Term Forecast”

  1. [...] another lovely wintry mix in the region.  Yes…that was sarcasm.   I mentioned in a blog weeks ago, that we would have a chance for snow through at least March.   I wouldn’t be surprised to [...]

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