A Little Meteorology Lesson On Freezing Rain

Any drop that hits the ground will freeze on contact. Sidewalks, roads, trees all get coated.

Strange schedule tonight at work. Because of the football game and American Idol we were on late with an abbreviated show. I led the newscast talking about the chance for freezing rain. There’s a Freezing Rain Advisory posted from Vermont and New Hampshire all the way to New Jersey.

So much confusion! Freezing rain isn’t sleet. Freezing rain falls as plain old drops but freezes on contact! A little drizzle can coat a highway with ice. More than a little scary.

The squiggle of lines at the top of this entry is all you need to see to understand freezing rain.

Going up-and-down (the “y” axis if you’re not math challenged) on the chart takes you higher and lower in the atmosphere. The yellow spider’s web of lines represent temperature.

The important thing to know is it’s predicted to be at least 37.4&#176 Fahrenheit… maybe a little warmer at 6,000 feet tonight! Any snow at that altitude would melt and fall as rain. It probably won’t refreeze on its way down.

Of course here on the ground we’re in the 20s and low 30s. Any drop that hits will freeze on contact. Sidewalks, roads, trees all get coated.

There doesn’t look to be too much precipitation overnight. Icing will be limited. Even a little is too much.

3 thoughts on “A Little Meteorology Lesson On Freezing Rain”

  1. HI,GEOFF! Hope it’s not too slippery in the morning, my wifes taking the bus to work, and i have errands to run. My condolences on the death of DR. MEL GOLDSTEIN,i know you two were close,being colleagues on CH 8 . Between the 2 of you, i learned so much about the intracasies of weather, especially NEW ENGLAND weather. ­čÖé

  2. When I was a kid they called it glaze. I remember walking out the front door one morning and going down the stairs on my butt. A slip and slid walk to the bus stop was in order, and it wasn’t till then that I and my school mates realized there was no motor vehicle traffic on the road. No one was moving. A good quarter inch of ice lay on the ground which resilted in a slip and slid walk back home. No school that day.

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