To get freezing rain you must have an inversion to begin with. (NWS, NOAA)
If you follow the physical laws of the atmosphere then you know that generally as a parcel of air moves up in the atmosphere it will move into colder temperatures. I say general here because many times that law is broken and we see a temperature inversion. I have blogged about temperature inversions that cause the surface temperature to stay at an almost constant temperature. Warm air aloft traps colder surface air at the surface.
Well put that theory into another variable here. Because we had a weather system moving toward the area we saw warmer air ahead of it. Instead of falling to the surface that warmer first goes above the heavier, colder air and we have an inversion. When we have precipitation falling in this situation we have another problem. The precipitation may be frozen but when collides with the warmer layer of the atmosphere caused by the inversion, it turns to liquid. When this liquid hits the ground and falls onto a freezing surface we have what we call freezing rain.
After several hours the warmer air was allowed to mix in with the colder air at the surface and we are back to seeing a profile of warmer air at the surface and colder air aloft.
Precipitation moves in by morning and we continue to have the potential for it to begin as a brief period of freezing rain across northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio. This means some icy patches are possible on any untreated roads early Thursday morning.
The freezing rain potential is highest from Bluffton, Decatur, Van Wert and northward. Early morning temps in more southerly locations are more likely to be above freezing as the precip moves in, meaning only liquid rain will be present in these spots.
Best chances for freezing rain come between 4 and 10 AM
Morning commute temps will be near freezing in many spots
Our window of opportunity for freezing rain will come from between 4 AM and 10 AM but, most likely, we will not see freezing rain for the entire 6 hour period. Temps will be on the rise and, once we get a few degrees above freezing, the ice worries will melt away.
Scattered rain falls during the day before colder air comes in by late afternoon/evening, changing our rain back to snow showers. But, little accumulation is expected – only a coating/dusting of snowfall at most.
Rain changes to snow during the afternoon into evening
I wanted to show you what I see on a surface map. Here is how I would label a surface map and just some notes I had for the radar map. This is the system headed toward our area Thursday and there are some key aspects that I pointed out on the surface map. 1. Notice that we have high pressure across the area for Wednesday and that means sunshine but cold temperatures. 2. There is an area where isobars are packed tightly. This is what is known as a ‘tight gradient’. In simple terms that means that I see gusty winds in this area. These winds will be headed this direction. 3. Notice the radar and I plotted morning temperatures which are in the 40s in the northern Rockies. Yes, that is quite unusual for this time of year.
Here is Futurecast at 9am Thursday 1/29
Futurecast shows the progression of this system which is expected to only bring a short period of freezing rain to our area. This most likely will not mean ice accumulation. This depiction on Futurecast shows that the freezing precipitation is already changing to rain by mid morning.
After devoting our most recent posts to the the ongoing snowstorm in the Northeast, I thought I’d use this post to bring our focus back to northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio and the amount of snowfall we’ve received so far this season.
Last year, by this time, we had already picked up 41.7″ and, remember, 33.5″ is our average yearly snowfall in Fort Wayne. So, we’d already surpassed it by this point in 2014.
Here this winter, our current snow total is 17.1″, which is down 2.2″ from the average-to-date.
Fort Wayne snow stats
Some light precip, including some sctd. snow showers, is expected on Thursday. But, more notable snowfall looks like it could be in the cards for Sunday.
Right now, we’re tracking an incoming system which has the potential to give us multiple inches of snow. At this point, I’d place the snowfall totals to be around 3″-5″, but it’s really early to nail this forecast down. It will certainly change between now and Sunday as this incoming system evolves and its storm track becomes more certain. So, please continue to keep checking our wane.com updates and our forecasts on NewsChannel 15.
As of this posting, there’s a blizzard underway affecting the northeastern U.S and it won’t be easing up till Wednesday.
The inches of snow this storm brings will end up equaling feet in some places! Plus, the high winds that are coming along with it will make matters even worse. Travel in this part of the country will be near impossible. Flooding is likely to occur in coastal areas with ocean water being forced inland as a result of this storm.
You may have seen Jesse Hawila’s storm update on our 5 & 6 pm newscasts tonight. Here a few graphics from that report that emphasize the impressive nature of this storm:
Here are updated and in most cases final snowfall totals for the last snowfall that moved through our area. WANE TV has 1.99″ and the Airport totals as of 7am on Monday 1/26 has 2″. These are totals which have been reported Monday morning for snowfall across NE Indiana and NW Ohio.
The snow has been falling all afternoon and will continue for the rest of the night. The snow will remain mostly light in nature with a few areas seeing moderate snow at times. The heavier pockets of snow will fall in southern Wells, Adams, Grant, Blackford, and Jay counties. These are the areas most likely to see the ‘heftier’ totals. Below is a look at midnight local time of a high-resolution model showing the precipitation moving out.
Still thinking the same accumulations from the map made last night. Most locations 1 to 3 inches with the heavier totals in our southern counties. Also, the winds will stay gusty this evening with NE winds gusting to 25 or 30 at times. Stay updated on your forecast by checking our forecast video!
The arrival of the snow is pushed back a few hours. A few rain showers will be possible this morning before the transition to snow for most locations around the lunch hour. Jay and Blackford Counties may see rain even into the early afternoon before changing to snow. We’re still anticipating this to be a minor event with most locations only seeing 1″ to 3″. Where the heavier snow falls (from about Bluffton through Van Wert) could see up to 4″, but that would be isolated.
The snow is expected to move out after sunset. Temperatures will plummet into the lower teens by Monday morning, so slick spots are still likely as you begin your workweek.