Dreaded Ice Storm Possible Friday Night

A storm system moving into the Northeast from the Ohio Valley will bring snow, sleet, freezing rain, and eventually plain rain to Southern New England this weekend.  Snow amounts will be light but I have growing concerns about a period of freezing rain Friday evening into Saturday morning.  The timing is terrible as many people will be out and about Friday night at parties, finishing up shopping, or just enjoying the holiday season.  More ice is possible on Christmas Day before we potentially end with a few inches of snow.

General Overview

WPC Forecast Surface Fronts/Precipitation Friday 7 AM

For those looking for an early start to the holiday, I don’t think you will get it.  Snow will be light as it breaks out across the region Friday AM.  Temperatures will be in the upper teens and low 20’s when the precipitation begins.  Temperatures will slowly rise throughout the day on Friday.  By 7 PM, temperatures will only be in the upper 20’s across the interior.

NDFD NWS Max Temperatures through 7 PM Friday (image Weatherbell)

At the same time, mild air will lift across the approaching warm front.  The cold air at the surface will not be easily dislodged.  So we will end up with an atmosphere profile that is cold and below freezing at the surface, but above freezing aloft.

12z NAM Hires 925 mb Temps (C) Friday 7 PM (image Weatherbell)

That means that we get rain, but it will freeze on contact at the surface.  How long we have this atmospheric profile and how much liquid falls from the sky is still unknown.  Computer guidance has slowed the advance of the 50-degree temperatures on Saturday.   If the cold air is able to hold on into Saturday AM, we could have a real ice storm problem on our hands in Central/Western MA, Northern RI, and Northern CT.  I’ll include Middlesex County in this threat area as well.

NWS Winter Precipitation Graphic

By Saturday afternoon and evening the warmer air should win and kick out the surface cold and give everyone plain rain.  Before that happens, 1-3 inches of snow is possible north of the Pike.  A general coating to an inch is possible from Hartford to Providence, north to Worcester and Boston.   Up a 0.10″ of ice accumulation is possible through Saturday AM and then 0.5-1″ of rain.  0.10″ of ice is likely confined to north and west of Worcester.  Even 0.01″-0.05″ is enough to make travel a headache in the Blackstone Valley.  I’ll be studying this closely today and tomorrow.

Christmas Eve-Christmas Day

The weather clears out on Sunday and it will warm into the upper 30’s.  The next storm system arrives after midnight on and will likely start as rain in Southeastern New England.  This is all dependant on where the low-pressure system tracks.

WPC Surface Fronts Monday 7 AM

Another period of freezing rain is possible in Western and Northern Massachusetts before going over to some snow in the afternoon.

12z EURO Precip Type Monday 7 AM (image Weather.us)

Please join me in rooting for this low to be offshore so we can get all snow in Southern New England.  Thank you.  Look for another update tomorrow.

-Zack Green

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