Chilly night ahead, icy forecast Friday morning.

Weather Blog

Dry and chilly pattern for now, freezing rain slated for Friday morning

We have seen the last of the wet weather for a couple of days but when it returns it will start out as freezing rain.  Freezing rain is rain that falls as liquid precipitation or rain, then freezes on contact.  It is basically a raindrop that is just about ready to freeze into an ice pellet but hits the ground before it can change from a liquid to a solid.  It does that when it comes in contact with a cold surface, like the windshield of your car or a tree branch or a power line.  This produces an icy glaze over time and if it goes on long enough will build up a decent coating on whatever is on the surface.  I am expecting a period of freezing rain on Friday morning that may accumulate about a tenth of an inch.  That may not seem like much but it will make roads, your deck and sidewalks slippery and coat some branches and power lines.  Not enough to be classified as an “ice storm” but a dangerous driving day none the less.

As for the forecast before that I expect to see clear skies tonight and cold temps.  The air mass that was responsible for switching the rain yesterday into snow is in place under mostly sunny skies today and will translate into a cold night.  Lows are expected in the low to middle 20s most spots with a few teens in the higher elevated locations.   The cold air will “wedge” up against the mountains and be tough to scour out.  That is why we do expect some freezing rain on Friday morning.

Thursday starts off on the sunny side but by the end of the day we begin to see clouds moving into the region.  These clouds will ride over the cool wedge and should thicken as the evening comes upon us.

By Friday there will be the dangerous combination of rain falling into the cold pool of air at the surface.  As mentioned above, freezing rain will begin the day.  I don’t expect the freezing rain to last much longer than the early morning hours before being overtaken by regular rain.  The rain will be chilly enough that we may not get much fog, but some pockets of fog may develop as we move into the middle of the day.  The rain may cause some minor flooding as we could see about an inch or so of rain before it tapers off Saturday morning.

Yes, the rain should linger off and on into the early portion of Saturday. Usually this far out the models tend to keep the rain going longer than it actually does so if the rain lasts past mid-morning on Saturday I will be surprised.  The sun should appear from behind the clouds by the afternoon and we should salvage a fairly decent weekend weather-wise. 

Sunday looks quiet and cool with highs in the upper 40s to low 50s.  More rain may return as early as Monday or Tuesday next week.

By the way, there was light snow recorded at Roanoke regional airport just after midnight, but I am not sure if that qualifies as measurable snow so I believe we are still waiting on our first “official” snowfall of the season.

Stay Safe.

John Carroll
Chief Meteorologist

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