Icy commute expected Friday morning

Weather Blog

Clouds move in tonight, Freezing Rain expected before dawn Friday

Today was a dry and chilly day and there has been a decent break from the wet weather that pushed through late Tuesday into early Wednesday.  The wet weather is back and 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 or in some spots two tenths 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.  An ice storm is classified by ice accumulation over a quarter of an inch. 

As for the forecast:  tonight, I expect to see clouds lower and thicken as the night moves on with freezing rain starting in North Carolina a few hours after midnight.  The freezing rain will creep up from the southern border overnight and be fairly widespread by the morning commute.  Our counties in the eastern Piedmont may not be impacted much by the ice, but they will see some pockets of ice none the less. As mentioned above, freezing rain will begin before sunrise, but I don’t expect the freezing rain to last much longer than the 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.

The rain should linger off and on through the day Saturday with the sun trying to poke out before sunset at 5 o’clock.   

Sunday looks quiet and cool with highs in the upper 40s to low 50s. Snow will likely be an issue on the west facing slopes of the Alleghany Highlands on Sunday, but most locations will not see any more precipitation.  More rain may return as early as Monday and might bring a bit more ice to our northern neighbors Monday night.  Rain is likely to continue into Tuesday before a dry period begins on Wednesday and lasts for a few days.

Stay Safe.

John Carroll
Chief Meteorologist

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