Wintry Mix Potential Tuesday Evening

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By Quincy Vagell on February 18, 2013, 6:35pm Last modified: February 19, 2013, 5:30pm

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The image above shows the SREF model forecast for 4 p.m. Tuesday.

-Light rain develops around midday or early afternoon Tuesday.
-With temperatures mainly in the lower 40's, most areas start as plain rain.
-Cooler air works in, so the rain may change to sleet or even wet snow inland.
-Precipitation quickly ends around midnight, before most places fall below freezing.
---Some of the northern hills of CT could possibly see a slushy coating of precipitation.

The image above shows critical thicknesses (red highlighted area) draped across Connecticut late Tuesday afternoon. Although this alone might appear to indicate a wintry mix, the temperature closer to the ground becomes very important. The 2-meter temperature (blue highlighted area) freezing line all the way back in western New York State. This is because a warm front lifts through Connecticut and causes temperatures near the ground to rise well above freezing. 

The image below shows the NAM model forecast at the same time, 4 p.m. Notice that although 850mb temperatures (red highlighted area) are cold enough for snow across western Connecticut, 2-meter temperatures (blue highlighted area) are right around 40 degrees.

By 10 p.m., the NAM forecasts 850mb temperatures around -3C, but since the cold front is just beginning to move through the area, precipitation tapers off before temperatures near the ground fall below freezing. The NAM forecasts readings in the upper 30's as precipitation winds down around midnight.

Basically, mostly rain is expected, but the precipitation could mix with some sleet or wet snow before tapering off. This is especially true across the higher terrain of northern Connecticut. In those areas, the higher elevation may help temperatures cool just enough for frozen precipitation. This is because the "depth" of the column of air above freezing is shallower, might would mean less melting as snow and/or sleet falls to the surface. It's in those hills that perhaps a slushy coating of snow/sleet is possible. 

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Quincy Vagell

Town: Marlborough, CT  

Reporting for WXedge since January 2012.

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