Beware of icy travel with Friday’s storm


An SUV in Sandwich embedded in sea spray ice during the weekend storm that hit Greater Boston. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Over the years I have become very reluctant to drive in winter weather.

I try to avoid it at almost all costs because why would I introduce unnecessary risk if I don’t have to? Friday morning is one of those times when I advise you to stay at home if you don’t have to go on the roads, despite the fact that they are passable. Winter weather advisories are posted for much of the region tomorrow due to freezing rain and sleet.

  • What forecasters say about snow and sleet on Friday

  • 6 maps predicting the amount of snow and sleet that will affect mass on Friday

There’s a lot going on in the atmosphere over the next 24 hours, nothing really good. Our mild Thursday will slowly become damp overnight with a steady period of rain developing. As the rain continues, colder air will arrive. The rain will be heavy enough to create flooding on city streets before the cold air arrives.

Beware of icy travel with Friday's storm
The rain will change to freezing rain and then ice pellets when it ends Friday afternoon. – Doorbell

Because cold air is heavy and dense, it will actually appear at the lowest levels of the atmosphere near the ground before appearing higher up. The best way to show this is to look at a forecast profile of what the air will look like tomorrow mid-morning. Note below that at the surface temperatures should be below zero with a northerly wind, but a few thousand feet above the ground it will actually be warmer than zero with a southwesterly breeze. .

When temperatures are above or warmer than they are below, we call it an inversion and powerful inversions like this lead to sleet or freezing rain.

Beware of icy travel with Friday's storm
Warm air over cold air on Friday will create freezing conditions throughout the morning. – Tropical bites

The structure of the atmosphere each hour of tomorrow will be critical to the type of precipitation we observe. The greater the warm layer above, the more likely we are that the rain will freeze on contact with roads, trees and wires.

As the cold air begins to become more pronounced, the rain will have a chance to refreeze into sleet pellets. Although not an ideal type of precipitation, it is much easier to navigate and, of course, does not cause such major problems.

Beware of icy travel with Friday's storm
Total snowfall for Friday’s storm. –Dave Epstein

The total accumulation of sleet and freezing rain will be about an inch thick with mud, with the heaviest accumulation of snow and sleet confined to northern New England.

The change from rain to freezing rain and possibly sleet will occur from northern Massachusetts a few hours before sunrise, moving into Greater Boston around 8:00 a.m. and then progressing south from there.

Beware of icy travel with Friday's storm
Temperatures will drop into the 20s in Boston on Friday morning. – Doorbell

At first the rain will freeze, turning from liquid to solid, but eventually you will see sleet pellets mixed in. The faster the atmosphere cools, the faster sleet will develop and the less chance there will be of significant problems. freezing rain. That’s what most gauges show, but if the transition from freezing rain to sleet takes a bit longer, there will be more glaze on things like tree branches, wires and such surfaces.

Make sure you have a good ice scraper in your car tomorrow and put your windshield wipers in the upright position if your car is outside.

Beware of icy travel with Friday's storm
Precipitation totals will range from one to two inches by Friday. – Doorbell

After starting in the teens on Saturday, temperatures will only reach around 20 degrees and then it’s very cold for Sunday morning with a few spots just around freezing. The weekend will be dry with lots of sunshine.

Daily local weather forecast

  • Today
    February 03


  • Fri
    February 04

    Freezing Rain

  • sat
    February 05

    Partially sunny

  • Sun
    February 06

    Intermittent clouds

    Intermittent clouds


  • Mon
    February 07


  • Tue
    February 08


  • Wed
    February 09

    Partially sunny


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