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Freezing Rain Possible in the South

30 Dec 2017, 8:50 pm

Your Forecast

Winter weather takes one last bite out of the south to round out 2017. The brutally cold temperatures seen in the north central regions of the country are diving south this weekend. As the arctic air marches its way farther to the south, the chance for freezing rain enters the forecast. Select locations stretching through parts of Texas into Mississippi and Alabama could see anywhere from 0.01″ to 0.25″ of ice accumulate on cold surfaces.

The main reason for this sudden change in weather is due to a strong cold front that will allow arctic air to dive farther south. Like many developing storms, we have relatively warm moist air from the south colliding with freezing temperatures north of the cold front.

The chance of freezing rain to occur in parts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama is most likely in the early morning hours Sunday and lasting through Sunday afternoon.

What Causes Freezing Rain?

All the right variables have to come into play when expecting to see freezing rain. The first ingredient is cold air at the surface. The air has to be cold enough at the surface to make surfaces like roads, sidewalks, and trees drop to 32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. The second ingredient needed is warm air above the surface. This warm air will keep any falling precipitation in its liquid form. If there isn’t enough warm air aloft, precipitation will freeze before it hits the surface. This allows for the precipitation to fall as sleet or snow. For freezing rain, rain will fall through the thick warm layer in the atmosphere before eventually falling into the shallow layer of freezing air near the surface. At this time the rain droplets haven’t had enough time to freeze, but surfaces like roads, sidewalks, and trees are at or below the 32 degree mark. The liquid rain will then come into contact with these freezing surfaces and freeze onto them. This creates a layer of ice on all surfaces, making travel extremely hazardous.

National Weather Service

Even a very thin layer of ice can make travel difficult, if not even impossible. If ice accumulation occurs in your area, it is best not to travel unless absolutely necessary. Although freezing rain can literally freeze a city in place, this event doesn’t appear to be widespread.

Record Breaking Temperatures

Surface temperatures will be on the cold side during the early morning hours on Sunday. Although these temperatures will be cold, but they won’t be record breaking. The record breaking cold won’t happen until Tuesday morning for parts of Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

For WeatherNationJosh Cozart

 

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