10 Things You Need To Know About This Weekend's Storm

10:55 PM, Dec 20, 2013   |    comments
Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Lewis
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A very complex situation is setting up for this weekend as much warmer air works up from the south and colder, Arctic air funnels down from the north.  The combination will set the stage for all sorts of icing throughout a good portion of Maine this weekend.  Here are 10 things you need to know about this weekend's storm.

  1. Light showers of freezing rain will begin overnight tonight for a good chunk of Maine, making for spots of slippery travel and footing for Saturday morning.  Although amounts won't add to much, even a trace of freezing rain can prove to be dangerous for travel...even simply walking on the front steps or walkway. (Track the precipitation with our Interactive Radar here!)
  2. Light rain and snow showers, as well as pockets of freezing rain, will continue into Saturday.  Again, amounts should be quite light.  There may be a couple inches of snow in far northern Maine by the end of Saturday.
  3. The real action begins late Saturday night with another area of low pressure moving along a nearly stationary front.  Rain will fall into air that is a few degrees below freezing, leading to freezing rain across a good portion of interior Maine.
  4. Where freezing rain does fall, ¼-½" of ice may accumulate, weighing on trees and power lines.
  5. Widespread power outages are very likely and preparations should be made for several days, perhaps, without power.
  6. The worst icing will occur several miles north of a stalled front; hardest hit areas look to be from Coos County in NH through western and central Maine, to Downeast.  The Midcoast remains a tough call, but at least some freezing rain is likely here.  Areas south of Portland should stay mainly plain rain.
  7. Travel toward the south, including southern NH, Mass, and points beyond will not be a problem with temperatures into the 50s and plain rain.
  8. In Aroostook and northern Piscataquis and Penobscot Counties, several inches of wet snow will fall, with occasional sleet mixing in.  The weight of this snow will make it difficult to move and also weigh down on tree limbs and power lines.
  9. The storm will wind down Sunday afternoon as precipitation slowly tapers and ends in the evening.
  10. The ice will result from warmer air aloft coming up from the south and warming low and mid-levels well above freezing, while dense, cold air right near ground level will be oozing southward from a strong Arctic high to our north.  Precipitation which originally falls as snow will melt in the warmer air aloft, then refreeze.  If the cold air near the ground is "tall" enough for the melted precipitation to refreeze before it hits the ground, we'll see sleet.  If the cold air isn't "tall" enough and the precipitation falls to the ground as liquid and then refreezes, we'll see freezing rain.  This is the most dangerous type of winter precipitation.

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