Snow, Sleet and Freezing Rain….Lets look at when today’s event begins….
Hello Weather Watchers!
Thanks for checking in this morning. Let’s first take a look at why Snow, Sleet and Freezing rain occur.
Can you guess why? It’s something we have harped on the last system….If you said Temperatures, you are right!
So let’s look at this graphic put together by the NWS.
On the right hand side of the graphic you can see different altitudes above the surface, 10,000′, 6500′ and 3500′.
Wintry Precipitation type is determined by having Cold Air vs Warm Air and at what levels these air masses interact.
In order to get all rain you must have temps above 32 degrees at the surface up into the atmosphere.
Now remember, typically, temperatures decrease as you increase in height or altitude, until you get to the top of the Troposphere, then the air warms for a few thousand feet before it starts to get cold as you increase into a much higher altitude.
Have you ever been to Colorado in the summer? It can be 90 in Denver and 2 hours away at Monarch Pass it’s in the upper 30s to around 40 and you can play in the snow as you are around 12-13k ft above sea level.
When it snows – the entire column of air is below freezing – from the surface on up.
Freezing Rain – you have a very shallow but very Cold Air mass at the Surface. The warm air is around 2500′ and higher. As it falls it doesn’t have time to change from a liquid to a solid. It’s so cold at the surface- around 29 or lower and it freezes on contact.
With Sleet, the precip starts as snow or a frozen solid, it goes through a shallow area of warm air around 8500 ft – it changes into a liquid and then it refreezes as it encounters cold air from just over a mile above the surface and it get colder and colder as it continues to fall and these solids combine to make sleet.
Hope you can picture/visualize all of these scenarios.
Ok- onto what we are thinking for THIS AFTERNOON INTO TOMORROW.
We still think Wintry precip will begin around our Southern Counties around 4-6 pm.
Drizzle could occur across Southern KS by your evening commute- if anything is falling it will be freezing!
Snow will be possible further West across SW KS by late afternoon/early evening.
As the system continues in trek NNE precipitation will increase in intensity making for a HAZARDOUS MORNING COMMUTE. Plan ahead and take it slow. We could see some school delays and closures.
The areas to see mostly Snow could see 1-3″
The area to see sleet could see 1-2″ of sleet and it is in between the Snow and Freezing Rain
The potential for up to a 1/4″ of Freezing Rain is also possible.
The area to see the great total precipitation will be South Central/Central/East Central/Southern Northeast Kansas.
If we see significant changes we will update you – otherwise we will provide you with just Updates to keep you informed.
REMEMBER TEMPERATURES ALOFT WILL DETERMINE THE PRECIPITATION TYPE THAT WILL OCCUR – JUST A FEW DEGREES OR JUST A FEW MILES CAN MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE-
***PLEASE PLEASE- help us track this storm by letting us know what kind of precipitation you are receiving and where you are***