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Snow, Ice, Freezing Rain: Everyone Will Get Something

By Terry Eliasen, Meteorologist, WBZ-TV Exec. Weather Producer
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(Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) – Morning commuters were greeted with 1-to-3 inches of snow this morning and I don’t know about you, but my 3-hour commute was worse than either blizzard!

Conditions are not going to improve much during the day today, in fact they will likely get worse for areas north and west of Boston as the snow mixes with and changes to an icy mix of sleet and freezing rain.

Here is how I see the storm breaking down for the remainder of today.

TIMELINE

The snow is all but over now for most areas. It is now confined to northern most Massachusetts and New Hampshire and the mix line is still making steady progress northward.

Story from here on out is the sleet and freezing rain, and the temperatures. It will take most of the day to get up to near freezing in NW suburbs; many locations in Central MA may never quite get to freezing.

Very heavy rainfall is likely in eastern and southeastern Massachusetts, (1-to-1.5 inches).

The precipitation tapers off completely between 8 p.m. and midnight.

SNOW

Highest totals will be found in northern Worcester County, western Middlesex County and in New Hampshire. We can expect 5-to-10 inches in these locations.

Closer to 128 and 495, snow will pile up to 3-to-6 inches and near Boston and the coast 1-to-3 inches.

Watch Melissa Mack’s Forecast

ICE

This will become the main problem with this storm.

Nearly all areas will transition to sleet and/or freezing rain during this afternoon and early evening.

This ice on top of several inches of snow will weigh heavily upon tree limbs and power lines and will likely cause scattered power outages and tree damage.

You may be wondering how we are getting ice when the temperatures are in the teens and 20’s.

It is a unique setup in the atmosphere where warmer air (above freezing) is flowing in at high levels, well above the ground. That warmer air is melting the snow as it passes through and then refreezing the rain drops into sleet or freezing rain.

Sleet is usually indicative of a larger layer of cold air and falls as ice pellets. Freezing rain is the most dangerous and occurs when the below freezing temperatures are just at ground level.

So the rain that falls freezes upon contact with anything and everything creating a glaze on all roadways, sidewalks, trees etc.

This is when ice can start to accumulate and really cause some serious damage. Looks like in parts of the area, namely Worcester County, there could be a ¼ inch to ½ inch glaze which forms on everything.

RAIN

An inch or more of rain is likely in Boston and all of southeastern Massachusetts this afternoon and evening.

While this may seem like the lesser of all evils with this storm, it will create some localized flooding of roads and some roof issues could arise from the weight of the snow and rain.

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