Friday, January 10, 2014

Another Icky Rainstorm For Vermont, With A Little Ice

It's warmed up from that glancing, not so bad blow from the "polar vortex" earlier this week.
Will all the rain in the forecast make my
icy driveway in St. Albans worse, or will it
(hopefully!) melt some of the ice?   

With Friday temperatures in the upper 20s and low 30s you'd think this would be a nice set up for a pleasant snowfall instead of the rain and ice storms we've gotten so far this winter.

Think again.

A freezing rain advisory is up Saturday morning for all of Vermont, except for the Champlain Valley and Rutland County.

That freezing rain will probably ice up some roads Saturday morning, since they're so cold from that chilly weather we had earlier this week.  There won't be enough freezing rain to cause renewed power problems or tree damage, though, so there's that glimmer of good news.

However, it will really, REALLY warm up Saturday afternoon, reaching near 50 in some areas,  so the main threat is flooding.  Flood watches are up for all of Vermont except Grand Isle County.

Rainfal with this storm will amount to about an inch. That's fairly substantial for winter, but nothing horribly extreme.

The problem is, the ground is frozen. the moderately heavy rain will run off instead of soaking into the ground. . In some parts of Vermont, especially in the northwest, there's a thick layer of ice on top of the snow cover. That will encourage rain to run off, too, instead of soaking in.

So, all that water goes into those partly frozen rivers, the ice on those rivers will start to break up, and  there will be some ice jams. Plus, culverts and storm drains are clogged up with ice from those ice storms we had earlier this winter, so street flooding is going to be a problem.

All that ice underfoot has really been a problem for people trying to negotiate icy driveways and sidewalks and this won't really help. Rain makes the ice smooth and even more slippery. Some of the ice will melt, of course, and that's a good thing, but still.

It'll stay sort of mild in the Northeast through Tuesday. On Sunday and Monday, minor thawing will allow a bit more ice to melt, and some of the water from Saturday's storm to drain.

But there is the possibility of another soaking rain storm arrives Tuesday. Then it will turn colder, but not brutal. Instead of another round of below zero weather, we'll have pretty normal weather by the end of the week.

That means highs in the 25-30 range, and lows in the upper single numbers and teens. Not bad!

But I'm still waiting for that nice powdery dump of snow.

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