Snow vs. ice vs. rain: Why this weekend’s storm is so concerning
Hey Dan, why is it 27 degrees and raining, not snowing???
Dan, you're an idiot. It can't snow at 40 degrees!!!
When we visualize and attempt to predict a complicated winter storm — like the one aiming for New Jersey this weekend — there are so many puzzle pieces to consider. The "impacts" of a storm are always more important than "accumulations".
And in this case, the temperature profile of our atmosphere just won't be conducive to big snow accumulation. Ice accumulation (also known as accretion) is a far bigger concern, due to sleet and freezing rain.
There are four main wintertime precipitation types — snow, rain, sleet, and freezing rain. I put together this little "precipitation type primer" to offer a glimpse into the science of Meteorology and Atmospheric Thermodynamics. And then we'll discuss how it all applies to our developing weekend winter storm.