What causes a wintry mix of precipitation types?

High accumulations of snow are not expected, but an icy mix on the road could bring slippery conditions.

SHELBURNE FALLS, Mass. (WWLP)- A wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain caused some icy spots on the road for the Monday morning commute.

In general, the higher in elevation you live, the colder your temperatures at the surface have been this Monday morning. With warmer air battling colder air above the surface, different areas of western Massachusetts have been dealing with a variety of precipitation types reaching us at the ground below.

When temperatures above the surface and at ground level are consistently below freezing, we expect some snow. Most areas failed to even get a coating of snow, but in northern Berkshire County, some snow did fall.

Where temperatures are warmer than freezing high above the surface, but there is a thick layer of cold air leading down to the ground, then snow melts and then refreezes before hitting the ground. This causes ice pellets, or sleet, to reach the ground causing a crunchy, icy, almost snowy accumulation.

When temperatures are warm enough through the majority of the air above the surface, but at or below freezing at the surface…then raindrops hit a sub-freezing surface and freeze on contact. This causes a layer of ice to form and the process is known as freezing rain. Freezing rain is potentially the most concerning weather hazard for this Monday morning as it’s an invisible threat. You don’t know you’re driving on an icy surface until it’s too late.

Through the morning we may see a mix of all three types of precipitation listed above. However, once warm air reaches all levels of the lower atmosphere, then we will be in for a cold rain. Most of western Massachusetts saw only plain rain through the morning.

Make sure to check with the 22News Storm Team for the latest forecast and keep letting us know what different type of precipitation is falling on you by e-mailing reportit@wwlp.com

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