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First widespread snowfall in the books

The first snow accumulation of the season arrived on Friday.

Posted: Nov. 9, 2018 8:25 PM

Our wild day of weather is coming to a close, with rain turning to snow this afternoon and now back to rain this evening. Before the changeover, the snow managed to accumulate across the region. The valley locations picked up an inch of snowfall, but the hilltops saw several more inches.

The heavy, wet snowfall created slippery driving conditions across the region, with dozens of traffic accidents. Road conditions improved in the evening as snow changed to rain and slush melted off the roadways.

Today was a unique event in the sense that temperatures remained near or above freezing during the snowfall. This is called an isothermal environment and snow is produced from something called evaporational cooling. The air aloft was below freezing, and the heavy precipitation drew that cold air down to the surface. It's uncommon and not something easily predicted, as temperatures need to be just right in order for all of this to unfold. It also takes a consistent, steady amount of precipitation to pull this off, as any breaks in the snow will cause the air to warm up again at the surface, turning it back to rain.

Going forward, we are tracking lake effect snow showers for Saturday. A few show showers are expected in the morning off Lake Erie, followed by widespread snow from Ontario in the evening. Our concern here is Saturday night, with snow falling in a freezing environment. Watch out for icy conditions through Sunday morning.

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