Ice Wednesday night & a big thaw to follow

A big time January thaw is expected Thursday and Friday, with significant snow melt and heavy rain. Flooding is a concern as well, with ice jams possible.

Posted: Jan 9, 2018 4:46 PM

The deep freeze seems to be gone for now. Our temperatures have climbed above freezing again for the second day in a row. The streak of below freezing temperatures reached 16 days in a row before Monday. A significant warm up is expected as we head into the end of the week.

A warm front is on the way for Wednesday evening. Temperatures will start out in the teens Wednesday morning and slowly climb throughout the day. An east wind is expected to develop and lock in the cold air in the Mohawk Valley. This will prevent temperatures at the surface from climbing above freezing by evening. Higher in the atmosphere, the warm air will not be stopped. This combination of warm air aloft with below freezing surface temperatures is expected to produce sleet and freezing rain Wednesday evening. The window of this happening looks to be between 8pm-midnight in the Adirondacks and Mohawk Valley.

The warmth on the way is impressive.  Our typical January thaw features a day in the 40s, but this time around, we're expected 48 hours of temperatures at or above 40 degrees.  The peak of the warmth looks to be on Friday, with highs in the 50s!  This type of warmth is expected to significantly reduce the snow pack in the lower elevations.  The snow is too deep to entirely melt north of the Mohawk Valley.  Wind and rain will accelerate the melt, especially on Friday afternoon and evening.  The potential for localized flooding and ice jams are possible as this warm air arrives.

A cold front will eventually catch up with us on Saturday.  Along this front, a wave of low pressure will bring a wintry mix to the region.  At this point, it's too early to say what the predominant precipitation will be (rain, snow, sleet/freezing rain), but it has the potential to impact travel on Saturday.  Colder weather will follow in this storm's wake, with highs back in the teens by early next week. 

This next round of cold is not expected to be the norm though, with long term weather patterns hinting at another warm up later in the month.

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