Rain then Sleet then Snow — March 4-5

A couple of “hey, I should have said [whatever]” additions to the video below:

1) The ranges of potential sleet and snow I outline in the ice/snow forecast accumulation graphic within the video (helpfully titled “SNOW & ICE FORECAST”) don’t represent our best-case/worst-case scenarios…rather, they’re the range of likeliest outcomes.  Basically, it’s the middle slice of the bell curve representing how this storm will evolve.  There are better-case scenarios than what I talk about, and believe it or not, there are worse-case scenarios.  But what I’ve outlined is bad enough.

2) Just to make sure everyone is clear on the distinction between sleet and freezing rain: freezing rain is the ice that develops on elevated surfaces (like trees and power lines).  Sleet is frozen raindrops — the ice pellets that accumulate on the ground.  Freezing rain causes power outages, sleet causes travel problems.  1″ of sleet is about as unpleasant to drive through as 4″ of snow, if you’re looking for a rule of thumb.

Anyway.  Video time!

11:30am UPDATE: Naturally, as soon as I posted the video, NWS-Nashville adjusted their timing slightly (closer to what I outlined in the video)…

…and they issued a graphic highlighting the potential for freezing rain accumulations in southern Middle Tennessee.  0.25″ isn’t enough for major problems, but it bears watching.

Our accumulation forecasts are really very similar — the one difference is that they combine the sleet and snow accumulations into one forecast number.  We haven’t done that, because sleet is a different thing…especially when you’re shoveling it.

I’ll post any updates, changes, additional NWS graphics, or random thoughts in this space as we head through the afternoon.  And of course we’ll have you covered on TV as well — our regularly-scheduled newscasts at noon and this evening, plus an extra hour starting at 3pm.  And I’ll be back on TV tomorrow morning…it will still be sleeting and snowing across most of the area at that point.

Social media links

Twitter: @WSMVweather, @PaulHeggenWSMV, @WSMVLisaSpencer, @WSMVDanThomas, @WSMVNancyVanC, @NWSNashville

Facebook: 4WARN Weather, Paul Heggen WSMV, Lisa Spencer, Dan Thomas WSMV, Nancy Van Camp WSMV, NWS Nashville

About paulheggen33

Morning meteorologist for WNCN-TV in Raleigh.
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3 Responses to Rain then Sleet then Snow — March 4-5

  1. Jeremy Squires says:

    Paul I really appreciate the in depth discussion that you do on this blog. I am amazed by how complicated it is to predict weather. And I learn something new every time I read this. I am kind of the resident weatherman for my facebook friends. It is a running joke that I have a Weather Warn Mobile One 🙂 Keep’em coming!

  2. Jordan says:

    Thanks for the update! But you didn’t update the panic meter- what level are we at? 😉

    Also, “nowcasting,” I love it!

  3. eeebeegeebees says:

    I could watch stupid cat videos all day but the second I try to watch one of these specifically my toddler flips out. I actually tried to hide to watch this one. Made it 2 minutes. I give up.

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