Rain and snow mixed

Last updated
A small amount of slush can be produced from a mixture of rain and snow 2014-03-04 06 31 33 Slush produced from a mixture of rain and snow (Commonwealth definition of sleet).JPG
A small amount of slush can be produced from a mixture of rain and snow

Rain and snow mixed is precipitation composed of a mixture of rain and partially melted snow. Unlike ice pellets, which are hard, and freezing rain, which is fluid until striking an object where it fully freezes, this precipitation is soft and translucent, but it contains some traces of ice crystals from partially fused snowflakes, also called slush. In any one location, it usually occurs briefly as a transition phase from rain to snow or vice versa, but hits the surface before fully transforming. Its METAR code is RASN or SNRA. [1]

Contents

Terminology

This precipitation type is commonly known as sleet in most Commonwealth countries. [2] However, the United States National Weather Service uses the term sleet to refer to ice pellets instead. [3] In Ithaca, NY, the term Ithacating is used to describe precipitation made of a mix of rain and snow. [4]

Formation

This precipitation occurs when the temperature in the lowest part of the atmosphere is slightly above the freezing point of water (0 °C or 32 °F). The depth of low-level warm air (below the freezing level) needed to melt snow falling from above to rain varies from about 230–460 m (750–1,500 ft) and depends on the mass of the flakes and the lapse rate of the melting layer. Rain and snow typically mix when the melting layer depth falls between these values as rain starts forming when in that range. [5]

Rain-snow-mix soundings; left diagram shows typical skew-T appearance, while right diagram shows variations which result in mixtures of rain and snow Rain snow mix soundings.png
Rain-snow-mix soundings; left diagram shows typical skew-T appearance, while right diagram shows variations which result in mixtures of rain and snow

"Wintry showers" or "wintry mixes"

Wintry showers is a somewhat informal meteorological term, used primarily in the United Kingdom, to refer to various mixtures of rain, graupel and snow at once. Though no "official" criteria exist for the term, in the United Kingdom the term is not used when any significant accumulation of snow on the ground takes place. It is often used when the temperature of the ground surface is above 0 °C (32 °F), preventing accumulation from occurring even if the air temperature near the surface is marginally below 0 °C (32 °F); but even then, the falling precipitation must generally have something else other than exclusively snow.

In the United States, wintry mix generally refers to a mixture of freezing rain, ice pellets, and snow. [6] In contrast to the usage in the United Kingdom, in the United States it is usually used when both air and ground temperatures are below 0 °C (32 °F). Additionally, it is generally used when some surface accumulation of ice and snow is expected to occur. During winter, a wide area can be affected by the multiple mixed precipitation types typical of a wintry mix during a single winter storm, as counter-clockwise winds around a storm system bring warm air northwards ahead of the system, and then bring cold air back southwards behind it. Most often, it is the region ahead of the approaching storm system which sees the wintry mix, as warm air moves northward and above retreating cold air in a warm front, causing snow to change into ice pellets, freezing rain and finally rain. The reverse transition can occur behind the departing low pressure system, though it is more common for precipitation to freeze directly from rain to snow, or for it to stop before a transition back.

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ice storm</span> Weather event characterized by freezing rain

An ice storm, also known as a glaze event or a silver storm is a type of winter storm characterized by freezing rain. The U.S. National Weather Service defines an ice storm as a storm which results in the accumulation of at least 0.25-inch (6.4 mm) of ice on exposed surfaces. They are generally not violent storms but instead are commonly perceived as gentle rains occurring at temperatures just below freezing.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Freezing rain</span> Rain maintained at temperatures below freezing

Freezing rain is rain maintained at temperatures below freezing by the ambient air mass that causes freezing on contact with surfaces. Unlike a mixture of rain and snow or ice pellets, freezing rain is made entirely of liquid droplets. The raindrops become supercooled while passing through a sub-freezing layer of air hundreds of meters above the ground, and then freeze upon impact with any surface they encounter, including the ground, trees, electrical wires, aircraft, and automobiles. The resulting ice, called glaze ice, can accumulate to a thickness of several centimeters and cover all exposed surfaces. The METAR code for freezing rain is FZRA.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Winter storm</span> Event in which the varieties of precipitation are formed that only occur at low temperatures

A winter storm is an event in which wind coincides with varieties of precipitation that only occur at freezing temperatures, such as snow, mixed snow and rain, or freezing rain. In temperate continental climates, these storms are not necessarily restricted to the winter season, but may occur in the late autumn and early spring as well. A snowstorm with strong winds and other conditions meeting certain criteria is called a blizzard.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Precipitation</span> Product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls under gravity

In meteorology, precipitation is any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls under gravitational pull from clouds. The main forms of precipitation include drizzle, rain, sleet, snow, ice pellets, graupel and hail. Precipitation occurs when a portion of the atmosphere becomes saturated with water vapor, so that the water condenses and "precipitates" or falls. Thus, fog and mist are not precipitation but colloids, because the water vapor does not condense sufficiently to precipitate. Two processes, possibly acting together, can lead to air becoming saturated: cooling the air or adding water vapor to the air. Precipitation forms as smaller droplets coalesce via collision with other rain drops or ice crystals within a cloud. Short, intense periods of rain in scattered locations are called showers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Black ice</span> Thin coating of glazed ice on a surface

Black ice, sometimes called clear ice, is a thin coating of glaze ice on a surface, especially on roads. The ice itself is not black, but visually transparent, allowing the often black road below to be seen through it. The typically low levels of noticeable ice pellets, snow, or sleet surrounding black ice means that areas of the ice are often practically invisible to drivers or people stepping on it. There is, thus, a risk of slippage and subsequent accident due to the unexpected loss of traction.

A winter storm warning is a hazardous weather statement issued by Weather Forecast Offices (WFO) of the National Weather Service (NWS) in the United States to alert the public that a winter storm is occurring or is about to occur in the area, usually within 36 hours of the storm's onset.

A winter weather advisory is a hazardous weather statement issued by Weather Forecast Offices (WFO) of the National Weather Service in the United States when one or more types of winter precipitation—snow, rain and snow mixed, freezing rain, sleet, graupel, etc.—presenting a hazard, but not expected to produce accumulations meeting storm warning criteria, are forecast within 36 hours of the expected onset of precipitation or are occurring in the advisory's coverage area.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ice pellets</span> Precipitation consisting of small, translucent balls of ice

Ice pellets are a form of precipitation consisting of small, hard, translucent balls of ice. Ice pellets are different from graupel which is made of frosty white opaque rime, and from a mixture of rain and snow which is a slushy liquid or semisolid. Ice pellets often bounce when they hit the ground or other solid objects, and make a higher-pitched "tap" when striking objects like jackets, windshields, and dried leaves, compared to the dull splat of liquid raindrops. Pellets generally do not freeze into other solid masses unless mixed with freezing rain. The METAR code for ice pellets is PL.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Slush</span> Mixture of snow and liquid water

Slush, also called slush ice, is a slurry mixture of small ice crystals and liquid water.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Graupel</span> Precipitation that forms when supercooled droplets of water freeze on a falling snowflake

Graupel, also called soft hail, hominy snow, or snow pellets, is precipitation that forms when supercooled water droplets in air are collected and freeze on falling snowflakes, forming 2–5 mm (0.08–0.20 in) balls of crisp, opaque rime.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">December 21–24, 2004 North American winter storm</span>

A historic snowstorm struck the Ohio Valley of the United States, as well as Ontario in Canada, on December 22 and December 23 and is not the same storm that led to snow in Texas on Christmas Eve. It lasted roughly 30 hours, and brought snowfall amounts up to 29 inches (74 cm) to portions of the Midwestern United States. Damages from the storm totaled US$900 million (2004 dollars). A total of 18 died during the storm, one from Canada, mainly due to car accidents.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Snow in Florida</span> Snow events in Florida, USA

It is very rare for snow to fall in the U.S. state of Florida, especially in the central and southern portions of the state. With the exception of the far northern areas of the state, most of the major cities in Florida have never recorded measurable snowfall, though trace amounts have been recorded, or flurries in the air observed few times each century. According to the National Weather Service, in the Florida Keys and Key West there is no known occurrence of snow flurries since the European colonization of the region more than 300 years ago. In Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Palm Beach there has been only one known report of snow flurries observed in the air in more than 200 years; this occurred in January 1977. In any event, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Palm Beach have not seen snow flurries before or since this 1977 event.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cold-air damming</span>

Cold air damming, or CAD, is a meteorological phenomenon that involves a high-pressure system (anticyclone) accelerating equatorward east of a north-south oriented mountain range due to the formation of a barrier jet behind a cold front associated with the poleward portion of a split upper level trough. Initially, a high-pressure system moves poleward of a north-south mountain range. Once it sloshes over poleward and eastward of the range, the flow around the high banks up against the mountains, forming a barrier jet which funnels cool air down a stretch of land east of the mountains. The higher the mountain chain, the deeper the cold air mass becomes lodged to its east, and the greater impediment it is within the flow pattern and the more resistant it becomes to intrusions of milder air.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Precipitation types</span>

In meteorology, the different types of precipitation often include the character, formation, or phase of the precipitation which is falling to ground level. There are three distinct ways that precipitation can occur. Convective precipitation is generally more intense, and of shorter duration, than stratiform precipitation. Orographic precipitation occurs when moist air is forced upwards over rising terrain and condenses on the slope, such as a mountain.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Classifications of snow</span> Methods for describing snowfall events and the resulting snow crystals

Classifications of snow describe and categorize the attributes of snow-generating weather events, including the individual crystals both in the air and on the ground, and the deposited snow pack as it changes over time. Snow can be classified by describing the weather event that is producing it, the shape of its ice crystals or flakes, how it collects on the ground, and thereafter how it changes form and composition. Depending on the status of the snow in the air or on the ground, a different classification applies.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">December 1969 nor'easter</span> Strong winter storm that affected the northeastern US

The December 1969 nor'easter was a strong winter storm that mainly affected the Northeastern United States and southern Quebec between December 25 and December 28, 1969. The multi-faceted storm system included a tornado outbreak, record snow accumulations, a damaging ice storm, and flooding rains.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">2013–14 North American winter</span>

The 2013–14 North American winter was one of the most significant for the United States, due in part to the breakdown of the polar vortex in November 2013, which allowed very cold air to travel down into the United States, leading to an extended period of very cold temperatures. The pattern continued mostly uninterrupted throughout the winter and numerous significant winter storms affected the Eastern United States, with the most notable one being a powerful winter storm that dumped ice and snow in the Southeast and Northeast in mid-February. Most of the cold weather abated by the end of March, though a few winter storms did affect the western portions of the U.S. towards the end of the winter.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">2014–15 North American winter</span> Winter season in North America

The 2014–15 North American winter was frigid and prolifically wintry, especially across the eastern half of North America in the months of January–March. The season began early, with many places in North America experiencing their first wintry weather during mid-November. A period of below-average temperatures affected much of the contiguous United States, and several records were broken. An early trace of snowfall was recorded in Arkansas. There were greater accumulations of snow across parts of Oklahoma as well. A quasi-permanent phenomenon referred to as the polar vortex may have been partly responsible for the cold weather. Temperatures in much of the United States dropped 15 to 35 °F below average by November 19 following a southward "dip" of the polar vortex into the eastern two-thirds of the country. The effects of this dip were widespread, bringing about temperatures as low as 28 °F (−2 °C) in Pensacola, Florida. Following a significant snowstorm there, Buffalo, New York received several feet of snow from November 17–21. In addition, significant winter weather occurred throughout the season, including a major blizzard that struck the Northeast at the end of January, another blizzard that affected much of the northern half of the country days later in early February, and several significant snow events paired with very frigid temperatures for much of February.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Glossary of meteorology</span> List of definitions of terms and concepts commonly used in meteorology

This glossary of meteorology is a list of terms and concepts relevant to meteorology and atmospheric science, their sub-disciplines, and related fields.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Shower (precipitation)</span> Sudden and brief rain or snowfall

A shower is a mode of precipitation characterized by an abrupt start and end and by rapid variations in intensity. Often strong and short-lived, it comes from convective clouds, like cumulus congestus. A shower will produce rain if the temperature is above the freezing point in the cloud, or snow / ice pellets / snow pellets / hail if the temperature is below it at some point. In a meteorological observation, such as the METAR, they are noted SH giving respectively SHRA, SHSN, SHPL, SHGS and SHGR.

References

  1. "Rain and snow mixed - AMS Glossary". Glossary.ametsoc.org. 2012-01-26. Retrieved 2019-06-13.
  2. "SLEET | meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary". Dictionary.cambridge.org. Retrieved 2019-06-13.
  3. "Glossary - NOAA's National Weather Service". W1.weather.gov. 2009-06-25. Retrieved 2019-06-13.
  4. "Weather Preparedness". Cornell University. Retrieved 2022-04-14.
  5. Crh.noaa.gov
  6. "wintry mix - Definition of wintry mix in English by Lexico Dictionaries". Lexico Dictionaries - English. Archived from the original on August 15, 2019.