January 29, 2021

New Podcast: The Weekend Weather and the Most Dangerous Weather Phenomenon of the Northwest: Roadway Icing

 My latest podcast is out.   I start with a review of this weekend's weather, with isolated showers on Saturday and more frequent precipitation on Sunday. Perhaps a half-foot of snow in the mountains.

Then I turn to discussing the most dangerous weather feature of the region, the one that kills and injures more frequently than wind, floods, or anything else:  roadway icing.

A foggy situation of great danger!

I tell you what to look for and the foggy conditions that are most threatening.

Here is my podcast:
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  1. Some of the worst road conditions that I ever experienced came about when we had showers of rain/wet snow moving through followed by a brief period of clearing. The clear sky allowed the temperature to fall before the slush and water had a chance to dry up. This cycle repeated several times and the result was a virtual skating rink on the roads, especially at slightly higher elevations. I had a rear wheel drive car then, and it was almost impossible to stay on the road, no matter how slowly you drove.

  2. A light went on about fog and icing. With fog the condensed water droplets have already given up latent heat of condensation, which means somewhat less cooling is needed at the roadway surface to turn it to ice. I think I see the same effect happen with my heat pump. On 32-34F mornings with fog the outside unit can frost up pretty rapidly. But with temps in the upper 20's for example, and dew point down at 15-20F it can run for extended periods without needing a defrost cycle.

  3. Next weekend and beyond sure looks interesting.

  4. Hi Cliff,
    Great podcast this week. I have a question about 'freak' snow events that occur here in the PNW. You said that the possibility of snow past the end of February is pretty much nil. So what meterological events have to occur in order to get snow in June? Here is a news link to one I experienced in 2008. https://www.southwhidbeyrecord.com/news/snow-blankets-south-whidbey/

    1. Just checked...18 April 2008 was indeed a legitimate, documented snowfall...this has to be the one I mentioned in my earlier post...sorry--I should have checked this out on the Internet!

    2. The date was labeled wrong. News Stories have changed their formats to the dumb phone look and have gotten rid of older stories or mislabeled them.etc.

  5. Cliff is basically correct, as to the chances of snow dropping off quickly after the end of Feb...but the key word here is "chances"...I am old, and can definitely remember several snowfalls (mostly rain/snow mix) that happened, well into March...but rarely do those snow events remain on the ground for long...I definitely remember, maybe 20 years ago, snow fell in the 2nd week of April--but it melted off in one day.


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