Slippery commute possible Monday afternoon and evening

BY John Cifelli, Meteorologist |

Our brutal stretch of winter weather is all but behind us, with just one more night of very cold temperatures on tap for overnight Sunday. Lows Sunday night won’t be able to hold a candle to Saturday’s subzero readings. Overnight lows last night were a couple degrees below zero nearly statewide. Tonight will be cold but bearable, in the teens generally. The core of this polar air mass is slipping off the coast, and the return flow behind it will be from the southwest. This will allow temperatures to moderate tomorrow, especially aloft above the surface.

A couple areas of weak low pressure will bring a little of notable weather tomorrow. The first is traversing southern Canada, moving west to east well north of the United States/Candada border. The other is slipping along a similar easterly path, 1,500 miles south through the Gulf states. Combined, they’re spreading warmer, moist air through the Ohio Valley and into the mid-Atlantic. Neither are particularly potent, but mid-level warm air advection can cause light precipitation, which is what looks to be on tap for tomorrow afternoon.

We will wake to mostly clear skies and one more chilly morning on Monday. As the day progresses, clouds will thicken, and eventually a little light precipitation will spread west to east across the state, generally from 2 to 6 p.m. If it were guaranteed to be snow, it might not be worth writing about. If enough of the column of air aloft is above freezing however, then precipitation will be in the form of rain. With surfaces well below freezing, any liquid that falls will freeze. It doesn’t take much freezing rain to be a serious problem. Although only a tenth of an inch of liquid equivalent is expected tomorrow late afternoon, if it’s freezing rain, it could make travel a problem. Snow is most likely what falls north of Route 78 and into New York City, with equal chances snow or freezing rain elsewhere. If we’re lucky, the dry air mass that has been in place since the blizzard on Thursday will erode the little amount of winter precipitation expected to fall.

Tuesday and Wednesday look lovely, with temperatures near 40 and plenty of sunshine.