Icy Spots on Roads from Minnesota to New York

By Dan DePodwin, Meteorologist
November 30, 2012; 6:43 AM ET
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A zone of freezing drizzle from Minnesota through Michigan to the Hudson Valley will cause slick spots and potentially treacherous travel conditions today into Saturday morning.

While this will not be a powerful storm, the atmosphere is primed for a brief but icy event as we head into the weekend.

Northern Great Lakes Slick Spots Today and Tonight
The slick conditions will start today across the northern Great Lakes. Cities that can see a glaze of ice include Duluth, Minn., Green Bay, Wis., and Traverse City and Saginaw, Mich.

Although a significant ice accretion is not expected, even just a small layer of frozen water can create unsafe traveling conditions. Those traveling interstates 35, 39, 43, 75, 90, 94, and 96 in the northern Great Lakes could experience some icing conditions, although the secondary roads, overpasses and exit ramps are most prone to slick conditions.

Later tonight, the best chance of icing will be across far northern Minnesota, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and far northern lower peninsula.

Icy Spots Expected Tonight in Northeast
The icing threat will expand eastward tonight, creating slippery conditions in northeastern Pennsylvania and southern New York. Areas that can be impacted include the Poconos and Catskills along with Allentown, Pa., and Poughkeepsie and Albany, N.Y.

Commuters in the evening should be good to go, but the roads can turn slick after midnight. In New York, temperatures will remain above freezing, but those in the northern and western suburbs can expect some icing.

Lingering clouds and spotty freezing drizzle will continue early Saturday morning, mainly in the Hudson Valley and into southern New England.

Farther north, some snow can fall from Syracuse to Boston tonight and Saturday. No accumulation is expected.

This is certainly not a widespread, ferocious storm, but sometimes these sneaky icing events can cause major headaches on the roads. Just a brief period of freezing drizzle can cause black ice and lead to accidents.

Just Enough Cold Air
High pressure sliding eastward into New England tonight will pump cold air southward on chilly northeasterly winds. Meanwhile, the increasingly easterly flow will transport some marine air inland, moistening the atmosphere. Combine that with a disturbance in the upper atmosphere, and you have a recipe for freezing drizzle.

Despite the subfreezing air at the surface, temperatures will be warmer aloft and therefore preclude much in the way of snow.

Looking ahead, all layers of the atmosphere will warm later in the weekend as the mild air from the Plains heads eastward. Thermometers will top out in the 50s and 60s by Monday and Tuesday before a quick cooldown Wednesday and Thursday.

Thumbnail image tweeted by @metroradiouk.

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