Monday December 23, 2013 | 06:42 AM
Posted by David Epstein

 I know schools are off today so traffic won't be as bad today as a typical Monday.  However, there's still a freezing rain advisory  for Portland and an ice storm warning over the capitol district.    

In addition to the freezing rain, there is a lot of fog out there as well and this can hamper travel further.

When we experience freezing rain, it's because the air above the ground is warm and the snow in the clouds has melted on the way down.  What then happens is the water hits the surface where temperatures are below freezing and turns into ice or what meteorologists call "glaze".

The icing situation this morning isn't major in Portland, but it doesn't take much to cause problems. We haven't seen a large volume of water overnight so the ice isn't very thick on objects.  The greatest ice accretion continues to be in the foothills and up through the Augusta/Waterville areas.

Power continues to come back online this morning with under 500 homes in the dark.  There could be additional power outages today as we do get more freezing rain.

By the time we get to the evening commute temperatures will be warm enough so there won't be any ice forming.  However, the rain could still slow down the ride this evening especially around malls and shopping areas which will have heavier than normal Monday traffic.

Dry weather returns for much of the week with cold temperatures especially Christmas Day.  Highs Tuesday will reach the 20s, but stay in the teens for Christmas.  On Thursday, there is chance for a few snow showers as temperatures become slightly milder in the upper 20s to near freezing.

The reason for today's precipitation is a combination of a frontal system and a low pressure area moving through.  The front is the same one which dropped temperatures over 30 degrees in some places since yesterday.  That dividing line between spring warmth and winter cold will basically fade away as a small storm moves up long the coast this afternoon and evening.  Once these systems exit the area a return to sunshine and dry conditions will follow.

The country is going to be fortunate this holiday with no big storms anywhere.  The map below shows a forecast for around 7PM EST on Christmas Eve.  Notice how tranquil things are for a change.

I'll be updating the forecast on Twitter @growingwisdom throughout the week. Please follow me there.

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About the Author

David Epstein has been a meteorologist for more than 25 years. He spent 16 years in Boston and currently freelances at WGME13 in Portland.

In 2006, David founded GrowingWisdom.com, a business producing educational and marketing videos for the green industry. He currently is a professor at Framingham State College, teaches Jan Plan at Colby College and owns Bloomscapes Inc., a landscape design business.

David authored "Gardens Of New England" and his work has been published in Grolier's Science Annual for 10 years. He lives in South Natick, Mass., and has a summer home in Harpswell.

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