The predicted snowy morning is well underway with snow covered roads and hazardous travel. The heaviest accumulation of snow will be through the early afternoon. I do expect the snow to mix with sleet from about Portland and points south, especially along the coast. This will keep totals down a bit, but it’s still a moderate storm and gets the season started with a bit of a bang.

maine snow

You can follow my updates here and on Twitter @growingwisdom during the storm.

Travel is going to be difficult today, but since this event was well predicted the crews are out and main roads will mainly be wet late this afternoon and continue to improve overnight. There isn’t a blast of arctic air coming behind the storm and some melting will occur, especially on New Year’s Eve.

When Will It Be Over?
The bulk of the snow will have fallen by 1 p.m with some light accumulation after that. If you see it change to sleet you can assume the snow will no longer accumulate, but you’ll have to remove the heavier ice pellets when you clean up the car and the driveway.

The map below shows what things should look like around 4 p.m. Notice the mixture of sleet (purple) along the coast.

maine 4pm

Sleet counts As Snow
As a point of note, when the accumulations of this storm are given after it ends, sleet will be included in the snowfall measurements. The greatest amount of sleet will occur over York County. Already some sleet pellets have been mixing in this morning. Sleet is three to four times as dense as snow. This means that to get an inch of sleet you need a lot of water and it will be very heavy to move.

If you are headed into southern New England, the weather is also somewhat tricky, but it’s been mainly a sleet and freezing rain situation there.

The reason for the sleet over southern areas, is the air at higher levels is above freezing. As the snow falls from the clouds it falls into this warm layer and melts. Once snow melts to rain it can never change to snow again, but it can refreeze into a ball of ice –  sleet – or hit the ground and then freeze – freezing rain.

sleet or freezing rain

The weather is still cloudy Wednesday with seasonably chilly air and highs near 40 degrees. A bit of rain overnight Wednesday will yield a milder and partly sunny day on Thursday. New Year’s Eve is pleasant with temperatures falling through the 30s along with light winds. It will be a great evening to say goodbye to 2015 and usher in 2016.

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