This morning across the Tennessee Valley we started off our day with temperatures in the 40s, with wind chill values in the low to mid 30s. Although some of us started the day off on the drier side others saw some showers move through in the form of a rain/sleet mix.
Rain showers began to over spread the area from west to east by 6 am. This led to light rain showers in some locations and even a rain/sleet mix for others! This mix is exactly what we saw here in Huntsville around 8:30 am Wednesday. Spotty showers are expected to continue throughout Wednesday, but are likely to be in the form of rain. Temperatures will remain on the cool side for this time of year with highs only expected to near 50 degrees.
How does sleet form?
The above photo shows the different types of precipitation that we could potentially see during the winter. Wednesday morning the Tennessee Valley saw a mix of rain and sleet. Sleet is simply frozen raindrops and occurs when the layer of freezing air along the surface is thicker. As frozen precipitation falls from the cloud to the ground it encounters a warm layer in the atmosphere causing it to melt. The rain droplets would then refreeze before reaching the surface thanks to a layer of cold air.
Sleet and freezing rain could cause icy roads, depending on ground temperatures. Luckily, icy roads were not a concern across the area thanks to the warm ground temperatures.