Ice becomes primary concern as snow transitions to sleet, rain

Snow accumulation has ended across the region, but sleet and freezing rain are taking over and causing different concerns for Massachusetts.

Before dawn, warmer air began to change the snow to rain across much of the South Coast, Cape Cod and up to Boston. Snow continued to fall across interior and northern Massachusetts for a few hours, but those regions will have now also switched to an icy rain.

“It’s the storm itself that’s dragging the warmer air in, and it’s coming in above, so those snowflakes are melting on the way down. That’s why we’re seeing the sleet and rain,” said StormTeam 5 meteorologist Cindy Fitzgibbon.

Meteorologists are particularly concerned that warmer temperatures aloft could cause rain to fall over parts of northern and central Massachusetts, where temperatures near the ground are in the teens. This could cause ice to accumulate quickly.

Ice accretion, combined with the freezing of the wet mess already on the ground, is going to be a problem Sunday night and early Monday morning. Up to one-half inch of ice could accumulate.

“We are very concerned with the potential for icing today,” Fitzgibbon said.

StormTeam 5 projects that one-quarter to one-half inch of ice could form in an area stretching from Connecticut to the north shore. That could cling to roads, making travel treacherous, and may also accumulate on trees or power lines, creating a risk for outages.

A winter storm warning was in effect for areas north and west of Boston and a winter weather advisory for areas mainly south of Boston.

A coastal flood advisory was posted for Cape Cod over concern around Sunday morning’s high tide.

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