A Remote-Sensing View of a Freezing-Rain Storm

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  • 1 Wave Propagation Laboratory, NOAA/ERL, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 2 State University of New York, Brockport, New York
  • | 3 National Weather Service Forecast Office, Buffalo, New York
  • | 4 Atmospheric Environment Service, Downsview, Ontario
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Abstract

A destructive freezing-rain storm on 15 February 1990 was observed intensively with advanced ground-based remote sensors and conventional instruments by the Lake Ontario Winter Storms (LOWS) project in upstate New York. A deep layer of warm, moist, southwesterly flow overran a shallower layer of subfreezing, easterly flow ahead of a surface warm front. Precipitation at the surface changed from snowfall to ice pellets, to freezing rain, and, finally, to ordinary rain as an elevated layer of above-freezing air moved into the region and eventually extended to the ground. Measurements from a scanning Doppler radar, wind profilers, a microwave radiometer, and mobile rawinsondes provided detailed information on the storm's kinematic and thermodynamic structure and evolution, and allowed its basic microphysical structure to be inferred. The remote sensors detected signatures of the melting aloft that may be useful for improving detection and forecasts of freezing-rain hazards.

Abstract

A destructive freezing-rain storm on 15 February 1990 was observed intensively with advanced ground-based remote sensors and conventional instruments by the Lake Ontario Winter Storms (LOWS) project in upstate New York. A deep layer of warm, moist, southwesterly flow overran a shallower layer of subfreezing, easterly flow ahead of a surface warm front. Precipitation at the surface changed from snowfall to ice pellets, to freezing rain, and, finally, to ordinary rain as an elevated layer of above-freezing air moved into the region and eventually extended to the ground. Measurements from a scanning Doppler radar, wind profilers, a microwave radiometer, and mobile rawinsondes provided detailed information on the storm's kinematic and thermodynamic structure and evolution, and allowed its basic microphysical structure to be inferred. The remote sensors detected signatures of the melting aloft that may be useful for improving detection and forecasts of freezing-rain hazards.

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