Widespread fog, freezing drizzle and snow combined for an icy start Wednesday, as expected. Driveways, parking lots, sidewalks, and roads sport a thin film of glaze ice. Roads are slick across the region.
7:45 AM: Update from MNDOT on road conditions. Much of east central and south central Minnesota reporting at least partially ice covered roads due to freezing drizzle. Slow down and leave extra time to reach your destination this morning. https://t.co/aHQ4hNPqVT #mnwx @MnDOTnews pic.twitter.com/G1V8ZdxSvm
— NWS Twin Cities (@NWSTwinCities) December 12, 2018
The Minnesota Department of Transportation reports several spin-outs on the glaze-covered roadways.
We have freezing drizzle, icy roads and several spin outs through most of Wright County. I-94 Clearwater to St. Michael, Hwy 25 Big Lake to Watertown, Hwy 10 Cokato to Maple Plaine. Time to slow down, drive to conditions.
— MnDOT District 3 (@MnDOTcentral) December 12, 2018
Warm air aloft
So, what’s causing our freezing drizzle? A strong temperature inversion about 5,000 feet up is producing liquid precipitation that’s freezing on contact with the pavement. Even a little glaze ice can ruin your day.
Want warmer weather? All you have to do is drive 1 mile to enjoy temperatures near 50 degrees. Straight up. Temperatures about 5,000 feet above us are in the upper 40s
Milder air getting closer
That Pacific air mass mixes down to ground-level as winds pick up late Thursday into the weekend. That will boost temperatures on the ground where we live.
I still think 40 degrees is a real possibility Friday and Saturday. Milder than average air lingers into next week.
Air quality alert
The inversions and light winds trap pollutants near the ground. Air quality index readings are rising across Minnesota Wednesday.
The air quality alert is in effect until 6 p.m. Thursday.
Breezes blowing in Thursday night will mix in cleaner air and bring milder temperatures.