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Dense fog makes travel tough, cold front approaches later today

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A stationary boundary was draped across the Capital Region this morning. This boundary was acting to keep the region in a relatively 'stable' airmass, featuring very warm air just above the surface (about 1,500 feet above ground level), while the surface temperatures held around freezing. This positive change in temperature with height is known in the world of weather as a temperature inversion (normally the temperature decreases with height, hence warming temperatures signify an ‘inversion’ in the normal temperature structure of the atmosphere). Such temperature inversions in the winter months leave a stable layer of cooler air at the surface. When that stable cooler layer is overriden by a warmer airmass, fog is the result.

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Drastically reduced visibilities were noted this morning in dense fog around the Capital Region. This fog will eventually lift as the stationary boundary lifts northward, acting as a warm front, prior to the passage of a strong cold front through the area later this afternoon and early this evening.

Temperatures will likely spike, along with an increasing breeze, by mid to late afternoon as the frontal zone lifts north of the region, allowing the winds to mix the air in the lower levels of the atmosphere, scouring out the dense fog. The record high for Albany, NY on this date is 60 degrees, set back in 1990. Depending on how much of the warmer air translates to the surface prior to the cold front reaching the area, the record may be in jeopardy of being tied or broken.

The cold front will work through the region tonight, with a secondary frontal system crossing the region during the day tomorrow. Thus, rain showers with embedded heavier rains, are possible with both frontal passages.

The lead up to the Christmas holiday looks to turn decidedly colder, with a brisk northwesterly breeze picking up during the day on Christmas Eve, adding some chill to air, which will remain locked into the region through Christmas Day. Despite the cold weather, conditions look to remain precipitation free for the holiday period, with snow showers, the result of lake effect contributions, remaining well north and west of the area.

The later part of the shortened work week looks to see a weak clipper system passing through the region on Thursday, bringing the chance for some light snow, followed by drier and colder weather to close out the week.

...Below is the official forecast for the Capital Region and vicinity...

Today: Areas of dense fog through mid afternoon. Becoming breezy with periods of rain and showers developing. High in the mid to upper 50’s. Light and variable winds, becoming southerly and increasing to 10-20 MPH during the afternoon. Chance of rain is 80 percent.

Tonight: Periods of rain during the evening with showers possible after midnight. Low near 45. South winds 5-10 MPH early, shifting west and increasing to 5-15 MPH. Chance of rain is 50 percent.

Monday: Intervals of clouds and sunshine and breezy with scattered rain showers during the morning, and a chance of snow showers during the afternoon. Early highs in the upper 40’s, falling into the 30’s during the afternoon. West to northwest winds 10-20 MPH. Chance of precipitation is 60 percent. Little if any snow accumulation is expected.

Monday Night: Decreasing clouds, breezy during the evening. Much colder. Lows 20-25. Northwest winds 10-20 MPH with some higher gusts possible during the evening, diminishing to 5-15 MPH after midnight.

Christmas Eve: Mostly sunny, breezy, and colder. High in the upper 20’s. Northwest winds 10-20 MPH.

Christmas Day: Mostly sunny and cold. High near 25 and low near 15.

Thursday: Partly sunny with a 30 percent chance of light snow showers during the afternoon. High near 30 and low near 15.

Friday: Mostly sunny. High near 30 and low near 20.

Saturday: Mostly sunny. High near 30 and low near 15.

Useful links...

Capital Region Weather Examiner Home Page
Capital Region Weather Examiner Facebook page
Current Surface Weather Map
Weather Prediction Center (WPC) Surface Weather Map 48 hour loop forecast

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