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First snowfall of season expected to be minor event

First snowfall of season expected to be minor event

Weather watchers and transportation officials don’t anticipate Tuesday morning’s mix of rain and snow to accumulate enough to have much of an impact on motorists’ evening commutes.

But with temperatures to dip below freezing by the early evening, drivers should be aware of the potential for some possibly icy travel conditions.

Gary Lessor, chief meteorologist at Western Connecticut State University’s Weather Center, said rain showers will begin to develop between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m., transitioning to snow between 10 a.m. and noon. That snowfall will taper off in the early afternoon.

“When all is said and done, we’re probably looking at maybe a half an inch of snow on the high side,” Lessor said. He anticipated other areas, including the greater Meriden region, may only see a trace of snow.

“Temperatures are going to be so warm during the day, so it is going to be pretty difficult to get much of snow to stick,” Lessor said.

“The temperature will drop. But we’re not getting that much moisture,” Lessor said. “There’s probably going to be a slower afternoon commute with some slick spots.”

Lessor said there will be a steady wind throughout the day, with speeds between 10 to 15 miles per hour and gusts up to 25 miles per hour. That steady wind should help to dry most roads “relatively quickly,” Lessor said.

State Department of Transportation spokesman Kevin Nursick, in an email, echoed Lessor’s expectations that the season’s first snowfall likely won’t be “a very significant weather event... with only a few inches, or none, possible for accumulation.”

Because the precipiation will start with rain, transportation officials have opted to not pre-treat state roads with salt because the rain will wash it away.

“We will however, deploy trucks and apply material (salt) and plow as necessary to contend with any snow that we may get,” Nursick wrote, adding officials will also be monitoring road conditions as temperatures drop “to deal with any locations that may freeze up.”

“[It’s] [h]ard to say what conditions may be for rush hour tomorrow. It goes without saying that if it is snowing or if there is any residual snow on the roads at that time, that motorists should be aware of potential for slippery conditions, and reduce speeds accordingly,” Nursick wrote.