Austin snow not a possibility for now

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A blanket of sleet may be the only ice Austinites will see fall from the sky this season. Many experts are expecting conditions to warm up this afternoon and remain for the rest of the week.

Representatives from the National Weather Service said Sunday’s sleet around the city was not a surprise, but did not increase the city’s chances of experiencing snow. NWS spokesman Patrick McDonald said apart from the light rain this morning, temperatures for the rest of the week are expected to be in the 60s and 70s and Austin will probably have to wait until next winter for snow.

McDonald said the temperatures will probably not result in any closure to local businesses or schools. He said Sunday’s conditions of cold air, rain and sleet will have to continue today for schools or businesses to consider closing their doors.
“It’s been a lot warmer this year than last year,” McDonald said. “Last year we had cooler air drafting down from the Arctic. This year, people all over the U.S. are complaining about the lack of snow.”

McDonald said there is no explicit reason for the lack of snow and it is just the way the weather pattern has shifted. He said Europe and Asia have seen a lot of snow this season.

Troy Kimmel, geography lecturer and KEYE weather forecaster, said Sunday had the right conditions for snow because the air in the atmosphere was at a subfreezing level, but the ground was too warm to keep the precipitation frozen. Kimmel said although there was a lot of sleet many people reported snow at places like Camp Mabry and the Austin-Bergstrom Airport.

Kimmel said these conditions do not usually cause problems, but that people need to watch out for streets being slick or wet.

“Snow is certainly a possibility, but not a possibility right now,” Kimmel said. “Students better be in class today and tomorrow as well. I’m still giving a lecture Tuesday.”

Printed on Monday, February 13, 2012 as: Weekend sleet not likely to continue