Yesterday, I mentioned that freezing rain is a pretty rare weather phenomenon here in the Truckee Meadows, and to be honest, I’m really not sure why we don’t see it more often. Sitting down here in a basin, cold air pooling itself is relatively common, and it’s not a stretch to think that those same conditions would be present quite often with a warm front. If you look at how that works, a warm airmass is lifted over colder air, which can produce rain at higher elevations, but when it falls into colder air below (assuming the colder air is below freezing) the liquid rain can freeze. Since we form these cold air inversions in the valley a lot, one would think freezing rain would be reasonably common. But in nearly thirty years of forecasting here, I’m not sure I can recall real freezing rain occurring more than maybe once or twice.
Once it was snowing here in the valley, and it started to rain up at Tahoe. I expected it to either turn over to rain here, or figured we had to get freezing rain, but instead it just kept snowing here, which made very little meteorological sense, but did teach me not to over-forecast freezing rain here.