As you requested, we have investigated the weather conditions in the vicinity of Hidden Lake Drive, near Hidden Lake, Smithfield Township, Monroe County, Pennsylvania on and prior to January 28, 2000, with particular attention to the existing conditions at approximately 6:00 PM on the 28th. The results of our investigation are presented in the following paragraphs.
Our research shows that an average of 1/2 to 2 inches of snow covered untreated and undisturbed surfaces in Smithfield Township at the start of January 26, 2012. On the 26th, there were a few snow flurries but there was no measurable precipitation. The early morning low temperature was close to 24 degrees. During the daylight hours of the 26th, the temperature stayed in the 20's. The sky was mainly cloudy during the morning and partly sunny during the afternoon. During the evening, the sky was mostly clear to partly cloudy and the temperature fell into the teens. There was very little or no natural melting of the snow on the ground on the 26th.
During the pre-sunrise hours of January 27, 2012, the sky above Smithfield Township became cloudy. The early morning low temperature was very close to the 15-degree mark. Throughout the daylight hours of the 27th, the sky was overcast. The late afternoon high temperature was at or just shy of the 30-degree mark. Very late in the afternoon or early in the evening, snow began falling. Throughout the remainder of the 27th, snow fell and the temperature was between 26 and 30 degrees. Between 2 and 3 inches of snow fell at the site in question on January 27, 2012.
During the first two hours of January 28, 2012, the snow changed to rain. For several hours until the temperature rose above the melting point (32 degrees Fahrenheit) the rain froze on contact with exposed surfaces. Prior to sunrise, the temperature rose above the 32-degree mark. The rain continued until between 9:00 and 10:00 AM. When the rain ended, the temperature was between 36 and 38 degrees. During the next two hours, the sky was mainly cloudy and the temperature held nearly steady. During the first part of the afternoon, the sky became mostly sunny and it remained that way through the end of the afternoon. Despite the sunshine, the temperature slowly fell. At 5:00 PM, the temperature was very close to the freezing point. During the evening, the sky was mostly clear and the temperature fell well down into the 20's. On January 28, 2012, only 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch of snow fell before the changeover to rain. The total rainfall on the 28th was at least 0.40 to 0.60 of an inch. With the temperature above the 32-degree mark from prior to sunrise into the late afternoon, there was natural melting of the snow on the ground. When the temperature dropped to the freezing point between 4:00 and 5:00 PM, areas made wet by rain and melted snow became icy. Later in the evening as the temperature continued to fall, puddles froze solid and slushy snow solidified.
Specifically, in the vicinity of Hidden Lake Drive near Hidden Lake, Smithfield Township, Monroe County, Pennsylvania on January 28, 2012, at approximately 6:00 PM, the sky was clear, the temperature was 30 or 31 degrees, and the wind was blowing from the west and northwest at an average speed of 6 to 12 MPH. No precipitation was falling at the time in question and no precipitation had fallen at that location during the preceding 8 hours. However, from the last hour of the afternoon of January 27, 2012 through the first hour or two of January 28, 2012, 2 1/4 to 3 1/2 inches of snow fell. The snow was followed by a period of freezing rain until the temperature rose above the 32-degree mark causing the freezing rain to change to plain rain. At least 0.40 and 0.60 of an inch of rain fell before the precipitation ended between 9:00 and 10:00 AM. The temperature stayed above the melting point until late afternoon. During the late afternoon and early evening, as the temperature dropped, surfaces made wet by rain and melted snow became icy. Although a few patches of ice may have formed earlier, most untreated, wet surfaces did not become icy until between 4:00 and 5:30 PM on the 28th.
In summary, weather conditions in Smithfield Township and throughout Monroe County were inclement from the evening of January 27, 2012 into the morning of January 28, 2012. From 10:00 AM through the mid-afternoon on the 28th, there was no precipitation and the temperature was above the melting point. During the morning and into the afternoon, there was natural melting of the recently fallen snow. When the temperature fell to the freezing point between 4:00 and 5:00 PM on the 28th, many roadways were wet from rain earlier in the day and snow melt. Those wet surfaces quickly became icy. Ice formation was widespread. Not only did areas of ice form on Hidden Lake Drive near Hidden Lake, patches of ice also formed on most other similar roadways as well as even more heavily traveled highways. At 6:00 PM on January 28, 2012, it would have been expected that there would be patches of ice on rural roads in the Poconos in Monroe County due to earlier precipitation and natural melting followed by the temperature falling below the freezing point.
The information in this report has been determined from the best sources of weather information available to us at this time and is the result of interpretation by our staff of professional meteorologists and represents our opinions to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty.
Note: All time references in this report are expressed in Eastern Standard Time (EST).
Note: Measurable precipitation is defined as 0.1 of an inch or more for snow and 0.01 of an inch or more for liquid precipitation.
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