Monday, January 26, 2009

Ice Storm to Cause Damage and Cut Power

Ice Storm to Cause Hazardous Travel and Cut Power
A wintry mix will develop today and cause problems over parts of the southern Plains before significant icing occurs from northeastern Oklahoma to Kentucky tonight into Tuesday.

A southerly flow from the Gulf of Mexico will continue to draw warm, moist air northward over the southern Plains and Lower Midwest through the beginning of the week. As this happens, the warm, moist air will lift over freezing cold air at the surface across these regions, allowing freezing rain and sleet to develop.

The first areas expected to be impacted by icing are parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas. Freezing drizzle, light freezing rain and sleet will develop across these states by this afternoon, impacting locations like Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Okla., and Springfield, Mo.

A light coating of ice may develop quickly and cause sidewalks and roadways to become slippery by the late afternoon and evening in these areas.

The most severe icing will develop and also shift eastward tonight, impacting northeastern Oklahoma, northern Arkansas, southern Missouri, southern Illinois, Kentucky and parts of Tennessee. These same areas will have heavy freezing rain into Tuesday.

The potential exists for 0.25 to 0.75 of an inch of ice to accumulate in the aforementioned corridor late tonight through Tuesday. Some areas could even have more than an inch of ice.

Not only will travel become extremely dangerous, but the weight of ice will down power lines and cause power outages. Some tree limbs may also be downed with the weight of the ice, adding to the treacherous conditions

Some cities at risk for significant icing include Cape Girardeau, Mo., Paducah and Lexington, Ky. The heaviest icing is expected to be in Kentucky, which will begin late tonight.

Some residents of the mid-Atlantic will also need to be prepared for ice. Freezing rain and sleet is anticipated to expand farther east through the Virginias and possibly into parts of Maryland and Delaware on Tuesday and Tuesday night.