All Weather News

Coldest Air In 4 Years To Spark Band Of Heavy Snow And Ice

5 Dec 2013, 12:47 pm

Thursday December 5th, 2013

* Leading edge of bitter air sparks band of heavy snow and ice from northern Texas and Oklahoma into Arkansas and Middle Mississippi Valley and Ohio Valley over the next 36 hour. Very significant snow is expected from southern Illinois and southern Indiana into northern Kentucky and much of Ohio.

* Ice Storm Warnings posted from near Oklahoma City to Little Rock and Memphis for .25″+ amounts of glaze ice tonight into Friday.

*High Risk of Power Outages

* Enhanced risk of frostbite north central USA as wind chill values dip to -30F by Saturday morning.

Current Warnings. NOAA has issued Ice Storm Warnings from southeastern Oklahoma into much of central Arkansas and western Tennessee, for the potential of as much as 1/2″ of glaze ice. A band of heavy snow will set up just north/west of the ice band, impacting Oklahoma City, Hot Springs, Evansville, Louisville and Cincinnati. Wind Chill Advisories may have to be upgraded to warnings as the combination of bitter cold and strong winds create wind chill factors as cold as -25 to -40 from Fargo into the Twin Cities; a wind chill dipping to -15F in Chicago by Saturday.  For the latest watches and warnings click here.

84 Hour Snowfall Prediction. A storm spinning up along the leading edge of arctic air creates a swath of snow and ice from northern Texas and Oklahoma into the Ohio Valley through Saturday – a couple inches of slushy snow may extend into Washington D.C. and Baltimore by Sunday, where most of the precipitation will fall as a cold rain.

Selected City Amounts. The extent and intensity of the bitter cold is impressive: 3″ snows predicted for Sacramento, California (which seems high to me, but not out of the question). Models print out close to 10″ snow from Louisville to Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio – even if these amounts are slightly inflated this is still going to be a plowable/crippling snowfall event for much of the Ohio Valley Friday into Saturday.

Ice Potential Next 24 Hours. The red-shaded area shows the greatest potential for glaze ice (freezing rain) into Friday morning, from near Wichita Falls and the suburbs of Dallas to Little Rock, Hot Springs, Memphis, Cairo and Evansville.


Potentially Paralyzing Ice. The forecast from early Friday into early Saturday shows the greatest risk of ice from east of Little Rock to Memphis and western Kentucky. This storm will probably impact the grid, with a heavy enough accumulation of glaze ice to bring down power lines. I expect numerous power outages from Oklahoma and Arkansas into the Ohio Valley within 24-48 hours.

Icy Trouble Zone. Here is another computer model summarizing the ice potential. Dallas may avoid the worst of the icing, but Hot Spring, Fayetteville and Little Rock, Arkansas, as well as Memphis, Cairo, Illinois and Evansville/Bowling Green, Kentucky may see serious icing capable of disrupting early weekend travel plans and the power grid.Summary: We’re still on track for a very significant period of heavy snow and ice, impacting the Southern Plains, Middle Mississippi Valley and Ohio Valley over the next 48 hours. This still will impact travel by land and air, with a high probability of power disruptions in some communities due to a heavy accumulation of glaze ice. Accumulating snow may extend into New England over the weekend, with a few slushy inches from D.C. to Philadelphia by Sunday, but confidence levels for East Coast accumulation is still quite low – we need to see more data. Meanwhile the coldest air in at least 4 years will create potentially dangerous wind chills and an enhanced frostbite risk from the Upper Midwest into the Great Lakes.Paul Douglas/Senior Meteorologist- Alerts Broadcaster

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