All Weather News

The Ice Storm Cometh

21 Dec 2013, 3:10 pm

Across Oklahoma early today, folks came across sights like this all too common.  Tim Kimball on Facebook shared this image with us where the power lines outside of his home in Norman, had freezing rain fall on them and start to accumulate.  Icicles started to form as those super cooled water droplets froze to every surface they came in contact with, and over time, started to build up.

A large and complex storm system is moving through the country this weekend, and its impacting numerous states, from Texas to Missouri, and up into the Northeast.

This storm will bring a wide variety of weather, from severe storms to heavy rains, snow and a wintry mix.  It is within a band, that stretches from northern Texas to Michigan, that we could see some large ice totals come around when all is said and done.

Ice and freezing totals across the Midwest and Central Plains have ranged from a minor coating in Kankakee, IL to nearly an inch in Anadarko, OK.

And more is on the way through the day today.  The IceCast above shows the potential for nearly an additional third of an inch of ice to accumulate across portions of northern OK, southeastern KS and near the MO border.

The ice storm warning over Oklahoma is going to expire early on Sunday morning but the problems, as a result of the ice, will last for days.  Power outages across Oklahoma, as of early this afternoon, were over 17,000, with most of the outages in Oklahoma City and Tulsa.

A minor coating of ice on trees and power lines isn’t much of a concern.  But when it adds up to nearly half of an inch, it can add up to nearly 500 lbs of weight on the power lines, causing them to snap and break.  Even less ice can be needed to cause tree limbs to break, which can also fall on power lines, as well as on vehicles, homes, and block roads.

Check out this image from Moore, OK from Dawn Menter on Facebook.  The trees outside of her home look as if they are made of glass, with that thick coating of ice on them.  The branches of the limbs start to bend and bow down to the ground, until the stress of the weight of the ice is too much to bare and the limbs snap, sending ice and wood chunks everywhere.

As this system moves towards the East Coast, the potential for ice to come around will be in the upper portions of the Northeast, in a band that will stretch from western New York to eastern Maine.

These ice totals in the IceCast were rather startling to see!  While the Buffalo area in New York may see a minor coating, other towns could pick up well over an inch of ice.  Massena, NY, Millinocket, ME and Burlington, VT look to top anywhere between one to one and half inches of ice.

In addition to power outages and down trees being an issue, there will be a problem with the roads and this icy mixture of freezing rain and sleet.  Remember to take your time out on the roads and give yourself plenty of breaking distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you.

Speaking of hazardous conditions on the roads in an ice storm, Jeff Piotrowski was driving in northern Oklahoma and his truck was encased in a thick coating of ice.  He had to hammer away the ice with a snow brush, and then use a local car wash to clear the left over ice, before he could continue on his way.

Be safe while out and about today and throughout the upcoming holidays!  Take it easy and enjoy the rest of your weekend.

~Meteorologist Addison Green (twitter: @agreenWNTV)


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