Potentially Severe Ice Storm to Affect Central U.S.

Updated Ice Storm Warning

People located from the central Great Plains into the Mid-West are preparing for what may be a significant ice storm.

While things have thawed along the Gulf Coast after what was a frigid weekend, a big pool of freezing air from Canada is moving into the central half of the country. The cold air surging in won’t make it to the Gulf Coast because a large area of high pressure will be blocking it. However, this means that the cold and freezing air will be stuck.

Right along the boundary of the warm and cold air, freezing rain is a big concern. The reason is not because there will just be freezing rain, but because potential freezing rain won’t have anywhere to go; which ultimately may lead to high accumulation amounts and sheets of ice.

The area that looks to see the most significant impact from icing will be from just south of Kansas City to just northwest of Springfield, Missouri. It is not out of the realm of possibility to see ice accumulations reach 1 inch. That might not seem like a lot, but that amount of ice accumulation would more than likely be crippling. This means that roads would be frozen over; making travel impossible and treacherous, power lines will be weighed down by ice; meaning significant power outages will be possible and are expected. A half inch of ice can weigh up to an extra 500 pounds on power poles. For context back in 2014 when Mobile had our ice storm we saw .5″ of ice and it shut down the city.

Probability of Ice Accumulation of a tenth of an inch.
Probability of Ice Accumulation of a tenth of an inch or greater.

 

Greater than half an inch of ice accumulation.
Probability of Ice Accumulation of half an inch or greater.

 

Probability of Ice Accumulation of an inch or greater.
Probability of Ice Accumulation of an inch or greater.

Ice Accumulation Breakdown

1/10 inch – Nuisance: ice on elevated surfaces, potential ice on bridges, weak trees fall

¼ inch – Becoming Dangerous: Bridges may have ice, some spots of black ice on roadways. Ice covering most elevated surfaces. Power outages possible.

½ inch – Dangerous: Tree limbs begin to snap. Trees may begin to fall. Power outages likely. Most roadways covered in ice. ***This is the amount of ice we saw along the Gulf Coast 2014 that shut down the city.

½ inch + – Crippling: Roads become impassible. Widespread tree & power line damage. Power outages expected.

Notable cities included that have a 50 percent probability of seeing more than a tenth of an inch of ice are – Oklahoma City, OK, Topeka, KS, Kansas City, MO, Springfield, MO, Saint Louis, MO, Columbia, MO, Indianapolis, IN,

If you plan on travelling to the Mid-West or Great Plains over the next 72 hours, stay up to date with the latest. This ice storm may make travel impossible and no doubt at least will make travel extremely dangerous.

Included in the ice accumulation graphic is Kansas City. Not only is Kansas City a large city, but there is also a playoff football game weekend. Considerations will need to be made and if you plan on going to the game stay up to date with the latest on this winter storm.

Why freezing rain occurs over sleet and snow.
Why freezing rain occurs over sleet and snow.

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