A significant winter storm will impact areas from Alabama and Georgia into the Carolinas and southern Virginia today and into Saturday.
As of Friday (January 6, 2017) Midday, a low pressure system was situated along the Gulf Coast and was pulling moisture into the Southeastern US.
With freezing air already present in Tennessee and northern Alabama, the precipitation is falling as snow. The cold air will continue to dive south and east allowing the precipitation to transition to ice and snow across central Alabama and Georgia today. The transition will occur in the Carolinas tonight. By Saturday Morning, the low will be off the Carolina Coast and pull freezing temperatures nearly to the North Carolina Coast. For Virginia and into the Delmarva Peninsula, the precipitation will be snow. The low will quickly pull off the Atlantic coast by Saturday evening allowing the snow to come to an end in the Mid Atlantic.
Conditions will continue to deteriorate this afternoon in the Southeast US. Large areas of Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather advisories are posted across the Southeast, into the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic States.
For the Northern Half of Alabama and Georgia, the potential of receiving 4 inches of snow and more is generally 40% and less (shown in the areas of yellows and greens). Farther northeast into the Carolinas and Virginia however, we have a higher confidence that 4 inches and more of snow will accumulate by Saturday Night/Sunday Morning (as shown in the brighter blues and orange areas).
For areas from Raleigh, NC to Norfolk Virginia they have a 50% to 60% chance of seeing 8+ inches of snow. So some areas could see some significant snowfall amounts by Saturday Night.
Overall the most confident snowfall totals is a couple inches in the Deep South with heavier amounts into North Carolina and Virginia.
Another factor with this storm is the winds and potential for drifting. While we will not see blizzard wind speed criteria, winds will gust between 20 and 30 mph on Saturday which will lead to drifting snow. This will make snow removal challenging and could have impacts for those outside and for our livestock.
Another component to this storm is the ice potential. While at this time we are not expecting widespread significant ice accumulations, for parts of Mississippi into Southern Alabama and Central Georgia there is the potential of seeing lighter ice accumulations. A second area of ice is in eastern South and North Carolina. The areas in green and blue in the graphic below show a 20% to 40% chance of seeing ~ 0.10 and greater inches of ice.
For farmers and ranchers, the North Carolina Depart of Agriculture has some valuable tips on how to prepare for this storm.
Some of their suggestions for livestock include:
- Provide wind blocks (even temporary wind blocks with hay can be helpful) – the prevailing wind direction for Friday night and into Saturday will be form the north so plan accordingly for wind blocks. The winds will shift to the northwest and west Saturday night and Sunday.
- Checking water sources on a routine basis to ensure they are not frozen.
- Put out extra hay extra hay for food.
- If you use hot wire fences – add an extra level of fence as snow drifting can allow for livestock to easily walk over a hotwire.
- Monitor livestock for respiratory problems – gusty winds can increase the amount of snow that livestock can inhale. Water in the lungs can lead to serious health problems.
- While winds will not reach criteria for blizzard conditions monitor for cattle being buried in snow drifts – just like humans cattle can suffocate in drifts.
For general preparations, stock up on food, water and other supplies as travel will be difficult. If you need to bring in extra workers to help respond during the storm plan for extra food, water and sleeping arrangements for these individuals.
Have alternate sources of heat in case you lose power. Remember never leave propane/kerosene heaters unattended and if you have a generator make do not run it in a closed area such as your house or garage. Make sure the generator has ventilation.
Limit travel as much as possible. If you must travel, double check your car’s winter safety kit and ensure you have a full tank of gas. Also consider adding extra weight to your back tires to improve traction and take a bag of sand or kitty litter in case you need get stuck and need to add something “gritty” to the road.
The team at WxIntegrations will continue to provide relevant information and resources to help you better understand and prepare by incorporating weather impacts into your planning and response.
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