A significant winter storm will impact areas from the Southern Plains, the Mid-Mississippi River Valley into the Ohio Valley starting Thursday Night and into the weekend.
Weather Set Up
A low pressure system and stationary front draped across the southern US will become a focus for a developing winter storm Thursday Night and into the weekend.
The energy with this storm will be driven by an upper level system that will dig out into the California Baja on Friday. This will tap not only moisture in the Gulf of Mexico but Pacific moisture as well. The storm will be slow moving and will impact the Southern Plains to the Ohio Valley through the weekend.
The main concern with this storm is the potential for widespread freezing rain that could lead to significant ice accumulations. The potential for ice begins late Thursday Night and into Friday from the Texas Panhandle into Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and even Michigan. The graphic below outlines the potential of seeing 0.25 inches or more of freezing rain by 6 pm CT on Friday. The areas in the aqua show at least a 70% chance of seeing 0.25 inches of ice.
For Friday Night and into Saturday a large part of the country will be impacted by freezing rain. The threat of freezing rain extends from eastern New Mexico and Colorado through the Plains, Ohio River Valley and even into the Mid Atlantic. The graphic below shows the potential of seeing at least 0.01 inches of freezing rain.
The greatest risk for 0.25 inches and more of freezing rain extends from Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle, as shown in the orange regions in the graphic below.
Unfortunately the freezing rain will continue through the remainder of the weekend and we could see widespread areas of 0.5 inches of ice with isolated amounts of at least an inch. These types of ice totals will have serious implications to travel, the power grids, trees, and etc.
Given the highly complex environment of a freezing rain scenario, we are still narrowing down the regions that will see mainly freezing rain vs. areas that will mix with sleet and snow for Sunday and beyond. In addition, on the southern edge of the freezing rain line, we expect locations will transition to rain as warm air moves up from the south.
Currently parts of Missouri, Kansas, Central and Western Oklahoma as well as possibly into the Texas Panhandle could see significant ice. Again this is dynamic and developing weather situation; so expect modifications as we get closer to the weekend.
We will also see an area of snow with this system. For Thursday morning through Saturday, the snow will mainly be in the higher terrain in the Southwest and Southern Rockies and into the Colorado Plains. The snow potential increases for Sunday and into Monday as an area of blue (which is a 50% and higher confidence) is present in Kansas and Colorado.
What you can do to Prepare
Even though this article was prepared by the North Carolina Depart of Agriculture, the suggestions are still relevant of 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)
- 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/electric fences – add an extra level of fence as snow drifting can allow for livestock to easily walk over a hot wire.
- Monitor livestock for respiratory problems – gusty winds can increase the amount of snow/water that livestock can inhale. Water in the lungs can lead to serious health problems.
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, then you should 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 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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