Monday, January 16, 2017

Ice Storm Continues To Pummel: Updates And Forecasts

This photo from Basehunters Chasing, via Twitter, shows
extreme ice storm damage to trees in Buffalo, Oklahoma.
Trees and power lines are continuing to crumble in parts of the Plains and Midwest this morning as that slow moving ice storm continues to grind on.

Some cities that were under threat were pretty spared, while others were clobbered.

Meanwhile, in the storm's southern end, a couple of tornadoes, hail as big as baseballs and damaging winds struck parts of Texas.

There were still a couple of tornado warnings up this morning not far from Houston.

The storm causing this mess, which until now has been  moving rather sluggishly, will start to accelerate to the Northeast.

This will cause some bad weather here in Vermont Tuesday into Wednesday, but nothing super destructive. I'll have more details on Green Mountain State effects further down in this post.

So far, the storm in the middle of the country is responsible for at least six deaths. Thousands are without power, and things will continue to be bad in parts of northwest Oklahoma, much of Kansas and Iowa today.

On the bright side, the ice storm proved to be not as bad in some big metro areas as origionally Kansas City was largely spared, and things weren't as serious in Wichita, Kansas as some forecasts imagined.

Still, there were a lot of icy roads and crashes in those two big cities, so it wasn't all roses and wine, that's for sure.

Meanwhile, other towns were clobbered. Woodward, in northwestern Oklahoma, looked like a war zone as many trees in that city collapsed under the weight of the ice, bringing power lines down with them.

Television station KFOR reported some streets were completely blocked by fallen trees.

Today, Iowa, Nebraska, parts of Minnesota and maybe the southeast corner of South Dakota are under the gun for mixed precipitation and icy roads.

Freezing rain and winter weather advisories extend all the way into New England, which brings us to what might happen with this storm here at home.


As always with this type of mixed precipitation storm, forecasting who gets what kind of precipitation where and when gets a little tricky.

Complicating things more is, as this storm system moves into the area Tuesday night, a secondary storm will try to get going along the coast, which raises questions as to how much cold air will get locked in to keep precipitation as snow, sleet or freezing rain, as opposed to just plain rain.

This is subject to change, but the National Weather Service in South Burlington is thinking that perhaps two to five inches of snow and sleet might accumulate by Wednesday morning along and east of the Green Mountains.

The Champlain Valley looks to be in for an inch or so of slop Tuesday night. There may be a little freezing rain thrown in anywhere in the region during the storm, but it's most likely in northern New York.

The freezing rain will certainly not be heavy enough to bring down trees and power lines. It'll just slicken up the roads.

No matter what happens with this storm, it's going to stay unseasonably mild through the upcoming weekend, so much of whatever comes out of the sky later Tuesday into Wednesday will probably melt.

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