Saturday, January 14, 2017

Ice Storm Is Getting Worse In The Middle Of The Country

Branches were already coming down in Carterville, Ill
Friday as an ice storm engulfs much of the middle
of the nation this weekend. 
The worst of the ice storm hasn't even fully engulfed the middle of the nation yet, but what freezing rain has fallen is already causing big problems.

There have been a multitude of car crashes from Kansas to Illinois, including a 20-car pileup in Wichita, Kansas.

(You can see videos at the bottom of this post of icy road problems at the bottom of this post. They're worth the watch for instructions on what not to do on icy roads.)

Unfortunately, there has already been three deaths tied to the storm, one involving a car that slid off a road in Missouri and into some trees.

In a few places, like Carterville, Illinois, the ice has already gotten heavy enough to bring down tree limbs and power lines. This problem will increase dramatically today and tonight as the freezing rain becomes more widespread.

I'm still impressed by how wide an area this storm is covering. Ice storm warnings, freezing rain advisories winter storm watches and winter weather advisories extend from Colorado to Washington DC, and from New Mexico to Minnesota.

As noted yesterday, the worst of the ice will gradually spread north and west, while temperatures will warm by Sunday in the southern and eastern parts of the ice zone, changing the precipitation to plain rain.

But even there, the damage will already have been done with fallen power lines and trees.

In the warm southern reaches of the storm, in central and southern Texas, severe thunderstorms will probably rev up on Sunday, possibly spitting out a tornado or two.

For my Vermont readers, it still looks like this storm won't have a huge impact on us, unless you like winter sports. There might be a little freezing rain and sleet Tuesday night as the storm comes along, and the higher summits might pick up some snow Wednesday.

But for most of us, that Midwest storm, when it gets here, will be mostly rain.

Out west, they're still recovering from this storm and are bracing for more.  The next round of storms will dump rain and snow on the entire western United States, but the heaviest precipitation is forecast for far northern California, Oregon and Washington.

In Oregon where Portland got once of its biggest snowstorms on record, temperatures are forecast to warm up dramatically amid the heavy rains next week. That has prompoted definite fears about flooding in that region due to the rain and melting snow.

These storms don't seem to end, do they?

Snowfall in the western mountains has been impressive, with 79 inches of snow reported at Soda Springs, California in the past week, and 94 inches up in very high elevation Encampment, the Weather Channel reports. 

At Soldier Mountain Ski Area in Idaho, ski lift chairs were dragging through the snow.

Best some eastern skiers would like to see that, no?

Here are some videos of the storm.

First, out west to California. Here's a FedEx truck sliding down an icy mountain highway for more than two minutes. Scary! (Video taken from police dash cam)

Here's some lessons on how not to drive on the ice near St. Louis, Missouri:

And here's a roll-over wreck caught by News9 at an existing accident scene on an Oklahoma highway:

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