Friday, January 13, 2017

Severe Ice Storm To Slam Central United States

The University of Vermont green during the epic ice storm of 1998.
There will likely be similar scenes in the central United States
this weekend as a large ice storm is set to develop.
Photo from the Vermont Dept. of Forests, Parks and Recreation
You'll be hearing about this one on the news over the coming few days.

A long lasting, crippling ice storm is about to hit the middle of the nation, and this one has all the potential to be one of the worst on record.

A huge area in the middle of the country is under an ice storm warning. The zone include almost all of Missouri, most of Kansas, part of Illinois, the northwestern half of Oklahoma and part of northern Texas.

This area is expected to be hardest hit, but a huge surrounding area extending all the way into the Ohio Valley and north to South Dakota and the Iowa/Minnesota border are also under the gun for snow, sleet and freezing rain.

The areas expected to be hardest hit including bigger towns like St. Louis, Kansas City (hunker down, brother-in-law Brian!) and Wichita.

This isn't just going to be a day of super icy roads. This will go on for two or three days, and the ice accumulation will be so thick that very many trees and power lines will come down. People are going to be without electricity for days.

For us Vermonters with a fairly long memory, I would compare the upcoming Plains disaster to the epic ice storm in Vermont, New York, Maine and Quebec in January, 1998 that caused massive destruction and killed dozens of people.

I'm not sure the Plains ice storm will be as bad as the 1998 storm in New England and Quebec, but it will be almost as disruptive.

By the way, if you're in Vermont and worried we might get eventually be hit with us, it's not going to be too bad. It looks like the sprawling storm that will cause the severe ice in the Plains will throw a little mixed precipitation our way, but the consequences will be potentially icy roads, and not tree or power line damage here.

Out in the Plains, the ice will slowly move northwestward with time. Areas in the southern fringes of the ice zone, like Oklahoma City and eventually St. Louis and Kansas City, will likely change to plain rain Sunday.

By Sunday, the freezing rain will have spread north, to places like Iowa and Nebraska and maybe South Dakota, so those regions will be in the crosshairs of the ice by late in the weekend.

This ice storm is the same system that dumped a foot of snow on Portland, Oregon, paralyzing that city with the most snow in two decades.

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