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Winter Weather Update Issued Friday at 8:45 pm

You all be safe on these roads tonight and in the morning. This dense fog and temps in the upper 20s is concerning, especially for bridges and overpasses. Don’t get surprised by black ice. My “impacts graph” remains unchanged.

This update pertains more to the Sunday night and Monday threat. That threat continues to look significant. It may end up being in two separate rounds. The first may come Sunday night in the form of light freezing rain and sleet. That could let up during the morning hours, followed by heavy freezing rain and sleet in the afternoon and early evening. The only thing that may help us out there is that it would come in the warmest part of the day (the afternoon). Still, temps would be sub-freezing but it may not be as bad as if the freezing rain came early in the morning. This isn’t a guaranteed scenario but it’s nice to see a little bit of potential good news. The amount of ice we get will be heavily dependent on surface temps. A degree or two difference makes a BIG difference.

This heavy round of precip could be followed by heavy snow during the night. Right now, that changeover looks to possibly occur around sunset and taper off around midnight. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised to see us get 3-5 inches of snow, after getting around a quarter to half an inch of ice. This could change, of course, but this gives you an idea of my concern.

I said something this morning in the blog about how I’ve seen winter storms like this hit us with freezing rain and snow before, with there being just enough ice to not be total disaster, followed by just enough snow to not be a total disaster. In other words, we don’t get slammed with all ice, which would be awful, and we don’t get slammed with all snow, which would be very deep. Let’s hope for this half and half scenario, since it’s all but guaranteed that we’ll see ice for the start of it.

Incidentally, this half and half scenario also makes the most beautiful winter storms. The trees look like crystal, with snow on top.

I also want to note some very good news. At this time, I do not foresee strong winds. Remember, in 2015 that ice would have been MUCH more manageable had it not been for the wind gusts to 40-50 mph. The wind made that ice storm magnitudes worse than it would have otherwise been. I currently see no sign of strong winds in this forecast. This is, in my opinion, the best news of all.

We always have to consider another possible good scenario. Keep in mind that ice forms because there’s warm air aloft. Well, the plateau is at a higher elevation and that puts us closer to that warmer air. Sometimes that really helps us out and gives us a warmer rain. Just something to consider.

There are still uncertainties with this winter storm but confidence is increasing that we’ll be significantly impacted by this winter weather event Sunday night and Monday. Effects will likely linger into Tuesday and Wednesday, especially since we won’t be warming up much at all.

I’ve had several folks ask if this will be as bad as 2015. My short answer is “no”. Again, I don’t foresee strong winds with this storm and that will make a HUGE difference in impacts.

Another system arrives Thursday but that’s too far off to be certain of anything. Just know that we may get hit with another round of wintry precip.

My thoughts on impacts remain the same as this morning.

My confidence in accumulating ice has increased.

And I’m now introducing a snow scale for Monday night. This is the highest amount I’ve ever started with on the snow scale.

I’ll keep watching everything very closely for you all. You may have seen in the news where folks as far south as Houston may see ice and snow from this storm. That is unbelievable. Interestingly, the worst winter storm in Houston’s history happened on Valentine’s Day of 1895, when nearly two feet of snow fell! The next worst was February 12, 1960, when 4.5 inches of snow fell. Interesting, to say the least. This time around they’re expecting around a quarter inch of ice, followed by three inches of snow. That will be absolutely crippling for them.

Let’s hope we can get in on that half-n-half scenario too! That sure would be better than all ice!

You all take care. I’ll be here tracking it all!

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