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Freezing rain, sleet, snow, and ice forecast in south-central states and Ohio River Valley, US, Dec. 5-6

12/5/2013
Expect transport disruptions. Power outages possible.
 
Poor weather conditions are forecast in several south-central states and parts of the Ohio River Valley from Dec. 5 through the evening of Dec. 6. Arctic air moving southward from the Intermountain West will intersect with tropical moisture over Texas and Arkansas late Dec. 5. The combination of cold air and moisture will produce freezing rain, sleet, snow, and ice across a broad area from central Texas to southwestern Ohio. Conditions will likely be worst along a northeast diagonal extending from Dallas to western Kentucky the evening of Dec. 5 through early Dec. 6.

Storm conditions could produce transport and utility disruptions across a wide area of the south-central US and Ohio River Valley. De-icing may be necessary at airports, which could lead to departure delays at Dallas-Fort Worth International (DFW), Dallas Love Field (DAL), Will Rogers World Airport (OKC), and Tulsa International Airport (TUL). Delays for inbound flights are also possible, which could produce broader network disruptions for some carriers, especially American Airlines (AA), American Eagle (MQ), and Southwest (WN). Some airlines could also cancel flights to regional airports where heavy freezing rain occurs. Additionally, ice and snow accumulations could create dangerous road conditions and cause commercial trucking delays and power outages. Significant ground transport and utility disruptions are most likely in the following areas:
  • Northeastern Texas: Ice accumulations over 0.5 inches possible in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Snow and sleet accumulations of up to 5 inches are forecast in Wichita Falls. Expect commercial trucking disruptions on I-20, I-35, and I-44. Scattered power outages are possible.
  • Central and Eastern Oklahoma: Up to 5 inches of snow and sleet is forecast for Comanche, Payne, Oklahoma, and Tulsa counties. Hazardous icing is possible in southeastern Oklahoma in an area bound by I-40 to the north and I-35 to the west; widespread power outages are possible across the region. Expect commercial trucking delays on highways, including stretches of I-35, I-40, and I-44 that pass through Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
  • Arkansas: The NWS has issued winter and ice storm warnings and freezing rain advisories for most of the state, excluding several counties along the Louisiana border, through 1800 CST Dec. 6. Up to 0.75 inches of ice may accumulate in Sebastian County, including Fort Smith, creating the possibility of widespread power outages. The Little Rock area could receive as much as 0.5 inches of ice; scattered utility disruptions are possible. Expect commercial trucking disruptions on the I-30 and I-40 corridors, along with I-540 passing through Bentonville; snowfall and sleet accumulations reaching seven inches might occur in Benton County.
  • Southern Missouri: Snowfall of up to 8 inches and ice accumulations reaching 0.25 inches will likely create trucking delays on I-44 through Springfield and I-55 through Cape Girardeau. Some localized power outages are possible, but widespread service interruptions are unlikely.
  • Western Tennessee: Up to 0.75 inches of ice may accumulate in Shelby and Madison counties. Icing of this magnitude could create substantial power outages in Memphis and Jackson. Slick road surfaces will probably cause transport disruptions on highways in the region, including I-40, I-55, and I-69. Flight delays and cancellations are possible at Memphis International Airport (MEM).
  • Western Kentucky: Ice accumulations of up to 0.5 inches and as much as 6 inches of sleet and snow are possible along the I-24 corridor between Christian and McCracken counties and the I-69 corridor between Fulton and Muhlenberg counties. Difficult to hazardous driving conditions in these areas will probably generate trucking delays; icing could produce scattered power outages.
  • Southern Illinois: Snow and ice could cause transport disruptions along I-64 between Washington and White counties, I-57 between Alexander and Marion counties, and I-24 between Massac and Williamson counties. Scattered power outages are possible along the I-57 corridor south of I-64.
  • Southern Indiana: Commercial trucking delays and scattered power outages are possible in and around Evansville. Transport and utility disruptions are also probable along the following highway corridors: I-69 between Gibson and Greene counties, I-64 between Posey and Floyd counties, I-65 between Clark and Bartholomew counties, and I-74 between Decatur and Dearborn counties.
  • Southwestern Ohio: Up to 7 inches of snow is forecast for a broad area of southwestern Ohio, including Cincinnati, Dayton, and Columbus. Commercial trucking delays are possible along I-70, I-71, and I-75 through the Cincinnati, Dayton, and Columbus areas. Flight delays are possible at Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) and Columbus International Airport (CMH).
Depending on the exact paths of the Arctic air and tropical moisture, areas to the immediate west and east of the aforementioned regions could experience weather-related disruptions. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued winter weather advisories for central and northwestern Texas, western Oklahoma, and parts of northwestern Mississippi. Additionally, winter storm watches are in effect for central and northern Kentucky and west-central Mississippi.

Advice
Postpone unnecessary driving in areas where heavy ice or snow accumulations are forecast. Seek updated information on road conditions, allow considerable extra time to reach destinations, and carry an emergency kit and warm clothes if driving is necessary. Plan accordingly for potential commercial trucking and supply chain disruptions. Confirm flights before checking out of hotels. Consider stock-piling drinking water and non-perishable food in case prolonged power outages occur.