Saturday, January 12, 2013

1:20am Weather Update: Updated F-O-M

Data from tonight's computer model runs are in and there is enough new information to make an update to my "Freak-Out-Meter".

We are less than 24-hours from the start of the event and the computer models should be getting a pretty good handle on the system coming together.  The NAM, GFS and European computer models are all pointing to freezing rain and/or sleet for the St. Louis metro area along with parts of southeast Missouri, south/central Illinois and west-central Indiana.

Having said that, I want everyone to keep in mind that this is going to start as rain, heavy at times, Saturday.  There could even be a few strong to severe storms over Arkansas, the Missouri bootheel and Tennessee.  Further north, north of the cold front, cold air at the surface will begin to undercut warm air 1,000 to 2,000 feet above the ground.

Here is the meteogram for freezing rain accumulation (ice) in St. Louis:

Click image to see larger version.
The data in the above image shows the GFS suggesting 0.5" of freezing rain (ice) accumulation for St. Louis.  That could be enough to cause some power issues if ice collects on power lines.  It also isn't out of the question for there to be a dusting to an inch of snow laid down on top of the ice before the moisture finally exits.

Further south, models are suggesting freezing rain accumulations 0.5" to 1" for a few areas of southeast Missouri.  At this time, I think places in the Missouri bootheel and Sikeston/New Madrid will keep the precipitation as a cold rain and not sleet or freezing rain.

As I have said many times before, if the track of the storm shifts even as little as 40 miles north of south, the end product could change.  Some areas of Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky and Indiana will only see rain, others will see a lot of rain with sleet mixed in and some will see freezing rain and/or sleet.

I mentioned timings in my previous post and I think those still hold relatively the same.

FREAK-OUT-METER:
  • St. Louis metro:  5
  • Southeast Missouri:  4 - There will be a wide range of precip type from north to south across southeast Missouri and the Freak-Out-Meter could range from 1 to 4 depending on specific location.
  • Southern Illinois: 3
  • Western Kentucky:  2
  • Central Indiana:  3
Bottom line... I do believe there will be freezing rain in some areas.  This won't be of the severity of the 2009 Ice Storm but this could make things slick in some places.

Should you go out and stock up on weeks of supplies?  No.  Would I go out and get a can of deicer to have on hand?  I would.  Worst case... If this doesn't pan out, you end up with an extra $3 can of deicer you can use at a later time.

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