Friday, January 30, 2009

We Got Lucky

Oklahoma City got some ice and sleet this past week that definitely made the roads bad and caused a lot of closings. However, areas from far eastern Oklahoma through Arkansas and Kentucky got hammered with an epic ice storm. Some areas received 1-2 inches of solid glaze ice, and a total of 1 million people were without power for a time, and many of those are still without power.

I have always been fascinated by ice storms, in particular freezing rain. It is simply amazing to me that plain rain falling into sub-freezing temperatures can create the beauty and destruction that it does. I ran across the following pictures on a weather blog that I read often and received permission from the author, Brian Emfinger, to post them here. His website is For my money, these are the most amazing ice storm pictures I have ever seen. Keep in mind that in some of the mountainous areas of NW Arkansas, over 90% of the trees have been snapped over or topped-off. These areas may not look the same for another decade.

The following picture was taken in the mountains near Pouteau. Not Canada. Oklahoma.
Notice in the next picture the ice at higher levels and not so much ice in the valley. The rain had time to freeze into sleet at lower levels before hitting the ground, but on the tops of mountains the rain didn't have enough time to freeze into pellets before hitting the trees, so the rain froze onto the trees.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Friendly Public Service Announcement

If you will be driving Monday afternoon/evening and/or Tuesday morning, be EXTREMELY careful. Temperatures have been at or below freezing for a while, and are bottoming out in the lower 20's right now. Any rain that falls tomorrow will freeze INSTANTLY on surfaces since everything outside is chilled. Don't be the yahoo who thinks they can go 40MPH becuase they have 4-wheel drive.......

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ice Forecast

OK, after looking at everything this morning, I am going to forecast a total of a quarter of an inch of ice accumulation when all is said and done Wednesday. This is enough to make the roads bad, cause some power outages to areas that lose power easily, but this will not be to the extent of last year's storm. I still feel that way. Also, some of the freezing rain will probably mix with sleet at times, making the glaze ice a little less. The worst and heaviest of the precipitation will be from sunset Monday evening through sunrise Tuesday morning.

Updates later if things change.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ice Storm Update

Here's the latest on my thinking......we are going to be below freezing from Monday morning all the way through Wednesday morning, which isn't good. However, I think the heaviest freezing rain will fall SE of OKC, while OKC gets a mix of freezing rain and sleet at times. I will say we get a quarter of an inch of ice total, which definitely will make driving dangerous, and may cause some branches to come down and minor power interruptions, but not to the extent of last year's ice storm. This is still subject to change, so I'll post again tomorrow on the latest.

Uh Oh.....Another Crippling Ice Storm?

You may have seen some local forecasts the past few days mentioning the chance of a bit of freezing rain on Monday....enough to cause travel problems but not enough for much beyond that.

Well, after looking at the National Weather Service website Saturday morning, I have to say that we may be in store for something much worse from Monday all the way through possibly Thursday. The tough part of the forecast is that there are so many variables to try to predict:

1) How much moisture will be available, considering how dry it has been lately?
2) How long will temperatures be below freezing? How long will the arctic air hold on?
3) Will the heaviest rain fall in parts of the state that are above freezing or below freezing?

Right now, it looks like the majority of precipitation will fall as freezing rain. Not good. When you hear pinging sounds on the windows, that is sleet, which is much better than plain rain when it is below freezing. We may have freezing drizzle during the day Monday, but the heaviest rain will probably start Monday night into Tuesday morning. Unfortunately, some models have freezing rain falling through Wednesday.

How much freezing rain? The two main computer models have differing opinions. One model says between 0.25 and 0.75 inches of rain, which would cause travel problems and maybe a few power problems, but nothing like last year. The other model shows Armageddon, with between 1 and 2 inches of FREEZING rain. This would be another crippling ice storm like what we had last winter. Right now I am siding (wishcasting) with the 0.25-0.75 inch forecast, but I will post an update later if my thinking changes.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Really, Really, Really, Really Cold

Just got home from work and am now getting ready for a baby tonight! So I thought one more Nateorology post before Anna's arrival would suffice.

Prediction: Either next Thursday night or Friday night, the official low in OKC will be near zero, like I said would happen at least once this winter in my earlier Winter forecast. A huge arctic airmass is going to dislodge from Alaska and Canada and head south. It is going to be brutally cold. Welcome home, I mean Welcome to Oklahoma, Brandon!