I'm NOT looking forward to this. What a mess this is gonna be. :-(
Ice, Snow Aim For S. Plains, Texas Panhandle Thursday
UPDATED By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Andrew Rosenthal
UPDATED 9:30 PM CST, January 27, 2010
A major winter storm marching toward the southern Plains will bring with it the risk of significant snowfall along with dangerous ice accumulation for locations from New Mexico to the Mississippi Valley.
The storm is organizing across the Desert Southwest, drawing subtropical Pacific moisture into the southern Rockies. As it moves eastward into New Mexico and into west Texas, it will start to draw upon the Gulf of Mexico`s moisture source as well. With a cold, Arctic airmass screaming southward through the Plains, the two air masses will create the perfect combination for heavy snow, sleet and freezing rain.
WeatherBug Meteorologist Rachel Peterson has the latest on the developing Southern Plains winter storm in this exclusive WeatherBug Severe Video.
The storm has already produced snow across the higher elevations of Utah and Arizona as it squeezes out its Pacific moisture source. Generally 2 to 5 inches of snow has fallen across the Wasatch Mountains, with a couple inches in Arizona. Another 3 to 6 inches of snow is possible through Thursday morning, and Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Advisories remain in effect through Thursday morning.
From there, the storm will march eastward into the Plains, and the warm Gulf moisture will allow rain to develop before sunrise Thursday across New Mexico, the Texas Panhandle, southern Oklahoma and western Arkansas, with a sleet-and-freezing rain mix in southern Kansas and southern Missouri. Over the course of the day, the icy mixed bag will push southward as the cold air follows suit, reaching the Interstate 40 corridor that runs from eastern New Mexico, through central Oklahoma and Oklahoma City and into western Arkansas by mid-afternoon.
Across Kansas, Missouri, and even northern Oklahoma, the cold air will largely overwhelm the warmer air, with ice changing over to heavy snow through Thursday night, while Arkansas and central and southern Oklahoma continue to see freezing rain.
While the exact location of the heaviest icing and snow is not yet certain, forecasts are coming into focus that the heaviest ice accumulations will be found in central and southern Oklahoma and western Arkansas between Interstate 40 and the Red River. Here, ice could total one-half to as much as one inch thick. Eastern New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle will see a quarter to half-inch of ice, followed by a few inches of snow.
Across northern Oklahoma, southern Kansas and southern Missouri, snowfall will be in the 10 to 15 inch range, although the uncertainly on timing on the ice-to-snow changeover will play a major role in raising or lowering the snowfall total. Periods of sleet will also affect the snowfall totals.
In addition to the heavy snow and ice, howling 25 to 35 mph wind gusts will cause whiteout conditions and significant snow drifts. Ice accumulations will likely make roads impassable, and the buildup of ice on everything from trees to power lines coupled with the gusty winds could knock down power lines and cause widespread power outages.
Residents of the southern Plains, including Amarillo and Lubbock, Texas, Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Okla., Fayetteville and Little Rock, Ark., and Springfield, Mo., could all be affected by this large and potentially dangerous winter storm, and should be prepared for treacherous travel conditions, especially between the Interstate 40 corridor and the Red River.
On Friday, the storm will slide eastward into the Southeast, and will bring the wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain to the Mid-South and Tennessee Valley, with an increasing severe storm risk across the lower Mississippi Valley and Deep South. The storm will then target the Carolinas and the Mid-Atlantic for the weekend.