dallas – A deadly battle between the massive arctic air mass that has moved into the northern plains and the warming effects that persist in the Gulf of Mexico will take place over the southern plains and mid-south for several days this week, creating multiple days of damaging freezing rain and other winter weather threat of harm.
A winter storm warning has been issued for millions of people living in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas metropolitan south through Waco and Austin, and west into Abilene, San Angelo and the junction.
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Precipitation is expected to begin Monday morning, with light rain possible along Interstate 35 from Oklahoma City to Dallas. Freezing drizzle is expected as temperatures drop below freezing, according to the FOX Forecast Center.
Meanwhile, precipitation is expected in west Texas, but some uncertainty remains in the forecast. Where the boundary of freezing air lies at this time is critical as the Arctic front straddles the region. Areas south of the front are expected to remain warm enough to receive only a bout of cold rain, but freezing rain is more likely north of the front.
Crashes have been reported in the area, with one major crash reported Monday morning on northbound Loop 820 in Arlington, Texas.
“The bridge and overpass were deemed hazardous,” Police Chief Christopher Cook of White Settlement, Texas, said in a statement. tweet“People must slow down when approaching elevated surfaces.”
The fast-moving band of precipitation is expected to move eastward into the Interstate 35 corridor by noon and eventually leave Texas by Monday night. The first wave of sea ice is expected to accumulate up to a tenth of an inch.
“Thankfully, it’s been pretty quiet this morning,” said FOX Weather meteorologist Britta Merwin. “But it’s just the evolution of the storm. It’s just the beginning. So, from now on, our commute is going to be tougher because we’re really getting into the nooks and crannies of this ice storm.”
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A second, more impactful wave of precipitation is set to begin Tuesday morning, with another shower of widespread precipitation expected in western Texas. A sustained push of cooler air behind the Arctic front will move the freeze line a bit south, well beyond the I-20 corridor.
The FOX Forecast Center believes this area will likely see the greatest impact as up to half an inch of ice could accumulate along a line from Abilene in West Texas eastward to northern Texas and southern Oklahoma . The exact location of the freezing line is likely to swing north and south throughout the day on Tuesday and will be key in determining where the greatest impact will occur.
It now appears that the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area is right on the edge of that line, with a possible quarter-inch of ice accretion. Those numbers could rise if the freeze line moves south. Computer forecasting models are inconsistent about how much precipitation is likely to fall, leading to higher-than-usual uncertainty in forecasts.
“We’re talking about a high probability of a power outage,” Merwin said. “Once the power goes out, you have to keep yourself and your family warm in a safe way. So, that’s something to watch closely.”
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Freezing rain threat in Texas through Wednesday
From Tuesday through Wednesday, the FOX Forecast Center expects rain to continue across much of Texas. While precipitation intensity will start to fade, the presence of freezing drizzle will continue to complicate the forecast, as a few hours of freezing drizzle from Tuesday night into Wednesday could lead to slippery commutes on Wednesday morning.
Freezing rain is also possible in parts of Arkansas and West Tennessee, including Little Rock and Memphis in both states. This can happen late Tues. to Wed. Ice accumulation in the area could reach more than a quarter of an inch, causing power outages and dangerous travel.
Ice storm warnings have been issued for those areas, including as far south as northern Mississippi.
Temperatures will start to warm up during the day on Wednesday due to the upcoming weather system.
Temperatures will rise above freezing by Wednesday afternoon, ending the threat of additional ice accumulation. But as temperatures dipped back below freezing on Wednesday night, ice could return overnight and early Thursday, which could lead to multiple blackouts on commuters across much of west and north Texas on Thursday morning. ice.
Overall, the forecast calls for a quarter to a half-inch of ice accumulation starting along the I-20 corridor in West Texas, extending east to I-35 and eventually into southeastern Oklahoma and Arkansas parts of the southern state. A second ice patch of more than a quarter of an inch is also increasingly likely across the rest of Arkansas and into West Tennessee.
Generally, icing less than a quarter of an inch is considered a nuisance, but once the amount approaches a half inch or more, the effects start to become destructive.
At about half an inch, blackouts can become frequent and driving is considered dangerous.
Hazardous travel is possible, especially during commute times, and there will be some power outages. For some, this could be a memorable ice storm, and if cold air sinks further south than computer forecast models suggest or precipitation falls, some places could reach freezing thresholds of more than half an inch higher than expected. .
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The potential for damaging weather has some states bracing for a chaotic week ahead.
Texas grid manager ERCOT said it was monitoring the threat of freezing precipitation in the Lone Star State, but believed the state would have enough generation to meet the needs of its more than 26 million customers.
Computer forecast models show that precipitation is likely to decrease by the first weekend of February.