The Ice Storm Cometh

Photos out of Alabama (via Twitter)
Glaze ice on car in Tuscaloosa 
And, in Coker, Alabama,

I have somewhat the same feeling this morning as when I was forecasting Hurricane Sandy -- boy, do I want to be wrong-- but I would be irresponsible as a meteorologist if I did not forecast the most likely scenarios so you could prepare accordingly.

The National Weather Service Regional Office in Ft. Worth has put together a good graphic this morning that portrays the potentially epic nature of this event.
click to enlarge
These amounts of ice from Atlanta to Columbia and south will not only cause power failures, they will seriously damage the electrical infrastructure. Its interruptions can't be repaired "overnight" and they will extend to areas outside of the immediate heavy ice accumulation regions. It is also likely cell towers will come down causing those without landlines to lose communications.
Via Severe Weather Wiki, electrical transmission towers downed by an ice storm
So, if you haven't already GO HERE FOR PREPARATION INFORMATION.  Make sure any relatives or friends who would have difficulty coping have been provided for before the ice begins. Do not hope for FEMA or others to come charging to the rescue; make preparations for yourself, family, and friends.

More than 1,000 flights have already been cancelled. Many more cancellations will occur.

The worst of the ice will fall in Georgia and South Carolina after midnight tonight and continue on Wednesday.

Finally, here are the latest freezing rain (ice storm) amounts from the overnight computer models:
Dr Ryan Maue
Some areas will have heavy snow (multiply X10 = inches) on top of the ice!

Look, I hope I'm wrong about this! But, if I am not and you aren't prepared, you may find yourself in a desperate situation without power and without communications (i.e., cell service out) and road blocked by downed trees. You'll eventually use the gas from the full tank for your car and you'll eventually spend the extra cash from the ATM (because credit card readers don't work without electricity). So, prepare. You have a lot to gain and little to lose.


  1. Oh. My.
    Question: Are there still people without power in SE PA from last Wednesday's ice storm in southern PA? I live 30 miles south of Williamsport and so far we have been spared the worst of this winter's storms.
    I plan to drive to Florida on Feb 21-22; could I have problems driving on I-81, I-77 and I-26 from the 'leftovers' of this current storm? Hope I am not bothering you, but feel you are the best qualified to give answers. Thanks for your blog which I read several times a day and for your books (both of which I have read several times).

  2. Hi Lyn, always appreciate the question but there is no way to forecast conditions late this month. Snowplows and backhoes are "non-meteorological events" as my menor used to say.


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