[Update] NWS: Significant Ice Threat... Strong Winds... Possible Prolonged Power Outages
UPDATE 3:30 P.M Sunday
An ice storm warning remains in effect for Fulton, Hickman, Graves, Marshall, Calloway, Trigg, Lyon, Caldwell, Hopkins, Christian, Muhlenberg and Todd Counties until 9:00 a.m. Monday.
The Commonwealth’s Emergency Operations Center is open and will remain active at Level III through Monday afternoon to monitor the winter storm.
Freezing rain will change over to sleet and snow later tonight...before ending midday Monday.
Heavy ice accumulations from a half inch to an inch appear likely before the change to snow later tonight.
Widespread tree damage and numerous power outages will be possible. Travel conditions will become treacherous as temperatures fall well below freezing later today and tonight.
The Kentucky Public Service Commission has issued some generator safety tips, in the event of prolonged power outages.
To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning or fire hazards:
· Generators should only be operated outside in well-ventilated areas and never in a garage, basement or breezeway.
· Do not operate generators near windows, doors or in other areas where exhaust fumes could be drawn into a home or other occupied structure.
· Do not use charcoal grills, gas grills or other open-flame devices indoors for heating or cooking.
· Use only portable heaters certified for indoor use. They should be placed in well-ventilated areas and kept well away from combustible materials.
· To prevent fires, generators should never be refueled while they are running. Refuel only after the generator has been turned off and allowed to cool.
The PSC also is reminding electric customers who use a portable generator of electric safety guidelines that will protect them and those working to restore power. Keys to safe operation of generators include:
• Make sure a generator is properly sized for the load you will place on it. Remember that starting an electric motor, such as a refrigerator or air conditioner compressor, requires more electricity than the amount needed to keep it running. DO NOT OVERLOAD YOUR GENERATOR.
• Use only three-prong, grounded extension cords, properly rated for the load, to connect appliances to generators.
• DO NOT ATTEMPT TO FEED POWER INTO YOUR HOME BY ADAPTING AN EXTENSION CORD TO CONNECT A GENERATOR TO A WALL OUTLET. THIS CAN CAUSE A FIRE.
• DO NOT CONNECT A GENERATOR TO INSIDE WIRING IN ANY WAY UNLESS YOUR HOME OR BUSINESS IS EQUIPPED WITH A TRANSFER SWITCH THAT PREVENTS POWER FROM FLOWING BACK INTO (BACKFEEDING) THE WIRES THAT SUPPLY YOUR ELECTRICITY.
UPDATE SUNDAY NOON:
From National Weather Service:
A major late winter storm will significantly impact the entire area late today through midday Monday.
Travel conditions will begin to deteriorate as surface temperatures drop below freezing today. The approximate arrival time of the sub-freezing conditions is plotted in blue.
Most of the area will see freezing rain lead to a quarter to a half inch of ice accumulation before the precipitation changes over to sleet and snow.
Much of the area will see from 2 to 6 inches of sleet and snow on top of the ice. The Missouri Bootheel and much of west Kentucky, outlined in blue, will have a significant threat of icing up to three quarters of an inch or even more. Strong north winds and that icing load in trees and power lines could lead to significant power outages.
Update SATURDAY: The National Weather Service has issued an ice storm warning in effect from 3 PM Sunday to 9 AM on Monday. The winter storm watch is no longer in effect. Light rain on Sunday will turn into freezing rain later in the day.
Heavy rainfall Sunday evening is possible, along with thunder. Freezing rain will change to sleet and snow before ending Monday morning. Moderate accumulations of at least 1/4 inch of ice are likely. Widespread tree damage and power outages are possible.
Previous Story: The NWS Meteorologist reports the region could see a brief warm-up Saturday before a cold front pushes south and east Sunday evening, bringing rain, freezing rain, sleet, and snow before tapering off Monday afternoon.
“It’s going to be quite a contrast between tomorrow and Sunday for sure," said Noles. "People are going to be outside tomorrow and thinking ‘what the heck’s going on, it’s fifty degrees before an ice storm’ but that’s what we’re looking at, we’ll see an uptick in temperatures tomorrow and then the bottom will drop out through the day Sunday.”
Meteorologists say a moderate accumulation of ice is likely and travel could be hazardous as temperatures fall below the freezing mark.
Noles says the storm will be more severe than recent events but won’t be on par the storm that struck the region 4 years ago.
“This is not going to be a 2009 storm," said Noles. "If anything, I think it resembles the 2008 winter event in terms of ice quantities. But I do think it is an uptick over recent ice events in West Kentucky."
Forecasters say they are still making adjustments to their predictions, and WKMS will bring you the latest weather information as it becomes available.