Weather
6:57 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Winter Weather: Clarksville, TN Reports .4 of Ice and Numerous Power Outages

Snow plow in downtown Paducah.
Credit John Paul Henry

Update Monday Morning

According to Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spokesman Keith Todd  the region had fog overnight in many counties.  A band of light freezing rain that briefly turned to snow swept across Henderson and Webster counties about 2:00 a.m

Temperatures held in the mid-20s which helped salt to continue thawing roads in the overnight hours. 

However, there are still opportunities for re-freezing, as well as some remaining icy spots that require additional treatment.

KTC is urging Caution on the morning commute.

Update Sunday Morning:

Trained weather spotters in Northwest Tennessee have reported ice accumulation up to half an inch in some counties following overnight storms. In Clarksville at one time around 6,000 residents were without power.  Power crews are making progress restoring power with less than 1,700 remaining without power. Montgomery County's official twitter page indicates more outages may be possible throughout the day.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation is reporting normal driving conditions along major roads in the Clarksville area.

In Kentucky, Kentucky Utilities is reporting a small number of outages in Muhlenberg and Henderson Counties. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet reports pavement temperatures throughout the region in the mid to upper 30's.

KYTC Spokesman Keith Todd says salt trucks and plows will work mostly B and C routes today as major roads are in mostly good condition.

Update: Saturday Afternoon

Another round of wintry precipitation possible late tonight into Sunday morning, as temperatures fall into the teens and 20s. Snow, sleet, and freezing rain overnight may accumulate to 1/10th of an inch. Minor ice accumulations will be possible, leading to travel difficulties. 

Update: Friday Overnight, Saturday Morning

Scattered snow showers or flurries over the region. No additional accumulation expected. Skies slowly clear overnight. Travelers should be prepared for slippery conditions due to the re-freezing of melted snow and black ice, especially over bridges.

Sunny and cold Saturday, highs in the mid 20s. A wintry mix of precipitation is forecast for late Saturday night into Sunday. Some ice and snow will be possible.   

Update: Friday Early Evening  

The National Weather Service continues the winter storm warning for most of our listening region until 6 this evening. Snow will taper off from west to east through the 6 o'clock hour. For counties along the Tennessee border, the warning remains in effect until 9 pm. Sleet and snow will wind down through early evening. 

Total snow accumulations range from ten inches in Southern Illinois, down to one inch along the Tennessee border. Total ice accumulation ranges from 1/10 to 1/4 inch in the northern area, along the Ohio River; 1/4 to 1/2 inch, closer to the Tennessee border. 

An ice storm warning continues over northwest middle Tennessee until midnight. 1/2 inch is possible.

Travel is still strongly discouraged. Treacherous driving conditions and accidents have been reported throughout the area. They will only get worse tonight as the temperature drops and into tomorrow. Please only drive if you need to and stay clear of emergency vehicles.

Credit NOAA

Update: Friday Mid-Afternoon

Kentucky Emergency Management has upgraded the Commonwealth Emergency Operations Center activation to Level II, effective as of 2 PM, in anticipation of possible deteriorating conditions including freezing rain, sleet, ice and snow, along with flooding issues. 

CEOC Level II operations consist of 24-hour manned posts, including KYEM and Kentucky National Guard personnel, on standby throughout the area. 

KYEM Deputy Director of Operations Charile O'Neal advises Kentuckians in affected areas to "monitor local broadcast stations and radios for important weather information. If you must travel, use caution and drive slowly. Give emergency crews ample access to impacted areas."

Update: Friday Early Afternoon

The winter storm warning remains in effect until...

6 p.m. this evening for most of the counties in our listening area. 

9 p.m. this evening for the following: Calloway, Trigg, Christian, Muhlenberg, Todd. 

Ice storm warning in effect until 12 a.m. for: Stewart and Montgomery.

Freezing rain and sleet will gradually transition to heavy snow across the region this afternoon, tapering of before sunset. Additional icing due to freezing rain of 1/4 to 1/2 inch can be expected near the Tennessee border. Storm total ice accumulations will range from 1/10th along I-64 to near 1/2 over portions of southeast Missouri and western Kentucky. Total snow accumulations will range from 4 to 8 inches along a line from Sikeston, Missouri to Paducah and Owensboro this afternoon. Only an inch or two is expected across the remainder of western Kentucky. Ice is more of a concern along the Tennessee border, where 1/2 inch is expected with 3/4 inch possible. 

In northwest middle Tennessee, 1/2 inch of ice is possible. Precipitation may change from freezing rain to sleet, snow or freezing drizzle before ending tonight.

The sleet and snow should come to an end early this evening.

Travel is strongly discouraged. Driving conditions will only get worse through the day. Isolated power outages may occur - some have been reported in the Madisonville area. Strong winds may result in drifting snow. Extreme cold will affect driving tonight and into tomorrow.

As road conditions continue to deteriorate, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has reported several accidents throughout the listening area. One incident involved a crashed semi-trailer blocking traffic on US 51/US 60 in Ballard County. Motorists are advised to avoid this area. KYTC Spokesman Keith Todd says most main highways are covered in slush. Visit this link for more information on road closings and conditions http://511.ky.gov/kyhb/main.jsf

Roads in the following counties are currently being treated for ice: Ballard, Calloway, Caldwell, Carlisle, Christian, Crittenden, Fulton, Graves, Hancock, Hickman, Hopkins, Livingston, Lyon, Marshall, McCracken, McLean, Muhlenberg, Ohio and Trigg Counties. 

POWER

Power has been restored for 462 Jackson Purchase Energy Corp. customers who experienced an outage due to a limb on a power line near Sharpe, off Highway 68.

Power has been restored for four other outages. Kenergy Corporation says a Daviess County outage caused by a car accident affected less than 25 customers. Power has also been restored at for about 35 JPEC customers in Freemont after a tree fell on a power line.

Weakley County, Tennessee, Emergency Management Agency Director Jamison Peevyhouse says nearly half the county lost power this morning when the Dresden substation lost a feeder line. But power has now been restored.

Update Friday Mid-Morning

Winter storm warnings continue for a large part of central United States, from Texas to the Ohio River Valley. The warning for most of our listening area runs through 6 pm tonight, with the exception of the Pennyrile region, in which the warning is extended to Midnight tonight. 

Sleet and freezing rain falling into southern Illinois, some light rain and freezing rain in western Kentucky and northwest Tennessee. A large swath of moderate to heavy precipitation headed into the area today, increasing ice and snow accumulation. NWS says conservative accumulation estimations are .25-.50 inches of ice for southern Illinois and Paducah area; greater than .50 inch for most of southwest Kentucky, including Mayfield, Murray, Cadiz, Madisonville, Hopkinsville. Snow accumulation between 6 - 10 inches for southern Illinois, dropping down to 2-6 inches along the Ohio River, and 1-2 inches closer to the Tennessee border. Much of the snow will fall as sleet and accumulate as snow in the afternoon.

Travel is strongly discouraged.

Update Friday Early Morning

The National Weather Service says a strong winter storm will continue to bring a wintry mix of precipitation to the area today, with significant snow and ice accumulations. A winter storm warning remains in effect until 6 pm. 

A slow transition from freezing rain and sleet to snow will occur through the course of the day. Precipitation is expected to come to an end as snow this afternoon. Ice accumulations will range from 1/10th to 1/4 inch for northern parts of Southern Illinois and up to 1/2 inch for western Kentucky. Total snow accumulation will be between 4 to 8 inches in a line from Poplar Bluff Missouri to Paducah and Owensobor by afternoon. Only an inch or two is expected across the rest of western Kentucky. 

For Tennessee residents, conditions are coming together for an ice storm today and tonight. Rainfall and cold air across northwest and middle Tennessee will accumulate up to 1/2 inch. The warning is in effect from 9 am this morning until midnight tonight.

Please use caution driving. Isolated power outages may occur.  

Update Thursday Evening (10:00 pm):

Winter Storm Warning Continues. The National Weather Service has increased snowfall totals and some ice totals over southeast Missouri and southern Illinois.

Up to 10 inches of snow is possible from near Wayne county Missouri to Mount Vernon Illinois. West Kentucky will see an increase in precipitation during the overnight hours. Significant ice accumulations are expected over most of west Kentucky. Storm reports have been coming in to the NWS since early afternoon.

Update Thursday Evening (5:30 pm):

According to the National Weather Service, a winter storm warning is in effect until 6 p.m. Friday as a pair of disturbances continue to move northeast across the area. As temperatures drop below freezing this evening, a wintry mix of precipitation is expected. Freezing rain and sleet will spread across early this evening, transitioning to sleet and snow overnight. 

Total ice accumulation will range from one-tenth of an inch closer to southern Illinois, to a half-inch over much of western Kentucky. Total snow and sleet will range from 4-8 inches over southern Illinois to an inch or two over western Kentucky. 

The cold front moving through has placed an ice storm warning in effect between 9 pm tonight and 6 pm tomorrow for northwestern Tennessee. Ice accumulation up to one inch is expected. Freezing rain may change over to sleet around noon. Sleet accumulation between one-half to two inches are possible.

Please take precaution. This is a major storm. Treacherous driving conditions will occur through friday, and isolated power outages cannot be ruled out. Strong winds may knock down trees. Bridges and overpasses will ice first. 

Thursday 12-5 Update:

National Weather Service Forecasters have revised the winter storm forecast to include larger ice accumulations in the southern portion of the listening area. Colder temperatures are moving into the region faster than initially predicted.  

The graphic below represents total ice accumulation in the listening area. (To compare the changes in the ice forecast, scroll down to see the prediction graphic from Thursday)

Ice accumulation forecast issued on 12-5-13
Credit National Weather Service

NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist Rick Shanklin says this system will bring the region its third worst ice storm in the last decade.  The NWS has published an experimental ice impact index to help identify potential power outages and timelines for restoration. Sustained northern winds of ten to fifteen miles per hour will also play a role in any potential downed trees and power lines. Snow and sleet accumulations will vary throughout the region. The graphic below represents total snow fall.

Snowfall prediction graphic issued 12-5-13
Credit National Weather Service

Temperatures will remain frigid and below freezing through Sunday, if not longer. There is also a second winter storm system predicted for Saturday night through Sunday night.  NWS forecasters are limiting their predictions for that event until the first bout of winter precipitation passes tonight through tomorrow.

Here are a few lines of the NWS 2009 ice storm report to help provide some perspective on this storm.

This historic, prolonged ice storm (2009) was called "the biggest disaster in modern Kentucky history" by the governor of Kentucky. The storm produced at least one inch of ice across western Kentucky. Locally very destructive icing around 1.5 inches occurred from the Mississippi River counties east across Paducah and Madisonville to Owensboro. This resulted in unprecedented damage to utility infrastructure in western Kentucky. One hundred percent of residents in the hardest-hit counties from the Mississippi River to Madisonville were affected by power outages. A utility company serving areas from Ballard to Livingston Counties reported that 20 percent of its system had to be rebuilt. The same company estimated damage to its system alone between 20 and 30 million dollars. At least 5,000 utility poles were broken or down.

Power outages averaged about one week in duration, though outages varied greatly in length. Power restoration was slowed by strong gusty winds that started a few days after the storm. Outages generally lasted several days for residents of larger cities, and weeks for rural residents. Several thousand customers in rural counties remained without power three weeks after the storm. During the initial 24 to 48 hours after the storm, gasoline and kerosene were difficult to obtain. Some of the few stores that were open rationed food, supplies, and gas in the 48 hours following the storm. National Guard troops were called upon to assist with food and water distribution at the many shelters that were established. The troops helped clear roads, enforce curfews, and conduct door-to-door welfare checks. More Kentucky National Guard troops were activated for this storm than for the 1997 floods or Hurricane Katrina support. Many thousands of people stayed in shelters during the cold days and nights after the storm. Several hundred people stayed at a shelter in Owensboro, and hundreds more were at a Paducah shelter. Curfews were imposed from dusk to dawn for a few days following the storm….

Road Condition Update 12-5

Roads in western Kentucky and southern Illinois are clear, but transportation officials expect slick roads and ice as temperatures drop tonight. Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spokesperson Keith Todd says warmer temperatures the past few days are postponing icy roads until later tonight.

“Our pavement temperatures are hovering right around 50 degrees,” he says. “So we think that will help us keep roads in decent shape until say 9 or 10 tonight. Sometime after that though, when the really cold temperatures start rolling in, we’re expecting bridges and overpasses to start developing problems first.”

Todd says KYTC workers will salt those places first, then move to other roads throughout the evening. He also warns drivers to stay off the roads once they begin to ice.

Illinois Department of Transportation spokesperson Keith Miley says all southern Illinois roads are clear, and that the department is prepared to treat roads as conditions worsen.

(WEDNESDAY 12-4 UPDATE)

The National Weather Service says rain preceding arctic temperatures this week is a plus for those worried about an ice storm reminiscent of 2009. Meteorologist Dan Spaeth  calmed concerns of another major ice event to media and emergency managers earlier today during a conference call.

“In that event we had the arctic front came through on Friday and the precip began Monday night," Spaeth said. "We had a couple of days to chill things, as soon as the precip started it became a problem. In this case with a lot of the rain already falling as the temperatures are trying to fall below freezing it’s not going to just instantly flash freeze everything.”

Ice accumulations could reach four tenths of an inch in portions of Graves, Calloway Marshall and Livingston County.

Ice accumulation predicted.
Credit National Weather Service

Rain Showers are predicted to begin in earnest tomorrow.

The timetable for this storm begins Thursday evening for the western portion of the WKMS listening area as temperatures begin to drop below freezing. The entire region should have below freezing temperatures by Friday evening.

Snow and sleet are expected over the weekend and temperatures will stay below freezing through Saturday. Snow accumulations could reach six inches in some areas.

Predicted snow accumulation.
Credit National Weather Service

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Keith Todd says his agency is limited in what it can do to treat roads in temperatures below 18 degrees which is the low for Friday night. 

"The salt kind of quits working. We’ve been using more calcium chloride because it will let it keep working to like 15 or 16 degrees," said Todd

Todd said once the temperatures drop that low K-Y-T-C can only wait until it warms up.

Meantime, it’s a good idea to test generators, update plans to check on loved ones and the elderly.

THIS POST WILL BE UPDATED