Parts of the southern Plains will be in for icy trouble later this week as a strengthening, cross-country storm impacts a large portion of the US through early-next week. The combination of freezing air and moisture will make for wintry weather, but in some cases there will be a thick wedge of warm air aloft but cold air at the surface, making for the dangerous, freezing rain.
As low pressure begins to reform Friday night over Texas, moisture will quickly develop over the region. Meanwhile to the north, cold air will try to work into the low pressure, allowing for snow, sleet, and freezing rain to fall as far south as the Texas Panhandle. Snow and some ice will break out overnight Friday from eastern New Mexico through northwestern Texas and into western and northern portions of Oklahoma. There will even be the slight chance for wintry precipitation in extreme-southern Kansas and into northern Arkansas.
The main event will then take place Saturday as this low pressure quickly deepens over Texas and tracks east along the Gulf Coast. Snow will gradually clear out of New Mexico and Texas while the snow persists all day or begins at some point in the day Saturday from much of Oklahoma through northern Arkansas. It will be interesting to watch the cold air slowly takeover on the northwestern side of the storm, so we should actually see places like southeastern Oklahoma transition from rain to either snow or freezing rain.
Saturday night, the snow will begin to clear out of the southern Plains while the wintry weather persists near the Missouri-Arkansas border. Meanwhile across parts of the western Ohio River Valley and into the southern Appalachian Mountains, the event will only be beginning, which we’ll detail more in one of our Thursday articles.
Now while icing won’t be a widespread threat, it will be impactful for those who experience it, especially once accretion totals exceed 0.10 inches. The best chance for that, which will make for slippery roads, will be from parts of the Texas Panhandle to central Oklahoma. The general freezing rain risk will span from eastern New Mexico through Arkansas, however, but we think the snow will be more impactful. Speaking of the snow, a general 1-4 inches of accumulation is expected in many of the towns and cities forecast to receive snowfall. Some towns will receive more or less than that, and some may even receive over half a foot in isolated incidents.
Stay tuned for additional details from the WeatherOptics team as this storm continues to evolve online and on social media.