FIRST ALERT: Winter Storm Warning in effect for parts of Pine Belt

FIRST ALERT: Winter Storm Warning in effect for parts of Pine Belt
The first round will feature rain, turning to freezing rain and sleet for some. The second round will be much colder air spilling into the area. (Source: Nick Lilja)

PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - WDAM (PINE BELT) - A double-decker system is set to move into the area Monday. The first round will feature rain, turning to freezing rain and sleet for some. The second round will be much colder air spilling into the area.

The potential for frozen precipitation will create problems for roads, schools, businesses and the cold air will make a potentially dangerous situation for those without easy access to heat.

Near the WDAM Viewing Area, the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for Simpson, Smith, Jasper, Lawrence, Jefferson Davis, Covington and Marion counties. A Winter Storm Watch is in effect for Walthall County.

Other counties may be added at a later time.

What to expect:

Right now, it looks like as the next storm system moves into the area on Monday, rain will begin falling across the area by late morning. That rain will begin to mix with sleet at times as we head toward the afternoon and through the evening. Temperatures in some areas will be at or below freezing, while others will be near or above freezing.

The National Weather Service is concerned about dangerous ice accumulations for the counties listed above. In other areas, nuisance-level ice accumulations are possible. In spots farther south, mostly liquid precipitation is expected.

Threats:

The concern is for ice accumulations of up to a half-inch in the counties in the Winter Storm Warning. While up to a quarter-inch looks possible in the Winter Storm Watch. Other places will see some ice accumulations possible, but not likely. There will be places outside of the Watch and Warning areas that see ice accumulations of up to 1/10-inch.

The other concern is for a flash freeze. That is when all of the liquid precipitation that falls freezes before it can evaporate as colder air pummels into the area.

That means even the people who see regular liquid precipitation may still end up with icy conditions because the rain that falls as liquid, hits the ground as a liquid and sits there as a liquid... freezes quickly later on Monday and into Tuesday morning before it can evaporate.

Timing:

The rain starts as early as  Monday morning. It looks like the sleet will hold off until Monday around noon for the NW counties. By Monday afternoon, cold air will start to invade the Pine Belt. This is when concerns for freezing rain and ice accumulations begin.

By Monday evening, most spots will be near or below freezing - some places to the NW will be well below freezing.

Overnight and into Tuesday morning is when black ice and roads freeze over will become a concern.

Unknowns:

Many.

So far, there is some concern about if the sub-freezing air will out-pace the rain. That would mean freezing rain and sleet would begin earlier and accumulations would be thicker.

There is also some indication that the cold air would be overcome by the raindrops falling heavy enough to actually warm the air back to just above freezing, saving many places from dealing with ice accumulations.

This is a very unique setup and one that is - sadly - difficult to forecast.

More Info

For more scientific information on this - and other - forecasts, you can get extra details and a complete scientific breakdown over on Nick’s Blog.

Preparations:

Double-check your plans for Monday and Tuesday. If you have to drive across the area make sure you have a winter weather kit in your car. That kit should include water, blankets, sand, an ice scraper and something to help you keep warm should you get stuck on the side of the road. For the cold, check your pipes now, before it gets cold. Insulate exposed pipes and double-check those pipes you may have insulated earlier in the year.

Check on family and friends that don’t have easy access to heat and make sure they are taken care of during the day on Sunday or Monday morning.

And because the cold air rushes in after the precipitation ends, you will need to drip your faucets if you live on a raised foundation or manufactured/mobile home.

Have your NOAA Weather Radio programmed with fully-charged batteries available for it. If you must travel, make sure to check the weather conditions, watches, warnings and advisories before venturing out the door. Review your Severe Weather Plan and know what you would do if a severe storm or tornado was near you. If you don’t feel comfortable riding out a storm where you live, make a plan regarding when you would leave your home and where you would go. Also, download the WDAM Weather App so, if the power goes out, you still have access to live, streaming coverage of any updates about the weather.

The WDAM First Alert Weather App:

Take the same tools the WDAM First Alert Weather team uses with you anywhere you go. Download the WDAM First Alert Weather app today for real-time interactive radar, location-based severe weather alerts and a constantly updated forecast for wherever you are.

Plan your day with an hour-by-hour forecast tailored for home, work or anywhere on-the-go. Our WDAM First Alert Weather app can tell you if a storm near you has hail, strong winds or rotation.

Here are some more features of the WDAM First Alert Weather app:

  • Storm Tracks: See at a glance where a storm is and where it is headed
  • Multiple Alerts: Turn on alerts for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, floods, tropical storms/hurricanes, winter storms and more
  • Live severe weather coverage: Watch our live stream for continuously updated information when severe weather strikes
  • Updated forecasts from the {weather team brand} forecast center
  • Weather pictures and video sent by people who live near you
  • A constantly updated 10-day forecast, so your weekend is always in view

The WDAM First Alert Weather App is free in the Android and Apple app stores, part of the WDAM First Alert commitment to help keep you safe.

Apple users can download the app here. Android users can download the app here.

If your home or community is damaged in the storms, contact your county’s Emergency Management Agency here.

Copyright 2021 WDAM. All rights reserved.