First Alert: Timeline faster, freezing rain change-over by noon Monday

First Alert: Freezing rain, frigid temperatures move in overnight

PINE BELT (WDAM) - The potential for freezing rain and sleet leading to icy condition is still on deck for Monday.

That’s followed by very cold conditions as we head into Monday night and Tuesday morning. This is still looking like a double-decker winter weather system.

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.

Plan to be stuck at home - or wherever you are - after about noon on Monday.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for Simpson, Smith, Jasper, Lawrence, Jefferson Davis, Covington Marion, Lamar and Forrest counties.

A winter storm watch is in effect for Wayne, Greene, Perry, Pearl River, Stone, George and Walthall counties.

What to expect:

Right now, it looks like as the storm system moves into the area on Monday, rain will begin falling across the area by sunrise and should switch from cold rain to freezing rain by mid-morning.

That freezing rain, which may mix with sleet at times, will continue through the early afternoon hours. 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 under the winter storm warning and winter storm watch.

Threats:

The concern is for ice accumulations 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 areas.

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, sits there as a liquid and freezes quickly later on Monday and into Tuesday morning before it can evaporate.

Timing:

The rain starts as early as Monday morning at 7 a.m. It looks like the freezing rain and sleet will hold off until Monday around 10 a.m. in most spots, except for our northwest counties.

By Monday afternoon, cold air will really start to invade the Pine Belt. This is when concern changes from freezing rain and sleet to bitterly cold air and flash freezing.

By Monday evening, temperatures will be below freezing area-wide. Overnight and into Tuesday morning is when black ice and roads freezing 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.

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. 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.

Also, download the WDAM First Alert Weather app so, if the power goes out, you still have access to live, streaming coverage of any updates about the weather.

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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.

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