Ice storm warnings issued for parts of Central Texas
Both the new ice storm warning and winter storm warning is in effect until 9 AM
WACO, Texas (KWTX) - We’re entering into what will be the most dangerous time period for travel across Central Texas as the most widespread and heaviest waves of freezing rain moves through. Thankfully, by the middle of the morning tomorrow, the rain will come to a close AND we’ll see temperatures warm up above freezing too.
All winter weather warnings extended until 9 AM Thursday
The winter storm warning has again been extended and is now set to expire at 9 AM Thursday instead of at 6 AM Thursday. An ice storm warning has also been put into effect for Mills, Hamilton, and Bosque County.
Both the ice storm warning and winter storm warning end mid-morning Thursday because impacts from this winter storm will last through at least the start of the day and maybe even last deeper into the day too.
Ice storm warning? Why?
The National Weather Service office in Fort Worth decided to upgrade parts of our area and much of North Texas to an ice storm warning since impacts are expected to be highest within the warning with around a half-inch of ice accumulation expected. Downed trees, downed power lines, and impassable roads are possible anywhere within the winter storm warning, but are much more likely in the ice storm warning.
It usually only takes around a quarter-inch of ice accretion to start to cause major travel issues, down trees, and down powerlines, and we could potentially see that and in some places much more than that.
The highest ice totals will be along and especially west of I-35. There’s about an 90% chance for cities and towns near and west of I-35 to see at least a quarter-inch of ice accumulation.
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Another round of widespread freezing rain starting now
Unless absolutely necessary, travel through Thursday morning is highly discouraged. Rain has already started during the overnight time period. The heaviest overnight rain has been along and east of I-35 where road conditions have been steadily deteriorating and the spots that haven’t seen as much rain overnight will after sunrise.
Heavy bursts of rain will again bring high ice totals again. On top of the ice that is already on the ground from Tuesday’s rain, we’re likely going to see at least another tenth-to-quarter inch of ice on top of that. Some spots will fare better than others, but many roads will be impassable all day long Wednesday.
Widespread and locally heavy rain is expected for much of the morning. Yes, there will be some spots where rain briefly comes to a close, but a lack of rain won’t translate to temperatures that warm above freezing. We’re expecting rain chances to drop to around 60% during the afternoon as rain becomes a bit more scattered, but we won’t completely shake the rainfall. Rainfall coverage may come back up again late this afternoon and early this evening, but more widespread rain starts around midnight Thursday.
The thaw starts Thursday
Conditions will gradually improve during the daytime hours Thursday, but one last round of freezing rain is expected before sunrise.
The storm system responsible for this messy weather will finally move in and move out tomorrow, but temperatures won’t really start to warm up above freezing for most until after sunrise.
For cities and towns in parts of Falls, Limestone, Freestone, Milam, Robertson, and Leon County, your temperatures may warm close to and even slightly above freezing overnight allowing for freezing rain to gradually switch to regular old rainfall.
For the rest of our area, freezing rain is expected to be the dominant precipitation type along and west of I-35 overnight. Tomorrow’s early morning rain will actually help to warm temperatures up, especially since heavier bursts of rain may drag warmer air aloft down to the surface. By sunrise, sub-freezing temperatures will likely be confined entirely west of I-35. Rain chances remain high through around 9 AM with rain coming (mostly) to a close thereafter. By lunch time, the entire area will warm up above freezing and the melting process will be well under way.
The next few rounds of freezing rain will cause more ice to form on surfaces and roadways, but the gradual thawing Thursday should melt a good portion of the ice despite cloudy skies. Temperatures Thursday afternoon in the upper 30s and low 40s will stay above freezing for much of the night Thursday.
Road conditions will improve, but any ice or water that is left on the roadways Friday morning could refreeze. Travel issues are expected to be few and far between Friday morning, mainly on bridges and overpasses, with all of the ice melting before the end of the day Friday.
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