NWS forecasters busy at work

NWS

The National weather Service in Mobile spent Monday gearing up for a highly unusual event; a near-certain winter weather breakout.

National Weather Service meteorologist Jeff Garmon told us, “We’re going to have a light to moderate rain falling into a very shallow cold layer that’s below freezing. It’s going to be several hours below freezing it’s going to give the bridges and over-passes time to cool down to to where we could see some significant travel problems.”

FREEZING RAIN PROBLEMATIC

When most people think winter weather they think of pretty, fluffy snow, but unfortunately the atmospheric setup is ideal for another type of precipitation.

“I know a lot of people are focusing on the snow potential but it’s the freezing rain potential that’s really going to be the thing that can knock out our power and causes for significant travel problems,” Garmon said.

Freezing rain is the severest type of winter weather. The slick ice accumulation can make driving treacherous while the weight of the ice can bring down tree limbs and power lines.

“You’re just essentially building up ice on top of the road and if you get that you can have a little bit of snow on top of the freezing rain it’s the most dangerous situation we can have for winter weather forecasting,” Garmon said.

HOW MUCH ICE?

Meteorologist at the National Weather Service were on conferences calls much of the day, fielding questions from emergency mangers,safety officials, and even the governor. The question that hangs in the air now though is just how much ice will this storm bring?

According to models, the heaviest iced areas will stretch from SE Mississippi into Mobile and Baldwin counties and the northern portion of the Florida panhandle.

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