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Ice storm continues to slam South

Half inch or more accumulation possible in some areas

(Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

An ice storm continues to spread across several Southern states Thursday, making roads treacherous for truckers.

The worst conditions will hit from Arkansas to western Tennessee, northwestern Mississippi and much of Kentucky. Automobile accidents in these areas since Wednesday evening have led to occasional road closures. Additional closures are likely at times.

Moisture feeding off the Gulf of Mexico is interacting with cold air drifting into the South. This process will linger through the day, gradually fading Thursday afternoon and evening as the remnants move into the mid-Atlantic.

Tuesday evening, the National Weather Service issued ice storm warnings for the areas previously mentioned. These warnings will remain in place Thursday. This includes Little Rock and Pine Bluff, Arkansas; Memphis, Jackson and Clarksville, Tennessee; Clarksdale, Mississippi; Poplar Bluff and Skieston, Missouri; as well as Paducah, Hopkinsville, Bowling Green, Lexington and London, Kentucky. These areas will see a quarter to a half inch of ice buildup, with isolated spots seeing three-quarters of an inch.

Places that could be hit with additional freezing drizzle and light icing include Dallas-Fort Worth; eastern Oklahoma; northwestern Arkansas; southern Missouri; southern Illinois; Evansville, Indiana; and Louisville, Kentucky.

Drivers will probably have the most issues on major interstates such as I-35, I-40, I-44, I-55, I-64, I-65 and I-70.

Besides surface transportation disruptions, air cargo delays are likely with the potential of flight cancellations and/or airport closings. Loading and unloading of freight at intermodal ramps may also be interrupted due to the harsh conditions. Movement of commodities (agriculture and energy) could be disrupted as well, and widespread power outages are possible in areas receiving the most ice accumulation.

Other winter storms

Heavy snowfall will hit the Pacific Northwest through the weekend. High elevations of the Cascades will see 24 inches or more, along with gusty winds and occasional whiteout conditions. Snow levels will drop by Saturday, with several inches piling up along I-5 from Seattle to Portland, Oregon.

This storm could then dump heavy snowfall Sunday and Monday from Kansas to southeastern Texas, in addition to the mid- and lower Mississippi valleys. This could include cities not used to accumulating snow, such as Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston. Look for updates on the FreightWaves website and social media accounts.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

Nick Austin

Nick is a meteorologist with 20 years of forecasting and broadcasting experience. He was nominated for a Midsouth Emmy for his coverage during a 2008 western Tennessee tornado outbreak. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from the Georgia Tech. Nick is a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. As a member of the weather team at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, Nick was nominated for a Mid-South Emmy for live coverage of a major tornado outbreak in February 2008. As part of the weather team at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nick shared the Chattanooga Times-Free Press Best of the Best award for “Best Weather Team” eight consecutive years.