FIRST ALERT: Winter storm set to move into SWLA with impacts beginning Sunday night
LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Temperatures have remained very chilly all day today with clouds, but it’s been the winds that have been the issue, with wind chill values in the 20s and 30s all afternoon. The heaviest of coats will continue to be needed this evening as we see temperatures fall into the 30s with wind chills into the 20s this evening and overnight. The good news is that radar looks clear and we will likely not see any additional showers around this evening.
Heading into our Saturday, clouds will linger and models show a very small chance of a few light showers or patches of sleet that could move by, but with no accumulation or travel issues on Saturday as temperatures warm up into the 40s during the afternoon. Saturday evening will be continued cold but with little to no chance of any precipitation. You’ll continue to be okay with your travel plans Sunday morning and even into the afternoon before the trouble begins arriving Sunday night.
What will begin as light rain showers will start to transition over to freezing rain after sunset in Vernon, Beauregard and Allen parish and road conditions will begin to deteriorate before midnight. Areas farther south, including Lake Charles and locations along I-10 will begin to drop to below freezing shortly after midnight with a glaze of ice expected to begin as additional patches of freezing rain continue into the predawn hours of Monday morning, making road conditions treacherous by commute time Monday morning with temperatures at that point likely into the 20s areawide.
Monday will be a mess, with continued periods of freezing rain, transitioning to eventually some sleet and snow flurries becoming to an end by Monday afternoon and evening. Total ice accumulations between one quarter and one-half inch will not only make travel impossible but will also weigh on tree branches and power lines and will likely cause some sporadic power outages at the very least Monday.
What makes conditions worse is that we’re heading for some of the coldest air our area has seen in several years Monday night and Tuesday morning with lows in the teens and low 20s. This will be very problematic if our area sees any power outages at all on Monday for many of us that are totally reliant on electricity as a heat source. That could lead to some using non-conventional ways to stay warm and increase the hazard of house fires.
In addition, temperatures will drop low enough to burst unprotected water pipes, especially those who live in raised homes with exposed pipes underneath. You don’t need to turn the water on fully, but a small drip will keep those pipes from freezing for those unable to insulate pipes underneath your home. It’s also even possible that you could turn off your water completely at the meter and drain the lines to your home by opening all the valves to prevent them from rupturing in the freeze. For others, insulating your spigots properly should be enough if you have pipes going into insulated walls. Also, don’t forget about your sprinkler systems and swimming pool pumps as they will freeze as well.
Tuesday is also a First Alert Day as it will take some time for everything to thaw, and just how much we warm up on Tuesday makes that a challenge to predict as anything that thaws on Tuesday would be slow to occur and another glazing of whatever is left is likely again Tuesday night.
More rain returns Wednesday, and some models even show this being another possible mix of rain and a wintry mix, but details on that part of the forecast are still a bit unclear and we should have a better handle on the details of our second system over the coming days, so stay tuned on that!
First Alert Meteorologist Ben Terry
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