LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - As of 10:00 p.m. a mix of wintry precipitation continues to move into Southwest Louisiana primarily in the form of light freezing rain. This will continue to be the predominant precipitation type into the overnight, eventually changing over to a mix of freezing rain, sleet and snow Monday morning. Most of the ice accumulation will occur overnight, so driving conditions will only worsen over the hours ahead.
This freezing rain will accumulate on bridges and overpasses first and as temperatures continue to fall through the 20s overnight, some surface roads will begin to see icy patches before sunrise Monday. This freezing rain will continue into Monday morning before transitioning to some sleet and snow before tapering off altogether by afternoon.
Total ice accumulations for all of Southwest Louisiana could be up to ½” which is enough to bring down some tree limbs and power lines, so reports of sporadic power outages will begin to occur overnight into Monday morning with more widespread outages likely as ice accumulations approach the ½” range.
In addition, there is growing confidence of a significant snow event that could unfold beginning early Monday morning across Vernon, Beauregard and perhaps parts of Allen parish with a sharp gradient in areas that receive the highest snow totals due atmospheric conditions that will likely yield to significantly lower amounts farther south and east in Calcasieu, Jeff Davis and Cameron parishes. It is possible that some of the higher amounts of 3 to 6 inches could accumulate through Monday morning in Vernon and Beauregard parishes while other areas receive between 1 and 2 inches with lower totals for Cameron parish.
The snow would come after the freezing rain, so travel will already be treacherous by the time the freezing rain transitions to snow, so you will still need to avoid all travel later tonight and through Monday and even into Tuesday due to the lack of thawing until Wednesday. Temperatures will head into the deep freeze territory Monday night with lows between 11 and 15 and wind chill values between 0 and 5. There is a Wind Chill Advisory for our area Monday night due to the life-threatening nature of this cold that will quickly cause hypothermia and eventually death for those exposed to the elements Monday night. This includes your pets, so make sure they stay inside for the duration of this cold snap.
Tuesday will bring the return of sunshine but without the thawing we’ll need to resume travel as temperatures may not reach 32 and if so, not long enough for any significant thawing before dropping back into another deep freeze Tuesday night with lows back into the lower to middle 20s. Wednesday brings the first hope of a thaw, and it could be helped by not only temperatures in the 40 but increasing rain chances through the day that could ironically help things melt rather quickly.
There is a possibility that some of this rain on Wednesday could be mixed with freezing rain and or sleet, but temperatures should stay warm enough to keep travel difficulties to a minimal on Wednesday, although our northern parishes will need to monitor road conditions as temperatures could drop to below freezing Wednesday night with additional precipitation into early Thursday that too could be a mix of freezing and rain and sleet before things thaw out Thursday afternoon.
Friday will start off with morning temperatures in the lower to middle 20s so any leftover moisture on the ground will refreeze Thursday night. Again, monitor road conditions before heading out Friday morning. Temperatures take a big climb through the weekend with highs on Saturday and Sunday back into the 60s.
Did you get all that? Stay tuned for updates on these two weather systems headed our way and again avoid any travel Monday and Tuesday until the roads thaw out on Wednesday. Stay safe!
First Alert Meteorologist Ben Terry