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Winter Weather Advisories are hoisted across the entire viewing area this morning due to the threat of light freezing drizzle and freezing rain.
A tough forecast for today for sure. An upper level low will dive South and pass off to our West and into the Gulf of Mexico by Tuesday Morning. Ahead of this low moisture is advancing East. A very interesting setup today. The mountains are already above freezing with temps jumping into the mid and upper 30's. In the foothills though cold air damming is richly entrenched with temps in the low and mid 20's against the mountians and in the upper 20's away from the mountains. Foothill locations will be doing good to make it up to the freezing mark today. As moisture moves in late this morning into the afternoon temps area wide will cool due to evaporational cooling. As this moisture falls through the atmosphere into the low level dry air where dewpoints are in the teens, it will cool quickly. This raises the concern for a flash freeze scenario even though precipitation amounts will be very light. Anything that falls will quickly create very hazardous driving conditions. Even worse, as the freezing drizzle starts you could be driving along in a dry area and the next minute be driving into black ice. As the freezing mist/drizzle becomes more widespread this afternoon road conditions will become treacherous along and North of I-40. I almost upgraded travel impacts across Cleveland and Lincoln Counties this afternoon but held back from now and will revisit around lunchtime. Its important to know that any amount of ice makes driving impossible and impractical, even with 4 wheel drive.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO ALSO NOTE THAT THIS IS NOT AN EPIC ICE STORM. We are NOT anticipating any power issues due to ice with this event. The reason we are anticipating such a travel nightmare is many areas have not been above freezing since last Saturday Night December 30/31st. We received roadway temps from DOT and they are at 20 degrees. So it is also important to note your air temperatures may be above freezing but the roadways may still be below freezing. It takes the ground much longer to thaw after temps rise to only 33 or 34 degrees. Again, as drizzle becomes more widespread then expect temps to tumble.
Timing: Onset between 11am and 2pm