A final blast of winter for 2010
WORTHINGTON -- Monday's icy white-out conditions along the I-90 corridor had one driver describing the area as a war zone, yet by Tuesday afternoon, the sun was out and shining and the air felt almost balmy.
But hold on to your hats, folks, because 2010 isn't going away without a fight, according to predictions from the National Weather Service (NWS).
While no watches or warning had been issued as of Tuesday afternoon, NWS Meteorologist Billy Williams of the Sioux Falls, S.D. office said they are currently expecting two rounds of precipitation in the next few days.
What is currently unknown is what form the precipitation will take.
"There will be freezing rain Wednesday night into Thursday," Williams said. "But temps will be not too far below freezing and creeping back up above freezing during the day Thursday."
Possibly, he added, temperatures will stay warm enough during the day so the precipitation will be plain old rain instead of the freezing rain that turns roads and sidewalks into treacherous paths.
If so, the cold overnight hours of Wednesday night would mean the significant icing would be Thursday morning.
"Friday is when we expect snow," Williams stated.
The current models are not showing huge amounts of snow, but the high winds could make for reduced visibility if that snow starts blowing around.
"The snow we have on the ground now isn't going to blow," Williams said. "With the relatively mild weather we've had, it isn't going anywhere. But if we get any new snow, even if it just a couple of inches, it is really going to blow around a lot by the time we get to Friday and Saturday."
With over 30 years of experience in the weather business, Williams said the upcoming holiday weekend is cause for concern.
"Blowing snow, cold and wind chills could develop by New Year's Eve or New Year's Day," he said. "What is coming could probably affect people's travel plans. That is one reason we are really trying to stay on top of it."
His advice is to keep watching weather reports and plan travel accordingly.
"Keep an eye on things, and remember, we still have a bunch of winter left," he said.
Some basic things to remember when driving on icy and snow roads include:
* Keep a survival kit in your vehicle that contains blankets, flashlight, first aid kit, sand or kitty litter, non-perishable foods and a method for melting snow for drinking water and a fully charged cell phone.
* Never use cruise control on slippery roads.
* Make sure someone knows where you are going and an approximate arrival time.
* Travel with a gas tank near full.
Most importantly, when NWS and law enforcement advises no travel unless absolutely necessary, they mean no travel unless absolutely necessary, so make sure basic household groceries and goods are stocked.