Joel at WTVA tells us we should expect 0-2″ or 2-3″. The Weather Channel needs to stop naming winter squalls. Wunderground dot com, linking to TWC, doesn’t quite know where Jackson, Mississippi is located. So, as an autonomous agent unwilling to take the word of the experts at full face value (or maybe, having seen their forecast faces many time, that’s how I do take them?), I need to do some independent research.
There’s general agreement– even from me– that it’s going to be below freezing over night and into the morning, and that there will probably (I’m not 100% convinced) be precipitation of some sort over night. Here are the questions, the answers to which will inform my preparations today. That would be today where the high is forecast to be anywhere from 59-61 degrees F.
First, skipping ahead to tomorrow morning, what time does the sun come up? Second, what is the sky forecast to look like at that time? In other words, what can we expect to find on the roads as we venture out?
Actual sunrise tomorrow is 6:57. Civil sunrise– that time when the sun is not over the horizon, but there’s enough light in the sky to see as if it were– is 6:30. This means that there will be enough light such that black ice will not be a problem after 6:30 or so– if you’re paying attention.
As I snapped this shot (earlier today), all of the models were forecasting that the precipitation would be over before 3am, and the skies would be at least partly cloudy at 6am. Note that NEMS forecasts the wind to be much calmer at that time. Also, none of the models have the temperature dropping below freezing until about 3am. If it pans out, that’s good news– especially with a high today of 59 degrees or so. But! It may not get above freezing until late morning, Tuesday, and will probably be below freezing come sundown, even though it will be sunny.
At 1pm, I can tell you that the reality is that the NEMS model more correctly forecast wind direction and speed. I hope that holds true over night as well. I’d much rather see the direction change earlier– I think that’s what in play when it comes to tomorrow’s earlier warmer temperatures in that model. That would be nice.
I’m trying to convince myself, looking at the current map at Windy, is that there’s a chance it won’t be that bad. But I could be convinced otherwise. The high pressure region that’s currently to our southeast is moving to the northeast pretty fast. And I think that’s a key determinate in predicting how far south the precipitation extend. We could get next to none.
So what does all this mean? First, the pipes are not going to freeze tonight. But the regulators might. Second, there’s a slight chance of freezing pipes over night tomorrow, but most likely not– just not cold enough long enough. And the Sun is our Friend.
All of this, looked at earlier today and now, informs my prepping for The Storm. Not expecting it to be all that bad, but will prepare for it anyway because my fellow man can be stupid.
Let us assume the best (some rain, below freezing). Bubba gets up tomorrow about 5am, looks outside and sees there is no snow. He’s disappointed that he has to go to work but such is life. Bubba thus begins his normal morning routine. Let the dogs out, makes coffee, throws on yesterday’s t-shirt. Waits. Pours cup. Slaps his hand over t-shirt pocket. Oh sh*t. Outa cigs. Well, it’s only 5:30, still an hour before he has to leave for work, plenty of time to run down to the store. Bubba gets in his pickup with tires as smooth as a baby’s behind, goes slowly down the gravel road, turns onto the main road, and… one hundred people are calling the electric company emergency number. Bubba has done spun on some black ice at the bottom of a hill and hit a pole with a transformer.
Thanks a lot, Bubba. You know, you coulda prepared and picked up a pack on your way home today. But no. Why would you prepare?