Feb 2, 2011 9:04 AM by Dave Baker
A winter storm may be forming to our west and could bring a mix of rain, freezing rain, and sleet to Acadiana starting Thursday evening. At this point, Acadiana appears to be divided right down the middle between liquid and frozen precip. A line drawn from Natchez, through Lafayette, to Cameron may be the likely area where the change occurs. Southeast of that line should be mostly rain. Areas northwest of the line may be freezing rain. In Texas, sleet and snow may be the issue.
Determining what kind of precip is hard enough, secondly, the amount of precip coming has to be addressed. Models are predicting a significant amount of moisture with the heaviest totals forecast to be in areas that will stay above 32 degrees. Where the freezing rain is expected, moderate amounts are forecast. If this situation pans out, parts of Acadiana could see accumulating ice on bridges, overpasses, trees, and power lines.
A similar system rolled across the area in January 1997. We had a decent glazing here in Acadiana which made trees sparkle, but the ice accumulation was devastating from Beaumont to Lake Charles. Trees snapped, powerlines dropped, and most of southwest Louisiana was in the dark for days. The 1997 ice storm caused millions of dollars in damage