UPDATED — Here’s a Timeline of What to Expect From This Week’s Winter Storm — Expect Power Outages, Road Closures
UPDATED 3:34 p.m. 1/27/14 -- Emergency preparedness officials are saying that Tuesday's and Wednesday's winter storm event at least has the potential to match the ice storm from 1997 -- an event that left many without power for several days. Officials are advising residents to make plans now as if they were going to be without power for 2-3 days.
Southwest Louisiana can expect up to a quarter-inch of ice accumulation and as much as 1-2 inches of snow from precipitation starting after midnight tonight. Those rains should last through Tuesday night and stop overnight for most areas by Wednesday morning. However, temperatures are expected to drop to as low as 20 degrees on Wednesday, assuring that any frozen precipitation that accumulates would be unlikely to melt until Wednesday afternoon at the earliest.
In addition, the DOTD advised that once I-210 starts to freeze over, it will be closed and the department will focus its efforts on I-10 and U.S. 171 as the main arteries of travel.
Combinations of the ice accumulation and winds around 20 mph could result in extended power outages, though they are more likely in the Acadiana area rather than in Southwest Louisiana. National Weather Service Meteorologist Andy Patrick, however, said rain bands can concentrate, leaving no way to know for sure just how heavy rains could be from area to area. Because of that, people are advised to prepare for power outages just as if they were preparing for a hurricane.
Sheriff Tony Mancuso urged employers to start making plans with their employees ASAP, and urged business than can close on Tuesday to do so. "We're asking employers to talk to their employees now, and to give them clear instructions."
TIMELINE (as of afternoon briefing at 2:30 p.m.)
Monday night -- Light rain begins after midnight. Freezing temperature aren't expected to happen in SWLA until around 3 a.m. Chance of rain 30%
Tuesday morning 6 a.m. to noon -- Precipitation chance increases to 60%, starts turning to sleet. Accumulation begins.
Tuesday noon to 6 p.m. -- The worst of the sleet, snow and freezing rain. Accumulation starts to max out at an inch locally. Conditions will deteriorate through this time.
Tuesday night 6 p.m. to midnight -- Precipitation slacks off (30% - 40% chance of rain along I-10), but as temperatures stay low, ice remains.
Wednesday morning -- Winds keep up, but lows may drop to 20 degrees, keeping any ice and snow where it is.
Wednesday afternoon -- May see some melting if the cloud cover lifts. Highs could reach the 40s.
Thursday -- Temperatures return to the 50s.