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Ice storm causes water and travel issues across the southern US

Several U.S. states could experience an ice storm large enough to make driving on untreated surfaces "extremely dangerous."
Ice storm causes water and travel issues across the southern US
Posted at 8:41 AM, Jan 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-22 22:33:04-05

A winter storm is cutting across the Mississippi River Valley, with rain falling on frozen ground in several states. 

The National Weather Service issued ice storm warnings for parts of Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri. The National Weather Service warned that some areas could get up to two-fifths of an inch of ice accumulation by Monday evening. 

The storm is expected to continue moving northeast. A large swath of the Midwest, including most of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan, is under a winter weather advisory. Those states are also expecting small amounts of ice accumulation late Monday and early Tuesday. 

Water pipe infrastructure damaged by the cold and ice have lead to days of boil water advisories in Memphis, Tennessee.

Some 600,000 city water customers had to boil water for drinking and food preparation because broken mains and low water pressure throughout the system had increased the risk of contamination.

19 counties in Tennessee, and several cities in Arkansas, reported water troubles on Monday.

Memphis Light, Gas and Water officials said most customers would have water service back by Tuesday, but boil advisories would stay in place through Thursday.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation offered advice for its residents ahead of the storm. By Monday afternoon, officials reported improving conditions in Oklahoma as temperatures increased above freezing, but slick spots remained.

"Freezing rain may not sound as dangerous as a foot of snow, but we are here to tell you it is! Freezing rain can create a slippery layer of ice on the road which can be especially dangerous when speeding and braking. Buckle up, slow down and leave plenty of room," the department said. 

Temperatures in the Midwest have been at their coldest levels of the season in the last week. Although temperatures are rising in the Midwest to near the freezing point, surface temperatures remain cool. 

SEE MORE: Brutally cold weather reaches deep into lower US

When ice accumulations exceed a tenth of an inch, the National Weather Service says untreated paved surfaces will likely be glazed with ice and scattered power outages are possible. When ice exceeds a quarter of an inch, widespread power outages and downed trees are expected. The National Weather Service says it is extremely dangerous to walk or drive on untreated paved surfaces.

With arctic air expected to fade in the coming days, mild conditions will take over in the Midwest, melting off snow and ice for many. Some areas encountering freezing rain on Monday and Tuesday will reach the 50s by Thursday. 


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