Covington County under hard freeze warning; second warning likely to come Friday

Published 11:32 am Tuesday, January 16, 2024

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The winter weather precipitation has come to an end across the area. Skies will clear today, but well inland locations will not rise above freezing. Even along and south of I-10, highs will only reach the mid-30s to potentially around 40 at the immediate coast.

For those areas that experienced accumulating winter weather early this morning, the question is how much moisture will remain on the roads. Mostly sunny skies, lowering humidity, and strong winds will help to dry out things today, but for areas that saw more significant accumulation (especially in far northern areas), it remains questionable if everything will dry out completely.

Therefore, there is the potential for black ice in those areas where residual moisture/ice remains. Otherwise, the forecast remains on track regarding the hard freeze tonight and very low wind chills. Here are the specifics of the threats:

Black ice impacts:

  • Black ice is likely tonight into tomorrow morning in any areas where moisture/residual ice does not clear by this afternoon. Many areas are expected to dry out sufficiently to prevent issues, however, the uncertainty is greater in areas that saw more substantial accumulation. Most locations will warm above freezing by 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday.

Cold and wind chill impacts:

  • Bitterly cold temperatures between 11 and 20 degrees are still in the forecast across locations along and north of I-10 tonight, with low 20s along beaches and barrier islands. Exposed pipes and unprotected outdoor plumbing can burst in these conditions.
  • Breezy northerly winds will bring dangerously cold wind chill readings as low as 0 to 10 degrees across the entire area tonight into early Wednesday morning.
  • The very cold air mass will stay in place through Wednesday night. Highs on Wednesday still only look to reach into the 40s, while lows on Wednesday night fall back down into the 20s, with 30s along the coast. Winds should be lighter Wednesday night, so wind chills will not be as cold.
  • Another hard freeze is likely Friday night/Saturday morning as a reinforcing shot of arctic air moves into the area. Lows in the teens and 20s are expected.