Western New York prepares for ice storm

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Western New York is preparing for what some forecasters are saying to be a major ice storm.

The NOAA has issued several warnings for Western New York which begin at 7:00 p.m. [EST] on Saturday and continue into Monday January 15, 2007.

A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for tonight and Sunday Morning for the "potential of heavy amounts" of ice, sleet and snow and has the potential to become "dangerous." The advisory is set to expire at 8:00 a.m. [EST] on Sunday morning.

"Light freezing rain and freezing drizzle is expected to begin after midnight tonight and continue into Sunday morning. Precipitation amounts are expected to be very light; however, it does not take much freezing rain to make untreated surfaces slippery," said the advisory on the NOAA's website.

"It [the freezing rain] is not expected to be heavy enough to cause tree or power problems," added the statement.

On Sunday night and Monday, "a wintery mix of precipitation with the potential for heavy amounts is expected Sunday night into Monday. This event has the potential to be much more significant than the precipitation tonight and Sunday morning. Heavy accumulations of snow, sleet or freezing rain are possible, which could lead to significant travel problems and utility outages caused by downed powerlines and poles," said a statement on the NOAA's website.

Although warnings and watches are posted, the NOAA says that the track of the storm is still "uncertain."

"There is still a good deal of uncertainty" as to the track of the storm, "but this storm has the potential to become dangerous," added the statement.

The same storm has caused more than 125,000 people to lose power near St. Louis, Missouri and power officials say that they are "still losing people," said Springfield’s City Utilities spokesman, Ern DeCamp.

At least 6 people have been killed due to the storm around the Midwest and has caused schools and flights from and to Lambert-St. Louis International Airport in Missouri and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in Texas to be cancelled. 25,000 people in Oklahoma are still without power.

An emergency proclamation has been issued by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in California after below freezing temperatures caused "conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property."