By Shirette Stockdall
Multiple weather services (including The Weather Channel, AccuWeather, and the National Weather Service) are reporting a widespread ice storm to hit the U.S. Midwest this weekend. Winter storm watches have been placed in several counties ranging from Texas to Ohio. This storm is expected to bring freezing rain/sleet starting Friday, January 13th and continue throughout the region until Tuesday, January 17th.
The Weather Channel reports that the storm will slowly move north throughout the weekend. Radar shows that the storm will hit Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana with the most ice. By Monday, the freezing rain/sleet will move north, hitting Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan until Tuesday.
Despite the storm moving across the Midwest, meteorologists warn that ice accumulation could get up to half an inch. This is more than enough to weigh down trees and damage power lines, meaning that hundreds of thousands could be without power during the weekend, according to The Weather Channel. Ice will also accumulate on the roads, leading to dangerous driving conditions.
The National Weather Service is warning drivers to stay off the roads, but also provided driver safety tips on Twitter for those who do have to brave the storms.
Additionally, multiple weather services are advising residents in these regions to stock up on preparation items for the storm. These items include:
Battery powered radio
First Aid Kit
Extra fuel for your generator
A cooler with ice to store cold foods
Extra blankets/warm clothes
Other actions can be taken to prepare for the storm. Make sure to charge all electronics before the power could possibly go out. If you have a generator, run it before the storm hits, make sure it has plenty of fuel or is full charged, and train all family members to be able to operate it. Teach family members basic first aid. Unplug sensitive appliances before the storm hits. If your house will be without heat for a couple days, make sure to drain all of your water pipes to avoid bursts. And if you do lose power, keep your refrigerator closed. Frozen food will keep for approximately 48 hours in the fridge, even without power.
Stay safe and stay warm!