Somewhere underneath this mess is a blacktop road. Maybe.
It's about time for some good news.
One, the precipitation is gone.
Two, the freezing rain at Cape Girardeau changed to snow last night, helping to keep total ice accumulations down and preventing widespread power outages.
Yesterday, the forecasters had been saying that the Winter Mix Surprise would give way to much colder air and pure snow. I kept waiting and waiting during the afternoon and evening, but the rain just kept coming and coming. After what seemed like an eternity, the snow finally arrived. And how! Here in northern Cape Girardeau County, we have almost 5 inches of powder.
That's on top of roughly 4 inches of compacted sleet as well as a half-inch or more of glaze on the trees. Of course, it's rather difficult to poke holes through this concrete-like ice, so any measurements are just a guess.
Here's something I've never seen before: the county road in front of my house does not have any tire tracks at all. As of 8 AM, not one single person has driven down the road.
The situation to the south of Cape Girardeau is much worse, with record-setting ice accumulations over a huge portion of Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and Illinois. Unlike last year's ice storm, which dumped the heaviest ice over a relatively small swath of Bollinger and Cape counties, this storm was a monster that slammed many, many counties. That's going to make efforts to restore power an absolute nightmare.
My usual source for winter storm reports, the National Weather Service office in Paducah, has been without power since yesterday afternoon. They usually have a nice roundup of accumulation totals, but they haven't been able to publish any bulletins except indirectly through other NWS offices.
Whatever the numbers turn out to be, let's just say that the Dartboard Forecast Model was right: Holy cow, we did get Winter Mix Surprise for everybody... and lots of it!
Welcome to a Winter Wonderland.