I was hoping the temperature would shoot above freezing today, putting the skids on our chance of freezing rain this evening.
No such luck. Things looked promising when the mercury quickly rose this morning, reaching 32°F around 11 AM at the Cape airport. However, the temperature has since fallen to 31°F while the ground remains well frozen.
The weather service is already relaying reports of very light freezing rain in the Ozarks and Bootheel, enough to cause travel problems:
1:50 PM Ellsinore, MO -- SPOTTER REPORTS DOZENS OF CARS OFF THE ROAD BETWEEN ELLSINORE AND POPLAR BLUFF.
1:51 PM Canalou, MO -- ROLL OVER ACCIDENTS DUE TO ICE ON ROADS ALONG HIGHWAY H NEAR THE COMMUNITY.
1:53 PM Sikeston, MO -- ROADS HAVE FINE COATING OF ICE ALONG ROADWAYS IN AND AROUND THE COMMUNITY.
The Missouri road conditions map (if you can ever get it to load) shows that US 60 and US 67 are covered around Poplar Bluff.
Yesterday, the weather service seemed confident that the temperature would rise above freezing overnight, turning the freezing rain into liquid rain around midnight at Cape. Now, they've shifted everything south about one county, with Cape remaining (just barely) on the freezing side of the line through the night. We probably won't get above freezing until mid-morning tomorrow.
In a nutshell, that's bad. Here is the latest Hazardous Weather Outlook:
FREEZING RAIN AND SLEET WILL DEVELOP LATE THIS AFTERNOON. THE PRECIPITATION WILL BE MAINLY IN THE FORM OF FREEZING RAIN THIS EVENING. A CHANGEOVER TO PLAIN RAIN IS EXPECTED ALONG AND SOUTH OF A POPLAR BLUFF MISSOURI TO PADUCAH AND MADISONVILLE KENTUCKY LINE TONIGHT. THE PRECIPITATION WILL END THURSDAY MORNING. ICE ACCUMULATIONS WILL BE MAINLY AROUND ONE TENTH OF AN INCH...EXCEPT AROUND TWO TENTHS OF AN INCH IN SOUTHWEST INDIANA AND ADJACENT AREAS.
It's still possible that we could dodge the bullet from Winter Storm "Beatles" -- the temperature would only need to rise a couple degrees to change the precip from freezing to liquid rain. The computer models, which operate on continental or global scales, really don't care whether the freezing line is 10 miles south of Cape or 10 miles north. But it makes a big difference in the real world.
At any rate, the storm is relatively weak, so it's unlikely that we'll see any more than a tenth of an inch of ice accumulation. It'll be just enough to cause traffic problems, but not enough to cause power outages or lead to angry mobs ransacking the bakery and dairy aisles.