DOTD weather sign

An electronic sign posted by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development warns motorists of impending freezing temperatures expected in the area through Tuesday.

Editor’s Note: The American Press will be delivered in the early afternoon hours Monday to better protect our carriers on Southwest Louisiana’s roadways during this weather event.

Southwest Louisiana is facing an ice storm early this morning that was expected to start Sunday night and bring up to a quarter inch of ice to the area.

Snow is possible toward the end of this period.

“We’re talking about power outages, tree limbs falling down from the weight of the ice, of course the roads being too dangerous to travel on at that time,” explained Roger Erickson, the warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lake Charles.

Beyond the ice storm, the area will stay at below-freezing temperatures into today and the early part of the week.

With luck, Erickson said, the area will be back above freezing by Tuesday.

“We’re expected to get back up above 35, maybe, on Tuesday,” Erickson said.

Tonight’s winds paired with previous temperatures already expected to be in the teens from Sunday’s storm will result in single-digit temperatures.

Residents in Southwest Louisiana are advised to treat their level of preparedness similar to hurricane preparation in terms of food, water and supplies before the storm hits.

Once the roads are covered in ice, they are not safe for travel until temperatures rise and ice melts.

In the event of a power outage, people should have ways to stay warm such as fireplaces or layers of warm clothes.

“The main thing here is that ice storms can be really tricky to forecast in terms of how bad it’s going to get,” Erickson said. “The difference with the ice storm is things can change on the fly as we’re going through the event. Stay tuned to weather updates as we go through the event.”

Winter weather conditions are affecting large portions of the U.S., but it is rare for them to extend so far south, Marc Chenard, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center, said

He said significant ice and up to 12 inches of snow were expected across parts of the southern Plains on Sunday and into today —with the most snowfall expected near the Oklahoma-Texas border.

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