Donald Jones

Donald Jones, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s slake Charles office, discusses the potential freezing rain tonight and a more substantial freezing rain event Sunday night through Monday night.

A winter storm watch is in effect from Sunday night through Monday night due to the threat of freezing rain.

Donald Jones, a meterologist with the National Weather Service's Lake Charles office, said an ice storm is expected on Monday with temperatures below freezing during the day. 

"It's been a dreary, cold, miserable day and it looks like it's going to continue for the foreseeable future," Jones said. "We are looking at the possibility of freezing rain but the big event is Sunday night through pretty much the entire day Monday."

That's when the area could experience some ice accumulation that could lead to hazardous conditions.

He said hard freezes -- when temperatures are less than 27 degrees -- are expected Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. 

"We're talking single-digit in some cases across parts of central Louisiana with some wind chill values possible in the negatives," he said. 

Isolated power outages due to falling tree limbs and power lines are posible and black ice is expected to develop causing "significant driving hazards."

"Up to a one-tenth of an inch of ice is expected at and above the Interstate 10 coordior," he said. "There's about a 30 percent chance of freezing rain in Lake Charles and through Lafayette."

Afternoon highs Sunday are expected in the 30s.

"We're going to struggle to get above freezing Sunday and we're not going to get above freezing in most places on Monday. It's going to be very slow-going as far as any ice that develops to melt off."

After the ice storm, temperatures are expected to plummet into the teens by Tuesday morning.

"Tempertatures are expected to be cold, but we will finally see the sun on Tuesday."

Jones said the area isn't expected to achieve the same impact as the winter storm of 1997, but it still could be severe. He said a mixture of freezing rain and sleet is expected, but not snow.

He said residents need to remember to protect their pets, plants, pipes and people and know the safety rules for indoor heating -- including fireplaces and space heaters.

"If you use a generator, never bring it indoors," he said. "We saw this during the hurricanes. Gas-powered generators produce carbon monoxide. That's the exhaust. If you bring the generator inside, you will breathe that in and you won't wake up."

He said residents should also fill their gas tanks ahead of time, have cash available in case of a power outage and check on their friends and neighbors. 

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