While the forecast could still change, Sedalia-Pettis County Emergency Management Agency Director Dave Clippert is advising Pettis County citizens to prepare for ice this weekend.
Clippert said it is beginning to look like Pettis County is in the path of an ice storm predicted for this weekend in Missouri, and as prediction totals rise, Pettis County could see up to an inch of ice from Friday through Monday. Clippert noted that forecasters will begin narrowing down the exact path and precipitation totals closer to Thursday, but “confidence is pretty high we’ll have some ice.”
Late Friday night temperatures may drop into the high 20s and freezing rain could begin. Clippert said the heaviest of the freezing rain is expected from around 11 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Saturday, although freezing rain could continue until Sunday morning. Sunday temperatures are expected to climb back to the high 30s, possibly even the low 40s, causing much of the ice to melt, with temperatures in the mid- to high 40s Monday afternoon.
“It’s just a wait-and-see right now,” Clippert said. “Confidence is pretty high we’ll have some ice. I’m seeing things backing it off of up to one inch, but even a quarter inch is going to cause some problems. I’m not looking at this being a catastrophic event and hopefully it will stay this way, just an event.”
He cautioned that if Pettis County does receive an inch of ice, that will most likely cause power outages and driving will be almost impossible. Clippert said citizens shouldn’t panic, but should be prepared.
“I know people make fun of everyone who runs to the store and gets milk and bread, but if you’re home for two days and don’t have power, you need food you can eat that’s not perishable. Even if you’re stuck for two days and do have power, you’ll want the food you want,” Clippert said. “I recommend you go to the store, get food for a two- to three-day period. If there is a long-term power outage, we’re not looking at arctic temperatures, we’re still looking at 30s, so it’s not life-threatening if there’s no heat.”
He also advised citizens who use life-saving medications to get a refill to get them through the first few days of next week and those who use electronic oxygen tanks should have spare bottles if the power goes out, just in case.
Drivers should avoid travel this weekend if possible, and remain cautious of possible downed power lines even once the ice begins to melt.
“If we get a heavy amount of ice, you’re looking at a half inch or more, then there’s the possibility of power lines coming down, trees falling on power lines, and there could be power outages,” Clippert said. “Crews get out, they do a fantastic job — it’s already a dangerous job to be a lineman and then add in the weather — they get to as many people as quickly as they can. Just because your neighbor across street has power and you don’t, they may be on a different line than you; just be patient.”
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or on Twitter @NicoleRCooke.