Mixture of sleet and freezing rain expected in Jefferson County during morning hours

Jefferson County residents can expect a mixture of sleet and freezing rain after 6 a.m, today, according to meteorologist Marty Trexler of the National Weather Service’s North Little Rock office.

Trexler said the county is among 10 in the state’s southeastern sector that are included in a winter weather advisory that the NWS issued Monday afternoon. Along with Jefferson, other counties in the advisory area were Arkansas, Bradley, Calhoun, Cleveland, Desha, Drew, Lincoln, Monroe and Ouachita. The advisory was to be in effect from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“Primary impacts will likely be to tree branches and power lines,” the advisory stated. “As much as a tenth of an inch is forecast, which could possibly down some trees or power lines easier than normal thanks to saturated grounds” because of weekend rains. Fortunately, however, soil temperatures have been “quite high,” so “glazing” of roadways seems less likely. Nevertheless, some bridges and elevated road surfaces could ice over, creating traffic hazards.

“Pine Bluff’s far enough north that I think it could wind up having a morning similar to Monday,” Trexler said. “We were forecasting Monday’s overnight lows to be in the mid to upper 20s, so it’s going to be below freezing Tuesday morning. Temperatures should warm up to 34 or 35 degrees by the afternoon and the precipitation is expected to change completely to rain, but keep an eye on conditions — even then it’ll be too close to freezing.”

Trexler figures the sleet and freezing rain won’t strike the Pine Bluff area until a few hours after 6 a.m.

A winter weather advisory means that periods of snow, sleet or freezing rain will cause travel difficulties. Persons within the advisory zone should be prepared for slippery roads and limited visibilities.

“Use caution while driving,” Trexler urged.

The precipitation is coming out of the south and southwest from Louisiana and Texas.

Elsewhere in Southeast Arkansas, Ashley and Chicot counties were placed under an ice storm warning Monday afternoon. The warning was effective until 6 p.m. tonight.

An ice storm warning means severe winter weather conditions are expected or occurring. Significant amounts of ice accumulations were expected to make travel dangerous or even impossible. Ice accumulations and winds were forecast to lead to snapped power lines and falling tree branches. Freezing rain began Monday and was forecast to taper to freezing drizzle overnight before developing again between 3 and 7 a.m. today and continuing through the day. The warning area stretches from Louisiana into Arkansas and Mississippi.

Ice accumulation was expected to be around a quarter of an inch on Monday. Up to a half an inch more is possible today.