Jesse Ferrell

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Epic Ice Storm Possible; Millions Could Lose Power

December 4, 2013; 12:56 PM ET

UPDATE: I was quoted in this Reuters story, via the story via this blog story.

UPDATE 11 AM 12/5/2013: The SPI, which I mentioned below, is now within forecast range and is predicting power outages to last "5-10 days" in some areas! With ice now possible in the mid-Atlantic, this could end up exceeding the 2009 storm's 1.4 million power outages.

UPDATE 10 PM: DrudgeAlanche! Thanks for all my readers and commenters (except the crazy ones!) from Please follow my Facebook WeatherMatrix page or my Accu_Jesse Twitter account for additional information (examples below), and stay tuned to this news story and on Facebook for further official updates on the storm.

UPDATE 2 PM: Here's a map comparing the forecast for this week's storm versus the one in January 2009, which killed 23 people and knocked out power to 1,400,000 customers:

ORIGINAL POST: The forecasts are coming into agreement on a major ice storm over the next week, one that could last for several days, causing "regional" power outages, according to our latest news story (hi-res map). Indeed, some of the ice amounts that the forecasts are printing out are extreme.

The map above shows the estimated ice (sleet + freezing rain accumulation) from our internal "AccuModel" (a model blend tweaked by our meteorologists). Clearly, it's off the chart. Part of this is because the ice will simply last for such a long time... the GFS model has been forecasting that the ice (red & orange) could last nearly two days.

This would be terrible for power outages; some storms since I've been blogging including:

- January 2009 ice storm (1.4 million lost power)

- December 2007 ice storm (1.2 million)

- Dec. 12, 2008, ice storm (1 million)

- Dec. 15, 2005, ice storm: (700,000)

- Others (including 1998, at 3-4 million).

Yesterday, the 4KM NMM model printed out 5 inches of sleet! (See my 2007 blog "Incredible Sleet Stories" and last year's "8 Inches of Freezing Rain?" for records of those weather phenomena).

The Sperry-Piltz Ice Accumulation Index (SPIA), a newly developed ice storm rating system, will be interesting to watch during this event, although forecasts only go out 36 hours.

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Jesse Ferrell
Jesse Ferrell's WeatherMatrix blog covers extreme weather worldwide with a concentration on weather photos and Social Media.