Ice Storm Warnings possible for more of Texas this winter after changes at National Weather Service

Ice problems
A skid-steer loader plows snow and ice from a road in Austin, Texas, U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. The crisis that has knocked out power for days to millions of homes and businesses in Texas and across the central U.S. is getting worse, with blackouts expected to last until at least Thursday.

SAN ANTONIO – The next winter storm that impacts south-central Texas with the threat of ice could be warned with products known as Ice Storm Warnings thanks to changes in operations at the National Weather Service office in San Antonio.

NWS meteorologists said conversations were started after a winter storm in early 2023 led to widespread coatings of ice.

Ice Storm Warnings aren’t new, but their usage is up to the meteorologist in charge at local NWS offices.


Previously, impacts have been included in products such as Winter Storm Warnings, which have alerted the public and media about hazardous winter weather.

Due to the nature of many of the wintertime events, meteorologists at the San Antonio NWS said they don’t expect to use the Ice Storm Warning product more frequently than perhaps once a decade.

The criteria for the warning will likely vary from areas that tend to use the alert more often.


Ice Storm Warning example map
A map showing examples of the various winter weather alerts that the National Weather Service can issue.

An Ice Storm Warning will typically be issued when ice accretions of more than a quarter-inch are anticipated. These small accumulations can cause major travel problems with slippery conditions on untreated roadways.

Tom Niziol, FOX Weather’s winter storm specialist, said it is a fine line NWS meteorologists have to walk between leading to undue panic and simply raising awareness about an upcoming weather event.

"In my 32 years with the NWS, it was probably the biggest challenge I faced," Niziol stated.

Original article source: Ice Storm Warnings possible for more of Texas this winter after changes at National Weather Service