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Ice Storm Threatens Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh

January 28, 2013; 5:20 AM

A storm organizing in the central Plains will bring a dangerous mix of ice, sleet and snow to the Midwest into Sunday night.

As AccuWeather.com Staff Writer Grace Muller alluded to on Thursday, a broad area of freezing rain and sleet is in store, lasting from a couple of hours in some locations to an entire day in others.

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AccuWeather.com Winter Weather Center

Major cities that have the potential for significant icing which can lead to travel problems include Des Moines, Iowa; Madison, Wis.; Chicago, Ill.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Detroit, Mich.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; and London, Ontario.

Our AccuWeather.com Live Blog will have continuous updates through Sunday night and Monday on the developing ice storm.

A serious ice storm is possible from northern Iowa through southeast Minnesota and southern Wisconsin into tonight with this setup. There is the potential for 0.25-0.50 of an inch of buildup of freezing rain on exposed surfaces in some locations. That serious threat could extend into northern Illinois and parts of lower Michigan by tonight.

According to Meteorologist Andy Mussoline, "Even in areas where the air temperature manages to get a bit above the 32-degree mark, the ground is very cold and will cause some of that rain to freeze on contact."

Freezing rain is much more dangerous than sleet.

According to Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams, "In many cases, the road or sidewalk appears wet, but in fact it can be covered with a thin sheet of ice, called clear ice or black ice."

"For travel and power considerations, sleet would be a better outcome than freezing rain," Abrams added.

Pockets of sleet, freezing rain and freezing drizzle moved as far east Monday morning as Buffalo, N.Y. and Washington, D.C. with New York City, Philadelphia, Pa., and Roanoke, Va to follow later in the morning. In part of the Northeast, the period of ice can begin as a bit of snow.

The same problems may then advance across portions of upstate New York and New England later in the day Monday into Monday night.

The ice storm will precede a brief warmup for a several-day period next week, before arctic air makes a comeback from the northern Plains into the Midwest and Northeast during early February.

AccuWeather.com will continue to update the ice storm situation through Monday.

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