Monday, January 6, 2014

Disappointing Snow Totals

Proof that forecasting is not an exact science was prevalent in the most recent storm to hit the area.  Forecasters were predicting up to 12 inches of snow for the area.  Unfortunately, the storm shifted further north and Franklin County received mostly rain.  The rain was heavy too with 1.24" (32mm) falling on Sunday, January 5.  The heaviest rain fell at a rate of 0.53" (13mm) per hour. If that had been snow it would have been 12" (30cm) of snow.  So the forecast was right on the quantity of precipitation, just the wrong type.   Although locally, about 2 inches (5cm) of snow fell in the early evening once temperatures dropped below freezing. Points just to our northwest received up to 15" (38cm) of snow as the snow fell throughout the day.  If you look at the map above, you can see where the heaviest of the snow fell.
The second part of the storm was the wind and cold.  An arctic front moved across the state in the late afternoon and early evening hours Sunday sending temperatures on a nose dive.  The high Sunday was 37F (2C) at 1:39am.  The temperature fell and remained steady at 34F (1C) through the daylight hours on Sunday and then began a steady nosedive in the early evening.  By 11:59pm on Sunday, the temperature had dropped 15F (-9C).  The wind picked up too causing major blowing and drifting of snow in the areas that received the heavy snow earlier in the day.  Interstate 65 was shutdown north of Lafayette due to the blowing snow as well as US31 in the Kokomo area.  Reports of 4 foot (1.2 meter) snow drifts were reported on the new US31 bypass around Kokomo.  Temperatures continued to fall throughout Monday to about -11F (-24C) locally and remained steady throughout the day.  With wind gusts up to 40mph (64kph) windchill values were as cold as -50F (-45C).  Thousands of schools and businesses across the state closed due to the extreme weather.  Temperatures will begin to warm gradually through the week and by Friday, January 10, temperatures could be near 50F (10C).  What a difference a few days makes in Indiana.

...PRELIMINARY SNOW TOTALS...

THE FOLLOWING ARE PRELIMINARY SNOW TOTALS...RANKED FROM HIGHEST TO
LOWEST...RECEIVED AT NWS INDIANAPOLIS THROUGH 645 AM. RANKINGS ARE
NOT NECESSARILY THE FINAL AMOUNT FOR EACH LOCATION.


LOCATION                      SNOWFALL    COMMENTS
                               IN/S/

TIPTON IN                      15.0       1129 PM   1/05
LEBANON IN                     14.0       1138 PM   1/05
WESTFIELD IN                   13.0        649 PM   1/05
FRANKFORT IN                   12.0       1000 PM   1/05
3 NE MANILLA IN                12.0        800 PM   1/05
WHITESTOWN IN                  12.0        516 PM   1/05
2 NE CARMEL IN                 12.0       1000 PM   1/05
ANDERSON IN                    12.0        820 PM   1/05
4 N FRANKFORT IN               12.0        630 PM   1/05
MUNCIE IN                      12.0        854 PM   1/05
2 S CASTLETON IN               11.9       1240 AM   1/06
2 SE BROWNSBURG IN             11.8        947 PM   1/05
2 NE GREENCASTLE IN            11.6        839 PM   1/05
NOBLESVILLE IN                 11.5        904 PM   1/05
6 W LEBANON IN                 11.5        336 PM   1/05
INDIANAPOLIS INT`L AIRPORT IN  11.1        900 PM   1/05
ALEXANDRIA IN                  11.0        600 PM   1/05
GREENWOOD IN                   11.0        709 PM   1/05
BAINBRIDGE IN                  11.0        242 PM   1/05
THORNTOWN IN                   11.0        520 PM   1/05
2 E JAMESTOWN IN               11.0        146 PM   1/05
CRAWFORDSVILLE IN              11.0        730 PM   1/05
2 SW MICHIGANTOWN IN           10.8        420 PM   1/05
AVON IN                        10.5        614 PM   1/05
KOKOMO IN                      10.5        500 PM   1/05
1 N FISHERS IN                 10.1       1131 PM   1/05
3 N BLOOMINGDALE IN            10.0        815 PM   1/05
WEST LAFAYETTE IN              10.0        633 PM   1/05
4 NNE TERRE HAUTE IN           10.0       1220 AM   1/06
1 N TERRE HAUTE IN             10.0        517 PM   1/05
DANVILLE IN                    10.0        239 PM   1/05
CLOVERDALE IN                  10.0        449 PM   1/05
2 SSE BROWNSBURG IN             9.8        337 PM   1/05
LAWRENCE IN                     9.8        646 PM   1/05
CICERO IN                       9.5        241 PM   1/05
INDIANAPOLIS IN                 9.5        739 PM   1/05
GOSPORT IN                      9.5        609 PM   1/05
TERRE HAUTE IN                  9.3        509 PM   1/05
3 SSW ATTICA IN                 9.0        540 PM   1/05
MARTINSVILLE IN                 9.0        630 PM   1/05
4 ESE BEECH GROVE IN            8.8        512 PM   1/05
EAGLE CREEK RESERVOIR IN        8.5        505 PM   1/05
BROOKLYN IN                     8.2        600 PM   1/05
MCCORDSVILLE IN                 8.2        555 PM   1/05
ELLETTSVILLE IN                 8.0        905 PM   1/05
3 NNW YORKTOWN IN               8.0        611 PM   1/05
YORKTOWN IN                     8.0        626 PM   1/05
2 WSW WAVERLY IN                7.8        813 PM   1/05
FISHERS IN                      7.8        251 PM   1/05
BEECH GROVE IN                  7.5        616 PM   1/05
PENDLETON IN                    7.5        607 PM   1/05
3 N BARGERSVILLE IN             6.5        500 PM   1/05
4 NE WAVERLY IN                 6.0        432 PM   1/05
10 NW INDIANAPOLIS IN           6.0        140 PM   1/05
BALL STATE UNIVERSITY IN        6.0        339 PM   1/05
1 SSE BROWNSBURG IN             5.5       1210 PM   1/05
4 SSE GREENCASTLE IN            5.5        145 PM   1/05
1 NW PLAINFIELD IN              5.0        244 PM   1/05
3 NW FISHERS IN                 5.0        153 PM   1/05
3 NW ZIONSVILLE IN              5.0       1244 PM   1/05
8 W FRANKFORT IN                4.0       1207 PM   1/05
1 SE BLOOMINGTON IN             3.5        706 AM   1/06
3 N WEST LAFAYETTE IN           3.3       1206 PM   1/05
7 N SPENCER IN                  3.3       1200 PM   1/05
LAFAYETTE IN                    2.5       1015 AM   1/05
3 S BLOOMFIELD IN               2.0       1100 PM   1/05
BRAZIL IN                       1.3        852 AM   1/05
SEYMOUR IN                      1.2        900 PM   1/05
SHELBYVILLE IN                  1.0        645 PM   1/05
BLOOMINGTON IN                  0.9       1038 AM   1/05
FRANKLIN IN                     0.5        903 AM   1/05
MOORESVILLE IN                  0.5        835 AM   1/05

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Nixle

It's the classic "Boy who cried wolf" scenario here.  Nixle is a great tool that public agencies can use to get information to the community in a timely manner at no cost to the recipient using SMS text messaging.  The problem however, is that some public agencies, such as the Franklin County, Indiana Sheriff's Department (FCSD), use it way too much.  Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.  I'm tired of getting text messages telling me that some back country road has been closed to replace a culvert, or that there's been a vehicle accident somewhere in the county, or that county office workers should report to work 2-hours late, or even that there are black people in the neighborhood.  Yes, a message was sent out telling us black people were spotted in a part of the county that had experienced home robberies.  
Now I know I can unsubscribe from the messages, but sometimes FCSD sends out useful information such as when the county is placed under a snow emergency or when a severe weather event like a tornado is imminent.  These are emergency situations that require immediate dissemination of information.  A road closing to replace a culvert is not an emergency that everyone needs to know about.  I wish the FCSD would reserve Nixle for situations where the information they are sending could save a life rather than our time.  What's next, sending out a message telling us it's going to be cold this weekend?  Oh wait, they sent that one out this afternoon.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014 Begins

Starting off the new year of 2014 with a nice snowstorm.  Five inches of very fluffy snow fell with a water equivalent of 0.36".  Winds were strong at times in the afternoon with a peak gust of 27mph in the late afternoon which caused some drifting of the snow, but nothing out of the ordinary.  Roads were snow covered all day and temperatures dropped throughout the afternoon.  The high of 31.2F occurred at 12:01am while the current tempearture at 10:24pm of 9.5F is the low for the day.  I'm sure that will drop lower before 12am.

Friday, December 28, 2012

More Snow

It seems we are beginning to make up for the lack of snow last winter.  A small system is moving up the Ohio river valley from Texas bringing some light snow to the area.  Predictions are for 3-5 inches (7-12 cm) of snow between 10pm tonight and 6am Saturday morning.  Already, we've had more snow this winter than in all of last winter.  A typical winter snow total for this area is about 24-30 inches (60-75 cm) I believe.  We've had winters though where that number is doubled.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Southern Side of Storm

The storm that brought heavy snow and wind to the Ohio Valley also brought strong storms and tornadoes to the deep south.  Here is a link to a video showing a tornado striking a Walgreens Drug Store on Christmas night 2012 in Mobile, Alabama.

Blizzard? Not a Blizzard

Snow cornice formed by wind.
The "Blizzard of 2012" is what I've heard two TV news stations in Indianapolis call the most recent snowstorm that hit early this morning.  There was some wind and there was a good amount of snow, but calling it a blizzard seemed excessive for what actually occurred.  Originally, the blizzard warning issued by the National Weather Service was set to expire at 7pm December 26.  However, the warning was replaced with a Winter Weather Advisory by mid afternoon when conditions no longer met blizzard criteria (if they ever did).  A blizzard is defined as a storm in which the following persist for at least three hours; winds frequently gusting to or sustained at 35mph (56kph) and blowing snow reducing visibility to 1/4 mile (400m) or less.

 Moving on, with the recent storm I estimate that 9" (23cm) of snow fell between 12am and 3pm.  The liquid precipitation  measurement came in at 0.88" (22mm).  Had the temperature been lower the snow would have been much drier and therefore we may have had higher snow totals.  


It's interesting to see how the wind can shape the snow during these storms.  I know none of the pictures included in this post are anything special, but it is neat to see.  The second picture shows where the wind swirling around the deck planter scoured out the snow around it leaving nearly two feet of snow on either side.  The last pictures shows how the wind has plastered the south side of the garage with snow even though the wind was coming from the north.
Below is a 1 minute time lapse video I made of the storm from 6:30am to 9:30am.  You can see how strong the winds were.

Twas the Night After Christmas

 ...and all through the house, no one was sleeping cause there was freakin' blizzard coming! Yeah! Snowstorms are great. They change the landscape in ways no other weather event can. The cornices of snow and drifts created by the wind are so incredibly unique that nothing else compares.

 Well, tomorrow (Wednesday, December 26) should be a day where Mother Nature gets to create some of her unique sculptures. A blizzard warning has been issued for a large portion of Central Indiana. The southeastern section of the state should see the heaviest snowfall totals with up to 15 inches (38cm) possible. Winds are expected to gust to 40mph (65kph) or more through the day Wednesday. The larger map in this post shows where the snowfall totals will line up across the state. The smaller map shows where blizzard warnings are in effect across the Midwest (shaded in red).

 I've kept track of weather events in this area for over 20 years now and I cannot remember the last time blizzard warnings were issued for such a large area across Indiana. Blizzards are much more common further west across the Plains states, but not so much here. It will be interesting to see how this storm turns out. 

Many people are traveling this week with the Christmas holiday and may be staying with relatives. Earlier today I heard a meteorologist on TV tell viewers that if you enjoyed the company of your relatives make plans for them to stay with you through Thursday. If you did not enjoy the company of your relatives, you should send them home tonight before the storm hits. :-) I thought that was hilarious. Well, the house is quiet and I can hear the wind picking up speed outside. No snow yet (12:16am), but I'm sure that by morning that will change. I'll post pictures and maybe some video tomorrow. No plans to go anywhere though so it will all be from the warm comfort of home. Hopefully, the power doesn't go out. :-|