Update issued at 10:44a Sunday
It’s started. The first snow arrived around 6am for what looks to go down as a historic late season snow for the area. Through 10am this morning snow totals just 0.2 inches for the inital round at the Indianapolis airport. There were reports of 2 inches of snow on the ground through in Westfield, Zionsville and other areas in Boone County. 12.1″ is the most snow in a day Indianapolis has ever recorded for March. That occured on the 19th of March 1906. By 7am that morning there was 15 inches of snow on the ground. I don’t think we get close to that, but we will see plenty of snow on the ground at 7am on Monday morning.
My concerns at this time is not only the rate of snow but also the damage that it will do to our infrastructure. Roads will be hazerdous first thing Monday morning. Strong winds and heavy snow may cause some power outages and uproot trees. Emergency services may struggle to keep up with calls comnig in. This has already had the Boone County emergency services team reminding people to only use 9-1-1 for true emergency.
The National Weather Service has upgraded central Indiana to a Winter Storm Warning. This goes into effect Sunday morning at 8 AM and it will last until Monday at 12 PM. Our very northern counties are in a winter storm watch from 10 AM Sunday to 2 PM Monday. Any locations still under a “watch” will be upgraded to a “warning” later today.
Here’s a map of the Winter Storm Warning:
Here’s the Fox 59 Weather Authority snowfall forecast for Sunday into Monday. The highest band is 5-10″ of snow with locally higher amounts closer to 11-12″ of snow.
For comparison sake, here’s a look at the RPM this afternoon. It definitely picks up a high concentration of snow from I-70 and to the north. Slightly lower amounts come in for our southern locations due to what could be a period of rain and snow. This will be a heavy, wet snow when it comes down. There could be some minor blowing and drifting as winds pick up Sunday evening, but the snow will be more “wet” than “dry” for the storm. Also, in the 5-10″ band, there could easily be locally higher amount up to 12″ of snow depending on where the snow bands set up. But the best chance for the heaviest snow is right through the Central part of the state.
Let’s talk about the timeline!
Tonight: Skies become overcast.
6 – 8 AM Sunday: A rain/snow mix arrives to our southern counties. The leading edge of snow will be just south of the metro for the early morning hours.
8 AM – Noon Sunday: Periods of rain/snow continue in our southern location, especially south of Bloomington to Columbus. But from those towns and up to Indianapolis, snow starts moving in. It will be coming up from the south and spreading to the north.
Noon – 5 PM Sunday: Scattered snow showers spread across Central Indiana and there is basically a chance for snow in all locations. The exception is still our southeast counties where rain could periodically mix in with snow. Winds begin to increase.
6 PM to 9 PM Sunday: A heavy band of snow develops in Central Indiana, especially in the western half of the viewing area. Remaining windy. Rain/snow mix ends to the south.
10 PM Sunday to 2 AM Monday: Heavy snow falls across Central Indiana. Several inches of snow will be on the ground making roads slick. Still windy conditions.
2 AM to 7 AM Monday: Snowfall intensity decreases but light to moderate snow will continue especially north of I-70. Snow continues to accumulate.
7 AM to Noon Monday: Snowfall becomes less widespread and eventually dissipates and moves off to the east. Roads remain slick, winds also remain breezy.
I want to finish this post with a discussion about the wind. Winds are expected to increase on Sunday afternoon from the northeast at 15 to 20 mph. Winds could gust up to 30 mph up through the evening hours as well. This along with a heavy, wet snow could exert some added stress to our power systems. So don’t be surprised if the lights flicker or go out completely. Really, with any winter storm, isolated power outages are always a possibility. Just make sure you are prepared and have everything you need before this events begins.
Also, due to the wind picking up, visibilities will drop when the heaviest snow arrives tomorrow evening. We could also see some blowing and drifting snow. But since this is a wet snow, we aren’t expecting major issues with blowing and drifting.