COLDEST IN YEARS
Fresh snow and clear skies and say hello to the coldest air since February 2011. -3° officially in the city Friday morning and even colder air away from the city. Low temperatures fell to -12° at Zionsville and Peru. Area low temperatures rarely fall below -10. A check of the weather records shows that in the city, only 2 times in the past 16 years have dipped to -10°. It has occurred 124 times over the past 142 years – but only 49 years have produced such brutal cold. The most -10° temps came in 1976-1977 and again in 1981-82 with a total of 8.
WINDY WARM UP
Quietly as warm front passes central Indiana Friday evening and steadies the temperatures overnight. Low temperatures are to run steady around 12 to 15 degrees under clear skies through Saturday morning. Winds from the southwest will increase Saturday alomg with the clouds. Gusts to 35 miles per hour are possible with temperatures elevating above freezing. Enjoy the warm up – big time cold is coming.
MAJOR WINTER STORM TAKES SHAPE
The weekend opens rather tame but will end with a 1- 2 punch of heavy snow and brutal cold. A long advertised southern storm system will emerge from the Rockies Saturday morning and track to southwestern Arkansas by 7AM Sunday. The forecast track of the low to Cincinnati then northeast to upstate New York is the perfect track for heavy snow through the heart of the Hoosier state. Typically the heaviest snow and the supper of an upper low about 150 miles northwest of the surface track is where the heavy snow will fall. 2 computer models – the Euro and Canadian model have not flinched on the location of the storm and heavy snow. Several US models have waivered on track, intensity and available moisture, but this forecaster has for years weighed heavily on the Euro model and believe it is the one to go with.
Snow arrive pre-dawn Sunday. Initially breaking out northwest then filling in as storm approached toward sunrise from the southwest corner of the state.
Snow becomes heavy by late morning into the early afternoon on Sunday.
Temperatures tank Sunday night as arctic air is injected into the storm
Stronger winds with considerable blowing and drifting snow develops after sunset. Possible near blizzard conditions through early Monday.
We have averaged 5 various computer models with an average snowfall for the city of 9.5” and a range from 7.5” to 11.5”. The track of the storm and how quickly the cold is injected into the storm will have the greatest impact on snow accumulation. By no means a final take or carved in stone – any shift in the track and snow amounts would be changed. The winds will ramp up Sunday night and it is possible the near white out and near blizzard conditions could develop late Sunday night into Monday morning especially over eastern Indiana. Gusts to 40 miles per hour late Sunday/early Monday in open areas will create large snow drifts and make some outlying roads impassable. Stay tuned for updates Saturday – as watches are upgraded to warnings.
We tangle with the “polar vortex” early next week – the core of the coldest air in the northern hemisphere, dislodged and dropping into the eastern U.S. Cold that accompanies this weather feature is extreme and the location of the upper low will produce mind blowing low temperatures. The forecast for -20° next week will be within easy reach late Monday and Tuesday morning – levels we have not pushed here since 1994. Combined with the wind – the “feels-like” temp/wind chill will push -40°. How many days until Spring? We may remain below zero through Wednesday afternoon.