Winter Storm Watch issued as freezing rain, snow is expected Friday

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The January thaw is rolling as temperatures have surged into the low to mid 50s Wednesday afternoon. This is the warmest since the first week of December and the normal for mid to late March. It will remain very mild, damp and at times wet through the night. Showers will be around with a temperature steady near 50-degrees!

It will even run warmer Thursday with many area temperatures closing in on 60-degrees. The average date of our first 60-degree day isn’t until February 4. Last January, we reached 60-degrees four times!


While we enjoy spring-like air today, tonight and Thursday, a new cold surge will send temperatures tumbling Friday. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for late Thursday into late Friday. Indianapolis has not been under a Winter Storm Watch or Warning for over three years!

Rain will fall through midnight Friday morning, but as temperatures fall sharply, a change to freezing rain from west to east will occur before sunrise Friday. A coating of ice is expected before a change to snow then ending late Friday night. To say the least, it could be quite messy here Friday and quite slick as early as the Friday morning commute.

At this time, the snowfall could be heaviest in east-southeast Indiana. The exact track of the storm will be refined but an early take suggests totals of 4 to 6 inches or more are possible in southeast Indiana to central Ohio. Reminder, this is an early take and not all models are on board with this track. I’m posting below the NWS probability of a 4 inches snowfall. This is a higher probability given storm tracks at this time, to target southeast Indiana into Ohio.

There is a wide spread in the low pressure storm track for now. Snowfall amounts for Indianapolis specifically range from as little as .1 inch to as much as 5.7 inches. Big spread, right? Because there is still doubt as to the exact track. The phasing or joining of two jet streams is always a tricky scenario and it will take a little more time to finalize the exact track. We are honing in so it is time to start sharing some snowfall potential numbers.

Off various machines that produce snowfall outputs, a seven-model average places 2.4 inches of snow in Indianapolis but amounts go much higher just to our east. We will hawk over the later computer runs and updated storm tracks.

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