Bitter cold eases for new snow Thursday

Weather

BRUTAL COLD WEDNESDAY MORNING

There we bitter numbers early Wednesday morning, some of the coldest in two years as clear skies, light winds and a healthy snow pack aided in dropping temperatures well below zero. We found the coldest in far western Indiana with a report of -16° in Perryville (Vermillion Co.). Other low temperatures included -14° Kokomo and Crawfordsville, -13° Frankfort and -11° Zionsville, Tipton and Mt. Comfort.

The low in Indianapolis only fell to 2° as a northeast wind and high clouds arrived. The northeast wind carries the “warmth” of the city to the airport, thus keeping that sensor warmer than surrounding locations. To date, the coldest this winter has been is 0° on Sunday, February 7.

NEW SNOW OVERNIGHT

We trade in the bitter cold for snow as clouds thicken tonight. A new storm is nearing but taking a much more southern route than the storm earlier in the week. We are expecting the northern fringe of snow to spread into the state and increase in coverage late tonight and before sunrise Thursday. Snowfall coverage is expected to increase to nearly 100% before sunrise Thursday and create travel hazards for the morning commute.

With once again very cold temperatures for snow to fall in, this will be a lighter, fluffy snow that will accumulate a few inches before tapering off. Moisture is nowhere near what we had Monday, but the ratio for snowfall will be high. With just a tenth of an inch available, a 1″ snow looks fairly likely area-wide. Amounts may trend a little higher from central to east/southeast central Indiana where some 3″ amounts could be measured. Snow will taper to flurries by early afternoon.

COLD KEEPS COMING

On Wednesday at precisely 5:25 p.m., we reached 288 consecutive hours below freezing in Indianapolis. The cold wave is in its second week, and it will continue for a few more days with some prospects of breaking above freezing Sunday. Thursday will equal the longest stretch since 2018, and we have a real chance to reach the 2007 span that hit 15 days. The longest on record was 35 days set in 1977.

This cold February will roll on even after we crack the freezing mark with a chance to enter the final week of the month without one day this entire month above average. Only one day has been above normal all month, February 4, with a high of 38° and a low of 27°. The average temperature is among the coldest 18% of Februarys on record and currently ranks 18th. The average temperature of 20.6° makes this the coldest February since 2014.

We are expecting to elevate above freezing Sunday as a new system approaches. Once again, a trade-off for a warm up could include a wintery mix of snow, rain, sleet and evening freezing rain. Sunday’s high could climb to above freezing but still below normal.

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