Icy Morning…

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 7.58.16 AMRough Travel Conditions This Morning…Freezing rain and freezing drizzle is making a mess of the morning commute.  Thankfully, eventually we’ll climb above freezing around, or just after, noon.  Before then, icy travel conditions can be expected.  Take it slow or postpone travel until the afternoon if possible.  By this afternoon, temperatures will climb above freezing and plain ole rain can be expected into tonight.  We don’t anticipate flooding issues locally as rain won’t be heavy enough and temperatures won’t be warm enough to result in significant melting.

Much colder air will blow into town late tonight and Wednesday morning and as a second area of low pressure tracks along the front, widespread accumulating snow is a good bet across the southern half of the state Wednesday afternoon into Thursday morning.  As of now, we still target areas along and south of I-70 most at risk for snow accumulation Wednesday afternoon.

A much drier, but cold, pattern will be with us to wrap up the work week, including more record cold a good bet.  Dry and slightly milder conditions are ahead over the weekend before a weak system may deliver a light snow or rain shower early next week.

Looking ahead, it appears as if we finally may deal with a much milder, spring-like pattern around mid March.  60s for highs anyone?!  That said, concerns remain that we reverse this and go colder than normal late March.

Upcoming 7-Day Precipitation Forecast:

  • 7-Day Snowfall Forecast: 1″ – 3″ (south)
  • 7-Day Rainfall Forecast: 0.50″

In case you missed it this morning, we posted an article on meteorological winter and you can find it by clicking here.

A Word On Meteoroligcal Winter

We wanted to take a moment and discuss the 2014-2015 meteorological winter. 

Going into the winter, we knew this would be one of many challenges. The nearly ideal SST profile and modoki El Niño offered up hope for mid western winter weather lovers. That said, there were also a multitude of conflicting signals and drivers trying to take control of the pattern. The “turbulent” open to winter (at least from a snow lover’s perspective) worked itself out in a major way the deeper into winter we made it. The saying “flip on a dime” comes to mind.

Before we go further, here was our winter forecast, issued on October 19th:

  • IndyWx.com forecasts meteorological winter temperatures (Dec., Jan., Feb.) to average 2 degrees below normal (Fahrenheit).
  • Average snowfall at IND is 25.9″.  IndyWx.com forecasts 35″ of snow (first flake to last flake).

Here’s a look at each month of meteorological winter from a temperature perspective.


Total it all up and this is what you get, courtesy of the fine folks at Weatherbell:

Despite the warm beginning, we actually weren’t cold enough with our forecast.

As for snow, we’re also rallying in a big way there.  Officially IND reports 25.6″ on the season, but this is far from over. Keep in mind the snowfall forecast is first flake to last flake. Can we make it to 35″? Doubtful, but the overall pattern even into April (despite a 7-10 day spring fling later next week) this year does look to be one capable of late season snows.

Back to conflicting signals and to touch on the AO and NAO for a time… Note both teleconnections were predominantly in typical warm phases for the better part of meteorological winter:

Meanwhile, the sea surface temperature profile continues to suggest cold and stormy times over the region, and would strongly argue against sustained spring like weather anytime in the near future.

Long term readers certainly know that we’re not about the whole “I told you so approach.”  The minute you begin that in this business you better plan on eating a big piece of humble pie. That said, if I had a dime for every time a weather enthusiast told me it was time to rip up the winter forecast in early to mid January I would be a rich man. I would raise an eyebrow to anyone, or source, that tells you it’s time to rip up a winter forecast in early to mid January; for that matter, any seasonal forecast prior to not even being 50% of the way through. Sometimes it’s best just to let things play out as opposed to jumping the gun to call for the ripping up of a winter forecast or untactful comments of other sources. The meteorological community is one that I’m proud to say has 98% of folks who respect one another and love to learn from one another. Unfortunately, as is the case with many lines of work, there are a couple bad apples…

At the end of the day, the primary reason for this post was to look back at the meteorological winter of 2014-2015. We’ll be back to put the final grade and do some further updates a bit later this spring- once the final flake has fallen!

As always, we appreciate your support and friendship!

A Lot To Discuss…

Good evening, friends!  As promised, there’s a lot on the weather menu over the course of the upcoming several days.  Let’s get right into the details.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory from 3a-12p for all of the region to account for the sleet and freezing rain situation we’ll deal with late tonight into the first half of Tuesday.  We still expect significant travel issues and overall impacts to the Tuesday morning commute.

Forecast radar shows freezing rain spreading into the region between 3 and 4am.

1Light freezing rain and freezing drizzle will continue for the better part of the morning hours as temperatures likely won’t climb above freezing until early Tuesday afternoon, especially from Indianapolis and points northeast.

Forecast temperatures at 12p Tuesday.

hires_t2m_indy_24We still don’t anticipate many big time flooding concerns as a.) temperatures won’t warm all that much (we MAY reach 40 Tuesday evening, but that’s a big question mark) and b.) most of the heavy rain will remain south of central Indiana.

Here’s expected liquid-equivalent totals through Wednesday morning.

2The next concern is the threat of accumulating snow for central and southern portions of the state Wednesday afternoon through Thursday morning. Arctic high pressure will limit the northern extent of significant precipitation, but, as mentioned previously, energy rounding the base of the trough will ignite another wave of low pressure to move along the pressing arctic front.  As of now, we target areas along and south of the I-70 corridor most under the gun for a potentially impactful snow storm Wednesday afternoon into early Thursday morning.

3The individual GFS ensemble members have also been trending north and overall more excited about snow prospects, as well.

7The other item on the agenda is a shot of record cold in here for late week.  Sub-zero lows are a good bet by Friday morning.  Highs Thursday will push for a new record low maximum temperature.

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Icy Tuesday Morning…

We continue to be very concerned about the likelihood of an icing event across central Indiana late tonight into early Tuesday afternoon. A significant snowpack in place won’t allow temperatures to “warm” fast enough to prevent  a rather significant freezing rain event during this time frame. Travel will likely be highly impacted. 

Freezing rain will develop during the overnight tonight and continue through the morning hours Tuesday. 





High resolution data shows temperatures not making it above freezing for most of central Indiana until early Tuesday afternoon (somewhere between 1p-3p). That’s nearly 12 hours of icing potential. 



As for the heavy rain and potential flooding issues, we target downstate for those concerns. Across most of central Indiana we don’t think temperatures will warm enough (barely to 40° before falling late Tuesday night), nor that rainfall will be heavy enough. Note the high resolution NAM focuses the heavy rain threat across the southeastern portion of the state. 



More On This Week…

It was a record snowfall officially at IND where a storm total of 7.9″ was recorded (5.9″ accumulated since midnight). Many other 8″ type amounts are common throughout the heart of central Indiana- including right here at the IndyWx.com HQ.  Yours truly ventured out through the village of Zionsville this afternoon.  Simply beautiful!

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We have a busy weather week upcoming and wanted to touch base on a few items of note:

1.) Freezing rain and potential slick travel will be possible very late Monday night into Tuesday morning.  Moisture will attack from the southwest and run into an impressive snowpack currently in place across central Indiana.  Despite warmer air moving in aloft, surface temperatures will remain cold enough through late Tuesday morning to allow precipitation to fall in the form of sleet and freezing rain Tuesday morning.  It appears as if enough freezing rain could accumulate to result in slick travel throughout the region.  While temperatures will “warm” into the lower 40s Tuesday afternoon, this is a far cry from the lower 50s modeling tried to suggest a few days ago.  Furthermore, cold air will quickly rush back in here Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

2.) Accumulating snow threat for the southern half of the state Wednesday into Thursday. Additional “energy” will round the base of a digging trough over the southern and central Plains states Wednesday. This will help ignite a surface low along the front and temporarily lead to the front stalling out just to our south and east.  It’ll be close as to just how far north the accumulating snow shield makes it across southern and central Indiana, but will require  a close eye in the coming day or two.  We note some of our more reliable modeling placing central and southern portions of the state “under fire” for additional accumulating snow.

3.) Serious and potentially record cold returns this week.  Yet ANOTHER blast of bitterly cold air will plunge into the area Wednesday night into Thursday.  With snow on the ground, it’s possible this direct discharge of arctic air is even colder than what some data might suggest at this time.  As it is already, we think some central Hoosier neighborhoods deal with sub-zero air in the Thursday/ Friday morning time frame.  Thursday’s high will only manage to climb into the teens across the region.  (Keep in mind the average low is 28 and average high is 45).  Just amazing stuff!

Busy Weather Week Ahead…

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 10.09.08 AMImpressive Snowstorm…Heavy snowfall rates are occurring within localized bands through central and north-central Indiana as we type this.  Within those bands, expect an additional 1″-2″ today.  That’s on top of widespread 6″ to 7″ reports throughout the region.  (By the way- thank you so much for your snowfall reports and photos)!  We love to see them!

Outside of the heavy snow bands, a general light snow will begin to diminish by late afternoon/ early evening as drier air moves in behind a cold front.  Colder air will also roll into town tonight and Monday.

Our next storm will provide a wintry mix of sleet, snow, and freezing rain Tuesday morning before transitioning to rain.  That said, data that suggested we would see 50 degree+ highs Tuesday are finally coming to the realization we have quite the snowpack across the area.  We’ll rise into the lower 40s, but cold air will rush right back in here Tuesday night and Wednesday and potentially set us up for a very interesting mid week period.

For now model data ranges between a significant winter storm to simply dry and bitterly cold.  We’ll split the difference for now and maintain mention of snow in our Wednesday forecast as secondary energy develops a wave of low pressure along the pressing front.  Does that winter storm impact the Ohio Valley or areas of the Deep South?  We’ll continue to sort through the details.  I will say the UKMET has been most consistent of our forecast models over the past several weeks, and it’s quite bullish on the Ohio Valley winter storm scenario.  Never a dull moment around these parts…

Regardless of what happens Wednesday, fresh bitter cold air will pour in here to wrap up the work week.

Upcoming 7-Day Precipitation Forecast:

  • 7-Day Snowfall Forecast: 8″ – 11″
  • 7-Day Rainfall Forecast: 0.50″ – 1″

Snow Storm Brewing Saturday Night-Sunday…

We continue to closely monitor our developing situation Saturday night and Sunday. After reviewing all of the data this afternoon, we still have no real reason to believe the initial heavy snow idea posted Thursday has changed. In case you missed it this is what we posted Thursday- used to give those with travel plans this weekend advanced notice of where we were focusing our attention for the heaviest snow potential.



Fast forward to this afternoon and this is our first call snowfall forecast.



Timing: We think snow initially spreads over central Indiana around 8 o’clock Saturday evening. Snow will likely then grow in intensity and reach moderate to heavy levels Sunday morning. As mentioned in previous posts, this will be a rather prolonged duration event with accumulating snow potential for a solid 24 hours between Saturday night and Sunday night. That’s not saying it’ll necessarily be heavy snow during the entire time, but you get the idea of this being a rather impactful event that can add up. Drier air should eventually win out Sunday night which will shut the snow off. Fresh cold air will be with us Monday so plan on a messy commute Monday morning. 

What about mixing issues? For Indianapolis and points north we still think this will be an all snow event, and a significant one at that. Further south from a line roughly from Sullivan County to Franklin County and points south it’s possible a wintry mix of sleet, freezing rain, and rain gets involved Sunday. This will greatly reduce accumulation totals downstate. 

Where do we think the heaviest snow potential lies? If we had to pin point our early ideas on where we think those 6″-7″ totals will lie we would have to say within 10-30 miles north of the I-70 corridor. That said, neighborhoods within the heaviest snow zone of 5″-7″ are fair game for those hefty totals. As a reminder, snowfall totals won’t necessarily follow the clean lines painted above.

As always, you can follow us on Twitter @indywx for our thoughts on the go!

Have a fantastic night! Much more early Saturday morning. 



Initial Snowfall Map: Saturday Night-Sunday

Here’s our initial snowfall map for Saturday night through Sunday.

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We think snow may begin flying as early as early as 8 or 9 o’clock Saturday evening, growing in intensity and coverage during the overnight into Sunday morning.

We’ll have a more more in-depth forecast discussion around our thinking later tonight.  As a disclaimer, remember the snowfall accumulations won’t necessarily follow the clean lines above.