• Round One of Winter Weather Hits Central Indiana

    February 01, 2011 No comments

    Ice, Sleet and snow paralyzed central Indiana overnight but the main storm that has weather forecasters worried isn’t due until late this afternoon. Most areas in central Indiana received anywhere from .2 of an inch to a half an inch of ice overnight making roadways treacherous and leading to some scattered power outages.

    All schools in Hendricks County are closed today as many schools decided to announce their closings last night as the first wave of freezing rain and sleet hit the area. By 11:00 p.m. last night, all county schools had announced their closure for today.

    The ice closed Butler University as well as IUPUI in Indianapolis and ice and heavy snow closed the Purdue University campus for today.

    Many flights in and out of Indianapolis were cancelled today due to the icing though the airport itself remains open but with only one runway operational.

    The icy conditions have already led to some sporadic power outages. Duke energy estimated that there were 50 customers in Hendricks County without power as of this morning. But the power outages that occurred last night might pale in comparison to what weather forecasters have turned a potentially catastrophic storm tonight as more freezing rain, sleet and snow return but with winds expected to increase to 35 mph and greater. The combination of the ice received last night and another half inch or more of ice expected to night along with the high winds have forecasters predicting widespread and lengthy power outages may occur during the overnight hours.

    Power company officials say that only one quarter of an inch of ice coupled with high winds is enough to bring down a power line. Should the power go out, emergency and first responder areas will get first priority for restoration.

    Roads this morning in central Indiana were ice covered and treacherous with numerous slide-offs and accidents. The ramp from I-70 to I-465 south was closed for an accident this morning and in Hendricks County, downed wires at East County Road 700 South at South County Road 1050 East had some lanes of traffic blocked.

    Many counties in central Indiana were under a travel advisory and some counties such as Putnam and Owen counties are under a travel watch. A travel watch means that only essential travel is recommended. Shelby County southwest of Indianapolis was under a travel warning meaning that travel is restricted to emergency personnel only.

    All of central Indiana remains under a Winter Storm Warning through 7:00 p.m. tomorrow night. Northwest Indiana is under a blizzard warning until tomorrow afternoon as a foot and half or more of snow is expected coupled with high winds leading to dangerous white out conditions.

     Freezing rain, sleet and snow are expected to return to Central Indiana around 4:00 this afternoon and last through the night and in to Wednesday. The freezing rain could be heavy at times with forecasters expecting another half inch or more of ice to accumulate. Winds will pick up to around 20 mph this afternoon and tonight with gusts as high as 35 mph or greater. The freezing rain will change over to snow tomorrow as colder air moves in to the area. Snow accumulations of 1-2” are possible and with the high winds blowing and drifting is likely. The storm system is expected to exit the area Wednesday night bringing sunshine but cold temperatures for Thursday through the weekend.

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