National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Storm Moving through the South; Pacific Storm to Impact the West this Weekend

A storm is expected to develop over the southern High Plains today and track to the Mid-Atlantic through Friday with showers and thunderstorms. On the northern edge, snow, ice, and/or a wintry mix is possible over the central Plains. A significant storm is expected to arrive late Friday through the weekend with rain, heavy mountain snow, and gusty winds for much of the West. Read More >

Significant Winter Storm Affect Parts of the Area


The first big winter storm of 2005 brought a mixed bag of precipitation to the region. The most significant part of this event was a major ice storm in the far southern portions of the forecast area. Some locations received between 1.5 and 2 inches of rain that froze on impact. The weight of the ice combined with winds in the 10 to 15 mph range caused widespread damage in many areas. Hundreds of thousands of people were without power. The following graphics and descriptions will go into more detail on all the precipitation that occurred, and watches/warnings that were in place. The maps are meant to be a rough layout of precipitation amounts. The reports provided below will give greater detail to total amounts.
In the southern portion of the area, the precipitation started in the form of rain as temperatures were just above freezing. As temperatures fell below freezing, the rain began to freeze on metal surface and then eventually trees, power lines and roadways. While the rainfall wasn't overly heavy during the event, it occurred for a prolonged period, still making it as significant as if it would have fallen in a shorter period of time. Figure 1 shows an approximate delineation of the total freezing rain totals in red from the event. Notice how tight the gradient is from north to south.


Figure 1  Map of Snow, sleet and freezing rain accumulations    

Across central portions of the forecast area, the precipitations started as freezing rain, but quickly changed to sleet across much of the area. Numerous locations received over an inch of sleet, with the sleet falling heavy at times in many locations. While the sleet posed less problems for trees and power lines, it quickly froze to roads, bridges and overpasses making them extremely treacherous for those trying to travel. Towards the end of the storm, the precipitation changed to light snow. Figure 1 shows an approximate delineation of the total sleet accumulation across the area.  

Across northern parts of area, the precipitation started as a brief period of sleet or freezing rain, but transitioned to snow. Pockets of moderate to heavy snow occurred in locations close to Lake Michigan as well along the Michigan/Indiana state line as additionally shown in Figure 1

 

Brief Timeline of Outlooks, Watches and Warnings as well as links to actual products for this Event

Hazardous Weather Outlook

  • 410 pm EST Sunday Jan 2 - Hazardous Weather Outlook (HWO) issued highlighting the potential for a significant winter storm, including significant ice accumulations
    • 537 am EST Jan 3
    • 521 am EST Jan 6

Winter Storm Watch

  • 301 pm EST Monday Jan 3 - Winter Storm Watch issued for all 37 counties of the Northern Indiana Forecast Office area of responsibility for Tuesday night through early Thursday morning. Potential for an inch or more of ice accumulations, in addition to sleet and snow.
    • 911 pm EST Jan 3
    • 503 am EST Jan 4
    • 1127 am EST Jan 4

Winter Storm Warning

  • 228 pm EST Tuesday Jan 4 - Watch upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning for entire forecast area. Again, potential for significant ice accumulations noted in both the warning as well as ZFP for southern parts of the area, in addition to likelihood of heavy snow and sleet.
    • 1012 pm EST Jan24
    • 442 am EST Jan 5
    • 1117 am EST Jan 5
    • 335 pm EST Jan 5
    • 1001 pm EST Jan 5
    • 517 am EST Jan 6

First Significant Report

  • 1205 pm EST Wednesday Jan 5 - First report of significant ice accumulation. One half inch of ice had already accumulated in the city of Marion. Lead time from issuance of warning to this event, 21 hours, 37 minutes.

Summary of Reports

 



LF/TEH...1/9/05