News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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February 4, 2014

Hauteans on alert as winter storm nears the Wabash Valley

The National Weather Service at Indianapolis reported this morning that the incoming snow should not reach the Wabash Valley until about 2 p.m. The prediction is for five to nine inches of accumulation in Terre Haute, while areas to the north will average about 9 inches of snow. A winter storm warning is in effect from 1 p.m. today to 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Terre Haute is on the southern fringe of the worst weather, said meteorologist Marc Dahmer, who noted that snow in Vigo County will not fall in earnest until late this afternoon or early evening. The heaviest accumulation will be overnight, with snow tapering off by morning.

Students in the Vigo County School Corp. will remain in classes for a full day, provided the forecast snowfall tracks as expected.

All school bus drivers are on call, however, superintendent Danny Tanoos told the Tribune-Star this morning. If the weather gets bad sooner than expected, classes could be dismissed early. Heavier snow is not predicted until later this afternoon, Tanoos said, after bus routes are normally run.

“I don’t want to send kids home early if we don’t have to,” he said. “I don’t want kids to have to wait outside in this cold. If it’s just an inch or two of snow, we can still travel in that.”

Temperatures will still be in the low teens, he said, reaching into the upper teens on Friday and into the 20s on Saturday. Another winter weather system could move in this weekend, but confidence is not high on how that storm will track.

Normal temperatures for this time of year are in the mid-30s, the National Weather Service’s Dahmer said, but they are expected to remain below average into next week.

South of Terre Haute in Sullivan and Knox counties, the snow will have a wintery mix of sleet and freezing rain, Dahmer said.

He jokingly noted that the Groundhog Day prediction of an extended winter is close to correct.

“When you start trusting the rodents to forecast your weather, this is what you get,” Dahmer said.

Meanwhile, Clay Community Schools have called for a two-hour early dismissal, with elementary students being let out at 12:30 p.m. and the junior high and high schools dismissing around 1:20 p.m.

As far as road conditions, Gov. Mike Pence has directed the Indiana Department of Transportation to ready itself for a full callout across most of the state as dangerous winter weather approaches.

“As severe winter weather continues, INDOT remains fully prepared to keep the interstates, U.S. highways and state routes open and as safe as possible for emergency responders,” Pence stated in a news release. “We encourage Hoosiers to follow county travel advisories and not to put themselves or their local emergency responders in harm’s way.”

INDOT will continue to monitor multiple evolving weather forecasts and deploy a full callout of more than 800 yellow plow trucks to begin alternating 12-hour shifts on state highways before the storm moves through regions of our state. Each INDOT plow route takes two to three hours to complete, with salt assisting in melting between passes. Motorists should be prepared for snow accumulations on the roads and driving conditions to be challenging, especially this evening and during Wednesday’s morning commute.

Based on current forecasts, motorists should be prepared to encounter a variety of conditions on Hoosier highways. Heavy snowfall is expected for central and northern Indiana. Areas farther south could see a wintry mix of snow, sleet or ice accumulations affecting travel.

To stay updated on county travel advisories, visit www.in.gov/dhs/traveladvisory and be aware of developing local forecasts before deciding whether to drive. The Indiana State Police and other law enforcement agencies encourage the public to keep its phone lines open for emergencies and to access road conditions at http://indot.carsprogram.org or by dialing toll-free 800-261-ROAD (7623). INDOT also posts updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/INDOT_WCentral and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/INDOTWestCentral.

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