News From Terre Haute, Indiana

December 6, 2013

City slickers: First heavy snowfall of season leaves roads slippery through night

Dianne Frances D. Powell
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Snow and ice covered roads, cars, buildings and homes in the Wabash Valley late Thursday night and throughout the day on Friday as the first winter storm of the season moved through the area.

And although today promises to be dry, it will, however, remain cold, with temperatures predicted to be well below freezing.

But it may be a welcome break from two waves of snow falls that the area received Thursday and Friday. The promised second wave of snowfall was seen early Friday afternoon and stopped early in the evening.

The areas south of Terre Haute received more snow totals than areas in the north, officials said.

The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warming to the area until midnight with snow accumulation prediction of five to seven inches.

“It’s a good storm,” meteorologist Jason Puma said.

“But it is very common for us to get storm systems like this from time to time though the winter,” he added.

Despite the hazardous conditions created by the weather, officials reported no major incidents.

The Indiana State Police said that many roads — including all county roads and U.S. 40 — were snow covered on Friday but Interstate-70 was cleared. Reports of vehicle slide-offs were minimal, police said.

Vigo County 911 Director Rob McMullen said there were 21 “possibly weather-related incidents” in Terre Haute and Vigo County as of about 5 p.m. on Friday. These incidents may include slide-offs, regular accidents or cars pulled off to the side for various reasons.

And many people in the Valley seemed prepared for the first blast of winter.

Area schools including Vigo County School Corp. and Ivy Tech Community College — Wabash Valley closed. Some public libraries such as Bloomfield-Eastern Greene Public Library and Bicknell-Vigo Township Public Library were also closed, along with other area businesses.

As below freezing temperatures and snow fell, snow plows were observed working late Thursday and all day Friday.

According to the Indiana Department of Transportation, salt trucks were out overnight Thursday and throughout the day on Friday “treating the roadways and will continue to do so through these winter storms.”

 Despite the usual expectation of power outages that come with a storm, no power outages were reported from Vigo and surrounding counties, according to Duke Energy.

 Puma said the areas south of Terre Haute received more significant snow. For example, as of Friday afternoon, Vincennes had accumulated nine inches and Bloomington had seven and a half.

The heaviest snows have fallen across southern Indiana, Puma said.

And the weekend, it promises to be cold as well.

Today, the weather is expected to be “dry but very cold,” Puma said, with a high predicted to be in the lower 20s. Wind chill values are predicted to be as low as -3 with North wind around 9 mph. It is also expected to be colder in the early evening.

On Sunday, however, the area will once again see snow.

According to the National Weather Service, there is a 40 percent chance of mix precipitation in the afternoon and early evening. Snow may fall in the late morning hours but there is a chance of freezing rain and sleet after 1 p.m.  Snow and sleet are also expected Sunday night.

Puma said the snow fall expected on Sunday may be “considerably less.”

But the area will start seeing some sunshine next week.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are forecasted to be sunny.

While there will be sunny days next week, it will still be very cold until at least Thursday, Puma said.

“Temperatures will not get above freezing,” and there are several nights next week when we can expect temperatures in the single digits, he said.

Tribune-Star Reporter Dianne Frances D. Powell can be reached at 812-231-4299 or dianne.powell@tribstar.com.