News From Terre Haute, Indiana

February 6, 2014

Latest storm adds to winter’s snowfall total

Dianne Frances D. Powell
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Wabash Valley is, once again, snow-covered as a result of a wintry system that moved through the area Tuesday into Wednesday, but already cold and more snow are predicted for the rest of the week.

Snow accumulation in Vigo County was estimated to be about 6 inches during the 24-hour period, with totals higher north of Interstate 70. Vigo’s neighbors to the north — Vermillion and Parke counties — saw totals close to 10 inches — while those in the southern area, such as Sullivan County, had between 4 and 6 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

Clay and Greene counties also saw an average of about 4 inches.

Today, it will be partly sunny and cold, with a high about 11, according to the NWS. Wind Chills of around 10 below to 15 degrees below zero are possible this morning while wind chills tonight into Friday could be as low as 20 degrees below zero. On Friday, it is expected to be mostly sunny, with a high near 15.

Starting overnight on Friday, snow may once again begin to fall in the Wabash Valley and may continue until Sunday. Accumulation of up to 3 inches is possible for the area over the weekend, but in Terre Haute one to 2 inches is more likely, according to the NWS, which called January 2014 “one of the snowiest months ever for much of central and northern Indiana.”

In January, “much of central Indiana received from 12 to more than 24 inches of snow,” the NWS said. “The Indianapolis area received 26.9 inches of snowfall. Only the months of January 1978, March 1906 and December 1973 received more snowfall since snow records began in 1884 at Indianapolis. More impressive, this month’s snowfall eclipsed the annual average of 25.9 inches,” according to the NWS.

The winter storm on Jan. 5 was the biggest of the month, with locations along and north of Interstate 70 receiving 8 to 14 inches of snow, NWS said. In Terre Haute, residents found themselves digging out of at least 8 inches of snow.

The big storm was followed by extremely cold weather, a level that had not been seen in the area for about 30 years. The  lowest temperature in Terre Haute last month was 15 below zero on Jan. 7, and the highest was 53 on Jan. 13.

The arrival of this week’s winter weather resulted in school and business closings. Wednesday’s cancelation was the eighth day this school year that Vigo County schools were closed due to inclement weather. Superintendent Danny Tanoos announced that Vigo schools will be on a two-hour delay today.

The weather system Tuesday and Wednesday created hazardous travel conditions as roads became slick and snow-covered.

The Indiana State Police said troopers had responded to 15 property damage crashes, one personal injury crash, 15 slide-offs and 27 disabled motorists from 3 p.m. Tuesday until 3 p.m. Wednesday.

No serious or life-threatening injuries were reported, police said.

The “trouble spots,” police said, were U.S. 41 in the Dailey Hill area of Parke County and all along I-70 from the Illinois state line to the 53-mile marker in Morgan County; that area includes Vigo, Clay, and Putnam counties. Traffic was slowed or briefly stopped at various times on Wednesday along I-70 for crash cleanup efforts.

As of Wednesday afternoon, I-70 was mostly wet with no problems or delays, Indiana State Police said.  Other state roadways within the Indiana State Police-Putnamville District ranged from snow-covered to scattered slick spots. Secondary roads remained snow-covered, slick and hazardous.

The Putnamville District includes Vigo, Parke, Vermillion, Putnam, Clay and Sullivan counties.

“The Putnamville District utilized all available manpower and canceled regular days off to ensure the safety of the motoring public. Troopers were divided into 12-hour day and 12-hour night shifts … ,” according to a release.

“The most frequent cause for the crashes and slide-offs were motorists driving too fast for conditions. Drivers are encouraged to slow down, follow other vehicles at a safe distance, avoid driver distractions, and use extreme caution while driving,” the release said.

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