Courtesy of Diana Marion (Lake Shafer or Arctic ice shelf?)
* FLOOD WARNING FOR... CENTRAL PULASKI COUNTY IN NORTHWEST INDIANA NORTHEASTERN WHITE COUNTY IN NORTHWEST INDIANA
* UNTIL 1115 PM EST FRIDAY
* AT 1115 PM EST THURSDAY...LAW ENFORCEMENT REPORTED AN ICE JAM AT LOWES BRIDGE...OR ABOUT 1 MILE SOUTHWEST OF BUFFALO ON THE TIPPECANOE RIVER. MINOR RIVER RISES AT WINAMAC INDICATE THE ICE JAM IS CAUSING FLOODING UPSTREAM FROM THE LOWES BRIDGE TO WINAMAC.
SOME TOWNS THAT MAY EXPERIENCE FLOODING INCLUDE WINAMAC...LAKESIDE...PULASKI...AND BUFFALO.
MUCH COLDER TEMPERATURES FRIDAY WILL CAUSE THE JAM TO PERSIST ANDWILL AGGRAVATE THE FLOOD SITUATION ALONG THE RIVER. IF YOU LIVE ALONG THE RIVER OR A TRIBUTARY OF THE RIVER FROM WINAMAC DOWN TO LAKE SHAFER...BE ALERT FOR RAPID RISES ON STREAMS AND THETIPPECANOE RIVER.
DO NOT DRIVE YOUR VEHICLE INTO AREAS WHERE THE WATER COVERS THEROADWAY. MOST FLOODING DEATHS OCCUR IN AUTOMOBILES. TURN AROUND DON`T DROWN.
Ice Jam on Lake Shafer has FEMA's attention
I just got off the phone early this afternoon with White County Emergency Management director Gordy Cochran. The water levels have gone down another 1 to 2 feet which has helped move some of the ice that has been jammed up in some spots up to an amazing 4 feet high. I have incredible pictures I will post here for you tonight. Here is the problem: With much more than an inch of rain on the way we could be back in the same boat we were a couple days ago. Once the water levels rise again the ice will get caught and jam once again. So the key this weekend is to keep our rainfall totals to close to an inch. If we go well above an inch or closer to 2" we could have some major flooding issues once again. The latest models show just under an inch of rain for most of us with a quick inch or two of snow in the storm's backlash on Sunday night and Monday morning. This would be better news if it happened, but the storm hasn't even formed or deepened yet so it will certainly be a wait and see game. Hopefully we will miss out on the worst part of the storm.
Also, concerns of more serious flooding on the Wabash River at Lafayette and Covington continue. Notice the high flood waters above have left their mark on area trees. I spoke to Al Shipe who is our state hydrologist and he says another inch of rain could bring our river levels back up to near 20 feet at Lafayette and 25 feet at Covington by the middle of next week. Things will not get worse than we have seen as long as we keep rainfall totals less than two inches. The reservoirs in northern Indiana are still running about 30 feet higher than average and the Corps has been dumping water as a result. This has kept Lafayette and Covington's Wabash River levels about 3 to 4 feet above flood stage. Since the Wabash is already out of its banks and the dumping of water to the north will continue at least until the rain starts this weekend it looks like the flood warning will not end anytime soon.
How many more of these La Nina storms can we expect? I think at least 3 more as finish out February and head into March and here is why.
This has been one of our strongest La Nina's on record. A La Nina is caused by below average water temperatures in the equatorial Pacific. Here are the latest numbers.
Between 170 East and135 West Longitude (Temperatures are running more than 2 degrees Celsius below average.)
Between 165 East and 115 West Longitude (Temperatures are running just over 1.5 degrees Celsius below average.)
We need these temperatures to warm up because they are playing havoc with the overall atmospheric circulations around the globe. The earth according to some of the new data coming in had its second coldest January in the last 15 years and it has been its coldest northern Hemispheric winter since at least 2000. Madison, Wisconsin has had its snowiest winter on record with close to 80 inches of snow. Lafayette has had one of its wettest winters on record. So it is easy to see why a La Nina pattern is known to bring stormy weather to the Midwest. It is so strong that even if it starts weakening over the next few weeks it should still be a major player in our weather at least through April and maybe longer. This would bring us more wild and stormy weather and plenty of severe weather during the heart of our Spring season. We have already had 4 thunderstorms this month alone!
Since it is very tough to forecast how fast the La Nina will weaken I will keep you posted on the latest data. Right now it looks like our stormy pattern will not end anytime soon. One glimmer of hope is the East Pacific water temperatures off South America have warmed up considerably to about 1.5 degrees Celsius above average. Could it help the La Nina collapse more quickly? Possibly and if that happens we will finally have hope of drying out. But right now latest NOAA weather data has a much slower weakening. Enjoy the sunshine while you can! I will be working on Sunday as well to help keep you ahead of yet another storm! If needed I will do cut-ins and a blog update.