Wednesday, March 5, 2008

It's Official: A 40"+ Winter for Lafayette!

Thanks to Jim Cotant in Peru (A Beautiful Snow)

Our average snowfall is 22.4" and now we have almost doubled it. CAN YOU SAY 43.1 INCHES OF SNOW AND COUNTING!! Yes, I was shouting, this is unbelieveable! We have had only a handful of years with 40 or more inches of snow and it is the equivalent of hitting 50 or more home runs in baseball. Nature has certainly belted it out of the park. I will have more on this year's place in history tonight. One thing is for is the winter we will all remember! I will also never forget March 4, 2008. We had a rare phenomenon take place. Tonight, we will take a look at what caused that intense band of snow to form in a 20 to 30 mile wide area. Here is how it looked on radar.

Snow rates of just over an inch of hour pounded portions of Fountain, Warren, Tippecanoe, Carroll, Clinton, Howard, Cass, and Miami Counties. Snowflakes the sizes of golf balls were reported along with thundersleet near Tipton! The atmosphere became so charged up that Precision 18 Doppler was picking up hail spikes that we normally only see during a Spring or Summer thunderstorm.This did lead to a few reports of thunder along with one of the worst sleet storms some can ever remember in portions of Clinton, Tipton, and Howard Counties. A quick half-inch of sleet was reported and the ice pellets were coming down so hard that it sounded like hail. The thunder was just a side note that added to all the raucous. Here is what it looked like on radar.

his special phenomenon is called a TROWAL and by 7 p.m. most of Lafayette had 3 inches of fresh snow with drifts of 10 inches reported in spots. Notice the narrow band of heavier snow. Not even the best of weather models have the resoultion to forecast exactly where and when this may take place. It was just like trying to forecast exactly where a spring or summer thunderstorm will pop up.

Our blog question of the day: What is a TROWAL? (this is worth lots of bonus points and maybe a T-Shirt if you get it right) I will have your answer this evening.

In the meantime, enjoy these snowfall totals, snow-lovers! This winter has been a dream come true for many and yes, a nightmare for some.

Reports of 6" of snow with 12" drifts were received at Divison Road and 500 West. There were also a few trees reported down across the area due to the heavy snow and ice accumulations. The ground is also totally saturated from one of the stormiest winter's on record!

You can see below how it looked in Frankfort. It looks like Kelly Wilson found a few deer tracks, but otherwise the gem city was like a ghost town and very quiet after receiving over a month's worth of snow and ice in just a few hours! Snow does a great job of absorbing sound and some of your most peaceful walks are possible after a big snowstorm.

Tipton was roughed up as well and just shoveling out cars and scraping windows took a good 30 minutes. Travel on area roads was at a snail's pace. Powerlines were drooping very low under the weight of a good .20" of freezing rain and the heavy sleet that fell. Luckily, we have not had reports of power outages and the lighter winds moving in should help things.

It is certainly a winter wonderland once again across the area! The next are there any signs of more lions lurking. Well, late week into the weekend there are a few warning flags going up. Remember our models have a southern bias and that green shaded area representing moisture to the south could come a lot farther north in the form of MORE SNOW. Take a look and I will have more on this tonight on the news!

Have a great day! We might as well go for the snow record....I will make sure to share the top 5 years on the weathercast tonight as well and post them here for you by tomorrow! Thanks for all your help, pictures, and snow totals during the storm. I will try to post more pictures as they come in and remember the tornado drill this morning and evening. Only in Indiana can you be digging out from a snowstorm and have severe weather awareness drills! I LOVE THIS STATE!


Anonymous said...

TROugh of Warm Air ALoft. Typically used during winter weather, it is a "tongue" of relatively warm/moist air aloft that wraps around to the north and west of a mature cyclone. It is best analyzed between 750-550 mb using equivalent potential temperature.

Areas of intense lift and frontogenesis are commonly associated with TROWALs, hence they are favored regions for heavy and/or prolonged precipitation. During a winter storm, the heaviest snowfall amounts frequently occur along and north of the TROWAL axis.

Anonymous said...

and in English??

Anonymous said...

A trowal is part of the warm conveyor belt that turns cyclonically, (counterclockwise) into low pressure system. The trowal is a wedge of warm aloft, displaced poleward of the warm occluded front. A trowal is trough of warm air aloft.
Rachael lafayette

Anonymous said...

By Rachael cont. The transition of zones between two air masses, called frontal zones, The weather systems move at differet speeds since each air mass pushes them along at its own rate, this results in a trowal, that causes the transition from rain, snow, wind and thunderstorms. Cyclone like snow storms, I believe the trowal shows a curve on maps and have to be watched very close.

Anonymous said...

We live South of 28 and East of Romney, we had maybe 3/4" of sleet and freezing rain and 1" of snow! I'm a little disappointed that we missed it, although I'm ready for Summer!

Heather said...

Well everyone took my answers but I will still give it a shot, I like free t-shirts!

As everyone said it is a trough of warm air aloft. This concept originated in Canada in the mid 20th century. The term was introduced in 1955 but the concept was introduced in 1947.

Basically in english, a TROWAL is warm air aloft above much cooler surface air. The sloping axis of that warm air is the TROWAL. It causes a lot of precipitation to fall in this band.

Because they can cause a lot of precipitation they should be watched carefully but I can imagine that it would be difficult to predict one or to even pin point where in may fall.

here is my source

-Heather Smith

Anonymous said...

Sorry to Heather if you think everyone took your answers. My daughter and I did research on the net and had fun doing so! This is to be fun, We dont care if we win a T-shirt, we learned, so the next time we hear Mike say, Trowal, we will have a good idea what he is talking about. will know its not a graden tool he is referring to. you did a lot of research too! We like your answers keep enjoying this blog as we do. And have fun!

Heather said...

sorry if anyone thought my blog comment was rude, I was just saying I got here to late to really answer before anyone, and I was kidding about the tshirt. I love this blog and didn't mean to offend anyone if I did.
And Im glad you did your research, I learned a lot too, thats why I still answered. Ive always been a weather nut and enjoy learning new things.

Anonymous said...

Hey everyone. I just wanted to say that Mike does a good job of predicting our forecast. I just wish he could give us more of the spring temps instead of the snow, sleet, and hail that we had last night. Keep up the good job Mike. We love you in Carroll County.

Nathan said...

Mike - any insight into the special weather statement that was issued by the weather channel afternoon (not sure who issues what is posted there)? Are we getting another winter storm Thursday/Friday/Saturday?

Just Curious.

Anonymous said...

And the winner is??? MIKE PRANGLEY!!! Mike you are the best, sorry for us,, we will miss the 11:00 news, for its bed time. Will look foward to your blog in the morning.We truly mean that you are the best!
Thanks for keepintg up dated on the weather situations!