Hi, its Sleepless....are you awake? I am sure you are and can verify it with all the e-mails I am receiving here at 1 a.m. You all are crazy, you know that right. I think you have been hanging out with me for too long. But I think it is good to be different. Sleep? What is that? How do you go to sleep when you have the best weather bloggers in the country right here. I thought I was the only one that stayed up all night for weather until I moved to Lafayette. I am drinking some diet green tea and checking out the latest model runs here and listening to a 1981 CD full of great songs. I still think the Abba song, "Winner takes it all" is the best of the bunch. I think all weather fans are winners tonight. Las Vegas is having its biggest snowstorm in 30 years and that storm is moving our way. Yes, 3 to 6 inches of snow in the land of palm trees. Southern California has had thunderstorms tonight and flooding reported in the usually paradise-laden San Diego.
We have been upgraded to an ice storm warning in Tippecanoe County so it does look like some significant icing is on the way. But I do need to emphasize that this will not be anything close to the ice tornado that raked the area in 1991. This was the nickname given to the storm by many folks in Lafayette area due to all the damage it did. You see the picture above of the fuse box ripped from Mary Anne Best's home in Kentland during this infamous ice storm. Most of our viewing area was declared a disaster area with millions of dollars in damage. There were some ice accumulations of 2 to 3 inches around the area. Here is another amazing picture from the storm It was so bad that some folks were without power for almost a month. Here are a few more pictures of the devastation.
You can't go to sleep just yet. How can you dose off with a pictures like these. The power of nature is keeping me wide awake! Here is Mary Anne's amazing account. It gives me chills! I like snow but I just cannot ever wish for weather like this.
It was like living "Little House on the Prairie"! I remember helicopters setting light poles where many had come down. I think 50 light poles were down along St Rd #55 between Goodland/Brook if memory serves me.
The storm started around 3:00 p.m. and continued to get more serious all night. You could hear trees cracking, limbs falling, the electrical box was pulled off our house due to weight of ice on the line from the pole to the house.
People lost food in freezers due to power being out so long. IF there was a good side to the storm it was the fact it happened in March and it stayed warm. I’m talking in the 40*-50* range. The ice melted the next day leaving the tree damage. It was called an "ice tornado" due to all the tree damage and this went across the width of Indiana in a 50-60 mile wide path. Many older people would have died if the temps had been freezing and below as happens when a cold front comes through. As it was the temps warmed enough during the day you could almost get warm to bear the nights. We had no kerosene heater at the time. I remember going to bed with all my clothes on being under EIGHT blankets and still being cold.
I was Asst. Matron at the county jail at the time and since the Matron lived out of town it was up to me to fix meals for the inmates, and the county guys who stopped in plus the employees. The grocery store was a sight to behold. As you entered the store it was dark as pitch so they gave you a flashlight as you entered. There were no batteries to be had anywhere in town. I used three carts to shop for the jail and the line was clear to the back of the store. Cashiers held hand calculators to check us out.
Some people had generators which lit up the sky at night. Some had theirs stolen right out of their yards! And...scammers came to town with generators on low boys at prices double what they were worth.
I remember driving between towns and seeing NO lights in the country (after our power was restored).
Being connected to the jail I kept track of power coming on in towns to the east of Kentland. It seemed one town a day came back online. Since Kentland sits on the state line we were last. The night the NIPSCO trucks rolled into town the town came alive with people driving about. We happened to be uptown when the power came on. It was funny...it was 9:00 at night but lights were on in the bank, the grocery store, all the stores uptown, just as they had been shortly after 5:00 p.m. when the power went out one week and one day before.
This is probably more info than you wanted but my mind kept drawing on more memories. I do NOT want to repeat them, please God!
Mary Anne IN Remington :-)
A big thank you to Mary Anne for recounting this story and sending those eye-opening pictures! She is a wealth of information and knowledge and no weather blog would ever be complete without her input. Our weather team here really appreciates all the help and information she gives us on a daily basis. I do have good news Mary Anne! You can rest a little easier tonight. Here is what we are expecting this time around and the news is much better!
I put most of our area in the up to a quarter-inch of ice possible. There will still be a few areas north of Rensselaer and in northern Newton, Jasper, Pulaski, and Fulton Counties that could be in the .25" to .50" range. As long as most of us stay below that critical .50" of ice..... which I think we can power outages will be more isolated and most of the tree damage will be on the minor side with small limbs down around the area. The biggest threat with this ice storm on the way will be on the roadways and trying to walk to your car. My best advice is if you do not need to travel tonight or you can put it off please do so. It is just not worth taking a chance. I want everybody to enjoy a White Christmas. Now here are the reasons why I do think we are dodging the worst of the ice but by no means will we take this storm lightly.
Reason #1 Storm Track
Latest model runs shift our low pressure track a little farther north. Notice the original track (blue) is now about 30 to 40 miles farther north (orange). With cold air and high pressure locked in for areas of Chicago and Wisconsin this means a monster snowstorm is on the way. Some areas will exceed one foot of snow just north of Chicago into the southern portions of Wisconsin. Even Chicago proper could see 6 to 10 inches of snow based on the latest soundings that are colder aloft supporting tons of snow and very little in the way of any ice...congratulations!) What this means for Lafayette is we will have the change-over as expected to all rain after midnight tonight and our ice totals while significant will not be devastating.
Reason #2 Strong Low-Level Jet Stream & Convective Precipitation
Notice how much rain is being forecasted across the area. We could have heavy downpours and even thunderstorms develop late at night and first thing Friday morning. The heavier your precipitation in this case the better news for LESS ICE! A southwest wind at 50 to 65 mph just above the surface should overwhelm our cold air mass in place causing not just rapidly rising air but helping to stir up the atmosphere and advect warmer air into the area at the surface. In addition, heavy rain tends to release more heat in the atmosphere and cuts down on the ice accumulations especially with our temperatures expected to rise above freezing after midnight. I think Chicago may even have thundersnow to look forward to. I wish I could go SNOW CHASING. Here is our wild timeline. Keep in mind the latest runs tonight have backed up the arrival of the ice until closer to 7 p.m. We will see how that works out.
A change-over to all rain in Tippecanoe by 1 a.m......White County 2 a.m......Northern Counties 3 a.m. I will update this through the day and have the latest breakdowns on ice and rain. This is what it looks like here at 2:16 a.m. I am going to get a few winks of sleep so I am fresh tomorrow. Oh yes! One more thing, my voice is getting better and no I wasn't sick. I lost my voice because I was cheering on the Washington Redskins quite vociferously on Sunday afternoon at Paul Brown Stadium. Somebody needed to wake that football team up so they could at least make a game of it against the Bengals. Thanks for all your suggestions on helping my voice out and all your support. You are the lifeline of this station we call WLFI. I will check back with you soon.