Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sleepless in Lafayette Bracing for Ice & Thunderstorms!

Kentland, Indiana on March 13,1991 after being hit with the ICE TORNADO

Hi, its Sleepless....are you awake? I am sure you are and can verify i
t 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).


I promised I would never fuss about a utility bill again....ever!


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.


16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'M up with ya Mike!

I'M starting to forget what that word Sleep means????? :)

Justin in Lafayette

Pam said...

I'm here too, Mike! Checking out all the radars & warnings! I am in Monticello but work in Lafayette & Logansport..my office is in Sheridan so i have lots of weather to look up!!
I bet i cut meetings short tomorrow in Lafayette & head home by 3pm!! :)

Anonymous said...

WOW Those are somempictures Mary anne sent in! Like I said earlier I did not get to see the Ice storm of 1991 but I did see somw old home movies! And it did not look to good! I do like me a lot of snow but the Ice I could do with out!! I think a lot of people would agree! Well at least Mary Anne would! :)

You can really see the tree limbs pulling down!! And the thinck ice on the power lines! WOW! That is really something!

You could say it is beautiful be VERY VERY DANGEROUS!!!!! That is the thing with nature!! It is so beautiful and can catch us off guard!

Again that is really something!

Justin in Lafayette

Anonymous said...

LOL Mike I will most likely lose my voice later today! As the COLTS Play again! I will be watching the game in between my blog post! LOL! I can't miss a game! There my Team!!!!! I know I say that a lot but it's true!! :-)

You must have been yelling hard!!!!! :-)

See you all here in the morning! I'M doing the same Mike gotta get SOME what's that word again??

OH YA Sleep! I think that's right! :-) Night!

Justin in Lafayette

Anonymous said...

Wonderfully detailed Mike, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Just curious Mike, Why doesn't it say snow for Tuesday on your forecast anymore?

Anonymous said...

INZ021-028>031-038-040>042-181730-
/O.EXT.KIND.IS.W.0001.081219T0000Z-081219T1400Z/
CARROLL-WARREN-TIPPECANOE-CLINTON-HOWARD-TIPTON-MADISON-DELAWARE-
RANDOLPH-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...LAFAYETTE...FRANKFORT...KOKOMO...
ANDERSON...MUNCIE
429 AM EST THU DEC 18 2008
...ICE STORM WARNING NOW IN EFFECT FROM 7 PM THIS EVENING TO 9 AM
EST FRIDAY...

THE ICE STORM WARNING IS NOW IN EFFECT FROM 7 PM THIS EVENING TO
9 AM EST FRIDAY.

A STRONG STORM SYSTEM WILL DEVELOP ACROSS THE CENTRAL PLAINS ON
THIS AFTERNOON AND MOVE QUICKLY EAST. AS IT DOES...A STRONG COLD
HIGH PRESSURE FROM CANADA WILL MOVE SOUTH INTO THE LAKES REGION.
THIS WILL CAUSE A SITUATION WHERE COLD AIR AT THE GROUND ALLOWS
RAIN FALLING TO FREEZE ON SURFACES.

LIGHT FREEZING RAIN WILL MOVE IN AFTER 7 PM THURSDAY...WITH THE
GREATEST POTENTIAL FOR FREEZING RAIN AFTER 9 PM. GRADUALLY...
WARMER AIR FROM THE SOUTH WILL MOVE NORTHWARD AND CAUSE
TEMPERATURES TO SLOWLY RISE ABOVE FREEZING EARLY FRIDAY MORNING.
BEFORE THIS HAPPENS...ICE ACCUMULATIONS UP TO A THIRD OF AN INCH
ARE POSSIBLE ACROSS NORTH CENTRAL INDIANA.

AN ICE STORM WARNING MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE
EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF ICE ACCUMULATIONS
WILL MAKE TRAVEL DANGEROUS OR IMPOSSIBLE. TRAVEL IS STRONGLY
DISCOURAGED. COMMERCE WILL LIKELY BE SEVERELY IMPACTED. IF YOU
MUST TRAVEL...KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT...FOOD...AND WATER IN YOUR
VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY. ICE ACCUMULATIONS AND WINDS WILL
LIKELY LEAD TO SNAPPED POWER LINES AND FALLING TREE BRANCHES THAT
ADD TO THE DANGER.

THE WARINIG HAS BEEN EXTENDED UNTILL 9:00 AM fRIDAY!

Anonymous said...

Here is the latest update from 5:42 am

HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE INDIANAPOLIS IN
542 AM EST THU DEC 18 2008

INZ021-028>031-038-040>042-191100-
CARROLL-WARREN-TIPPECANOE-CLINTON-HOWARD-TIPTON-MADISON-DELAWARE-
RANDOLPH-
542 AM EST THU DEC 18 2008

THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR CENTRAL INDIANA.

.DAY ONE...TODAY AND TONIGHT.

STRONG LOW PRESSURE WILL CAUSE A MIX OF PRECIPITATION BY TONIGHT. AN
ICE STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT TONIGHT AND EARLY FRIDAY FOR
SIGNIFICANT FREEZING RAIN. ICE ACCUMULATIONS UP TO A HALF INCH ARE
POSSIBLE AS FREEZING RAIN MOVES IN. THIS CAN MAKE FOR HAZARDOUS
WALKING AND DRIVING CONDITIONS.

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...FRIDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY.

ICE STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT EARLY FRIDAY MORNING. A LOW
PRESSURE SYSTEM MAY BRING SOME SNOW OR ICE ACCUMULATIONS LATE
SATURDAY NIGHT OR EARLY SUNDAY.

.SPOTTER INFORMATION STATEMENT...

SPOTTER ACTIVATION IS NOT ANTICIPATED.

&&

MORE INFORMATION...ALONG WITH OTHER WEATHER...HYDROLOGICAL AND
CLIMATE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND...AT HTTP://WEATHER.GOV/IND (ALL
LOWERCASE)

Anonymous said...

Wow Mike! Didn't know I would get top billing with my pix and story. :-) :-) It was really something to live through for sure. I am glad to see the amount of ice we got in '91. I had no idea how much, I was too busy and in fact saw NO coverage of the storm since we had no power for so long. I will have to google that!

I also have pix from Paul Hadfield in IL of their ice storm in more recent years.

Thanks, Dustin for the info in the aquarium! Hopefully I won't need it!! Also to "Anon" for the very detailed and informative info :-)

Stay safe everyone!

MA in REM

Pam, Monticello said...

Why are you posting the warnings off HTTP://WEATHER.GOV/IND ?? Mike is doing a wonderful job staying up most the night keeping everyone updated...Like me, if i want the warnings as issued by NOAA I go to their sight I am sure every weather enthusiast does the same. On the closings & delays, some places including schools dont bother to call them in before 5 mins to get there! I know I worked at our local school & have a daughter in high school..our schools are very slow at getting the delays out if it isnt a 100% sure thing. Roads were horid yesterday and they didnt bother to delay. Seems they would be taking every precaution considering we have lost so many children already this year here!! Guess they really dont care how dangerous it is outside !

Anonymous said...

oh lord more Ice..... i just hope the roads will be ok when i get off of work tonight at 6:00 go pick up the kids and then head home.. hope and pray roads are ok..

Anonymous said...

Well I just googled the ice storm of 1991 finding this in the history of TIPMONT. There is an error in this article regarding the Palm Sunday tornadoes. It was 1965, NOT 1964.

STORMS
Storms always play havoc with utility companies. They cause abnormal outages and are very costly. Tipmont REMC has had its fair share. In the summer of l950, one such storm caused an unusual amount of outages. An ice storm in April 1957 was the most destructive one in history at that time, costing some $6,000 to rebuild and restore service to the members. The Palm Sunday tornado of 1964 caused much destruction in Montgomery and Clinton counties. Ice storms in January l967 and Good Friday 1975 did their share of damage also. In March 1991, west central Indiana was hit with the worst ice storm in history. Tipmont REMC lost electricity to approximately 65 % of the members. The hardest hit areas were Tippecanoe County, Clinton County and the northern part of Fountain County. Tipmont REMC received help from cooperatives in southern Indiana and surrounding states for almost two weeks to restore service. Many miles of lines had to be built from the beginning. Suppliers delivered the much needed materials around the clock.

Anonymous said...

My best memory of the '91 ice storm was our 3 year old daughter repeatedly going over to the TV to turn it on. The look on her face and her questions were priceless. She just didn't understand why it wouldn't come on! Our woodburner kept us warm as toast..we spent the time in shorts and t-shirts. After a while, when the refrigerator wasn't keeping things cold enough, we put everything in plastic garbage bags outside and packed snow and ice around it. It was a lot of fun, kind of like camping. We lived in the country, so had a good excuse to hunker down at home for a few days. Everything in town had come to a standstill anyway, so there wasn't any reason to get out. If it happened today, we would all go crazy without our internet and other conveniences we are so accustomed to. But it would be nice to have a day where we could say we were 'stranded' at home due to icy roads!

Thanks Mike for the great posts!

Anonymous said...

LSC school cancelled all after school activties for this evening. They did so very early this am. GOOD CALL!!

When I was out at 11:00 this morning there was what i think was freezing fog. Iwonder how much ice we will get like all of you are wondering.

Anonymous said...

Wow Pam, I didn't realize that people would take this as a slam against Mike. I was just trying to provide an update since Mike was not in yet. I was trying to help and thought that the bloggers here would appreciate it. Guess not. Maybe another site will appreciate the updates since it is not welcome here.

Pam said...

I just ask, most people that are up at all hours (like us) are watching every weather update they know of..when it gets this bad out. I sure hope Twin Lakes cancels in the morning or at least delays..but as you said tomorrow is finals and we all know our kids safety isnt as important as finals! I am so tired of schools not carrying if our kids are safe!!
Didnt mean to offend you, please accept my apology!
Pam