Look out below, Hoosiers, frigid weather on the way
Central Indiana is expected to see its coldest weather in 20 years in the coming week.
How cold is it ...
It is expected to be the coldest day since Lorena Bobbitt shortcut her way to being a household name or ice skater Nancy Kerrigan was kneecapped by Tonya Harding's bodyguard or a 6.6 magnitude earthquake killed 30 in Los Angeles -- all in January 1994.
For the Putnam County area, any temperature lower than -12 degrees would be the coldest recorded since that January.
The current forecast for the Indianapolis area, including Greencastle, is calling for a low of 16 below zero on Tuesday morning.
The all-time record low for the Indianapolis area is 27 below set Jan. 19, 1994. The Indiana record is -36 set that same day in New Whiteland. Simultaneously a temperature of -28 was recorded in Putnam County on that historic 1994 date.
On Friday morning the temperature dipped to -6.7 degrees following 6.5 inches of new snow, Putnam County weather observer Diana Foust reported. She registered 5.5 inches of snow at 7 a.m. Thursday and an additional inch of snowfall over the next 24 hours.
The last time it was colder than Friday morning, the National Weather Service (NWS) said, was on Jan. 16, 2009 when it was a bitter-cold -12 degrees.
The coldest conditions in 20 years are expected to make their presence known locally by Monday. Sub-zero high temperatures will be likely with Monday's high presently being predicted day's high presently being predicted at a frigid -11 or -12.
Only 16 times since the NWS began keeping records in 1871 has a high for the day been a below-zero reading.
Central Indiana's last sub-zero high temperature occurred Feb. 10, 2011 when the high reached only -1, the NWS said.
The low temperature Tuesday morning is being forecast at -15 degrees, which would match a low achieved in January 1994. Meanwhile, dangerous wind chills in the -30 to -40 range are expected.
Another round of significant snowfall could potentially hit central and southern Indiana on Sunday, followed by extremely cold temperatures that will affect the entire state.
Snow is expected to begin falling late Saturday night and will be heavy at times through the day Sunday before tapering off late in the day as a strengthening low-pressure system swings by to the south and east of Indiana, funneling moisture and cold air into the state.
More specific snow totals will depend on the track the storm takes. Forecasters believe a swath of a foot or more of accumulation is possible in parts of central Indiana.
Early projections are calling for general accumulations of 7-10 inches, with snow piling up in some areas to a foot or more. The heaviest snow is expected to hit between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday with an inch of snow per hour falling across most of central Indiana.
Meanwhile, state agencies are advising Hoosiers to prepare now for the frigid weather.
Hoosiers can take the time now to develop a plan for a potential power outage. The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) recommends citizens look up their electric utility's outage reporting phone number and add it to their cell phone contact list.
The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) recommends every household have an emergency preparedness kit. Essential supplies to gather ahead of time in case utilities are disrupted:
-- Food and water for three days (including three gallons of water per person, per day).
-- Battery-operated all-hazards radio.
-- Flashlight with extra batteries for radio and flashlight.
-- Extra clothing, warm blankets, sleeping bags for staying warm in your home if you lose power.
-- Special items (baby formula, insulin, medications).
With the potential for additional snow, Hoosiers should carefully consider if travel is necessary. The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) will continue to monitor forecasts for the storm beginning Saturday night and deploy the needed personnel, equipment and materials ahead of any predicted accumulation.
Motorists are encouraged to avoid travel during and after the storm as high winds are expected to reduce visibility for drivers.
Temperatures well below freezing are expected to follow the storm, reducing the effectiveness of road salt in melting the snow and ice. INDOT will be treating the salt with specialty chemicals.
For road updates, visit http://indot.carsprogram.org or call 800-261-ROAD.