More snow clogs Monday commute; now for the thaw
POST-TRIBUNE STAFF REPORT February 17, 2014 11:52AM
Braving the storm, Jessica DeWitt, Aime Livingston, Nancy Miller and Kathy DeWitt cross Lincolnway in Valparaiso after having lunch together. | James D. Wolf Jr./For the Post-Tribune
Updated: February 18, 2014 2:01AM
White-out conditions and snow packed roads made Monday afternoon’s commute a slow and treacherous experience.
Snow started falling in the morning, but it started to pickup around noon and continued falling at a rate of one-two inches through the early evening. Northwest Indiana received between 4 to 6 inches. Shortly before 5 p.m., spotters reported 5 inches on the ground in Portage and 4 inches in Valparaiso, according to the National Weather Service.
There were several reports of thundersnow in the region as well.
National Weather Service meterologist Mike Bardou said thundersnow is rare but happens when there’s a dynamic, strong storm system.
“It’s the same process as in strong thunderstorms in the spring and fall,” Bardou said. “In this case, it was a warm, moist air mass coming up from the south clashing with cold air from the north and creating an unstable system. This time of year you can start to see that phenomenon.”
There were even several lightning strikes reported in the area by the Lightning Detection Network, Bardou said.
INDOT had a full callout of plows on the road, but blowing snow and visibility of only 10 to 20 feet made things challenging and quickly covered roads once again.
A few area schools dismissed early, including Indiana University Northwest and Purdue University Calumet, or cancelled evening activities, but none plan to delay or cancel school on Tuesday.
The snow should start to melt starting Tuesday, when temperatures are set to reach 40 degrees. But with the large amount of snow already on the ground, flooding could become a problem, especially as rain is forecast on Thursday.
Bardou said it’s going to be tough to gauge the snow melt. Rain forecast on Thursday could quicken the process, or just absorb into existing snow mounds, depending on how much temperatures increase, he said.