Central Indiana winter storm timeline

Published: .
Updated: .

Christmas Day is the calm before the storm in central Indiana. A blizzard warning goes into effect from 1:00 am to 7:00 pm Wednesday.

Snow is expected to start falling Wednesday morning, with the heaviest snow falling between 10:00 am and 6:00 pm. There will likely be snow on the ground by 8:00 am in the Indianapolis metro area.

Expect heavy, wet snow and blowing and drifting. Winds could gust to 30 mph creating white-out conditions. The combination of sub-freezing temps and howling winds could drop wind chills to around 10 degrees. Travel will be treacherous, so if you have to hit the roads, you'll want to do so tonight, or you might have to wait until the storm winds down Wednesday evening.

This is a potent storm packing a lot of moisture and computer models seem to be honing in on colder temps. With sub-freezing temps and the rain/snow line staying in far southern Indiana, we'll likely see all snow here in the Indy Metro. That, combined with liquid amounts in excess of one inch could mean over ten inches of heavy, wet snow.

Right now, it looks like the jackpot totals of up to fifteen inches might be in areas like Shelbyville, Columbus, and Greensburg. Snow totals will drop as you head to the north and west, with a half foot possible for Crawfordsville and Kokomo and up to a foot for Carmel and Fishers. This forecast isn't set in stone, but we could be dealing with one of the biggest December snowstorms on record. The biggest was thirteen inches on December 20th, 1973.

Temperatures may start out in the low 30s first thing in the morning, but colder air wraps into the storm during the day Wednesday, which means temps falling into the upper 20s during the day. Winds sustained out of the northeast around 20-30 mph with gusts to 40 are possible.

The cold sticks around for your WTHR seven-day (the snow pack makes it harder to warm up since the sun's energy goes into melting the snow rather than warming us up.) Another storm approaches late Friday night and Saturday. At this point it looks much weaker and could bring anywhere from a coating to a few inches of additional snow, subject to change.

This storm will have a significant impact on airports, highways and secondary roads. Delays and cancellations are expected.

See local closings and delays here.

See nationwide flight delays here.

Strong winds will cause blowing and drifting on the roads. That could be a problem especially on I-65 between Indianapolis and Chicago (most notably the stretch from Lafayette to Crown Point, where it's more difficult to control icing, blowing and drifting). I-70 statewide could also be a problem.

Watch the latest Weather Forecast from Chuck Lofton.

The City of Indianapolis is activating its Snow Force plan starting Tuesday night. A full call-out of 118 drivers will report at 11:00 pm to pre-treat the roads.

INDOT crews have already begun pre-treating bridges and roadways with salt brine, an anti-icing solution. INDOT will continue to monitor multiple developing forecasts, as well as a statewide network of road and bridge pavement sensors, to deploy the needed personnel, equipment and materials ahead of any predicted accumulation. INDOT's top winter priority is to plow and treat its more than 30,000 lane miles of interstates, U.S. highways and state routes.

Check travel conditions here.

You can also call toll-free 1-800-261-ROAD (7623) for updated Indiana travel information, including road conditions, road closures, construction information, crashes and other traffic alerts.

INDOT asks drivers to promote their own safety and that of others by offering the following tips:

· ACCELERATE GRADUALLY on ice or snow to avoid slipping and sliding
· DRIVE SLOWLY and carefully to avoid rear-end collisions and sliding on curves
· ALLOW GREATER DISTANCE behind the car ahead; it takes more time to stop on snow and ice
· BRAKE EARLY, break slowly, never slam on the brakes; if you have anti-lock brakes, press the pedal down firmly and hold it; if you don't, gently pump the pedal
· NO CRUISE CONTROL; avoid abrupt steering maneuvers
· MAINTAIN GOOD VISIBILITY, stay alert and use your headlights so others can see you
· GIVE SNOWPLOWS ROOM to operate; don't tailgate or try to pass

WTHR.com weather tools

See all watches and warnings here.

Sign up for Personal Forecast - This allows you to receive text or email alerts whenever there is a watch or warning in the counties you have specified.

Interactive radar - Zoom in and get a closer look at the shape and path of the storm.

Live 13 Doppler Radar - WTHR's main radar page.

Get the WTHR SkyTrak Weather app! (for Droid and iPhone) This includes radar links plus alerts.

Share your weather pictures