Snowy winter predicted for central Indiana

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INDIANAPOLIS - Just about three months from now, millions of people around the world will tune in for the 2012 Super Bowl. But the memories they take away about the City of Indianapolis may come down to how well we deal with snow, and perhaps more importantly, ice.

It was just last February that Indiana had an ice storm on Super Bowl weekend. Up to a quarter inch of ice coated the central part of the state.

With that in mind, the Department of Public Works and the Department of Transportation are going to work more closely together. The city has plans to use the airport's snow cat, a huge machine capable of melting large amounts in short periods of time. If necessary, Indianapolis will even borrow plows from Crawfordsville and Seymour.

Of course, the best plans can only work if you know enough to be ahead of the storm. In order to continue our commitment to providing superior weather coverage, WTHR Channel 13 is adding Dr. David Call from Ball State University. An assistant professor of geography, Dr. Call teaches classes in physical geography, elementary meteorology, severe local storms, and broadcast meteorology.

Dealing with snow and ice in a normal winter is a challenge. Dealing with it during the year that the city is hosting the Super Bowl is a whole 'nother ball game.

"The Super Bowl falls on one of the coldest times of the year on average. If there's any time of year it's gonna snow, it's probably right around the Super Bowl. We'll have to be ready. Hopefully we won't see any big storms. We've had some big storms in the past but as long we just get a few inches of snow, I think we'd consider that good luck," said Dr. Call.

Dr. Call is going to become a familiar face to Eyewitness News viewers. He's an expert in winter weather and will be with us throughout the season to help us keep your family safe.

"It's also probably gonna be stormier than average because with La Nina pattern, you usually see more storms than usual. I think the big question is whether or not those storms line up with the cold weather. That's a little less clear. But certainly it seems likely we'll see a fair amount of snow and ice," said Call.

During La Nina years, warmer waters over the Pacific push the main storm track farther north. That alters the jet stream and brings frequent storms to the northern part of the nation and keeps the southern half of the country dry. For central Indiana we're expecting above normal precipitation and below average temperatures. That means more snow than normal.

This was the same overall pattern we saw last year. We had heavy snow starting in December and totaled 35.9 inches for the season, 14 inches above average. The bottom line: The average date of first snow for Indianapolis is November 19th. Expect a long snowy winter with at least anywhere from 20 to 35 inches of snow.

So get ready! Heavy snow will be here before you know it.