Winter storm aims for central Indiana Thursday night

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A powerful winter storm system is on its way to central Indiana.  The storm should start about dinner time tonight, and will not let up until you leave for work Friday morning.

The National Weather Service issued a Winter Weather Advisory for most of the state of Indiana from 7:00 pm Thursday through 10:00 am Friday.  A Winter Weather Advisory means that periods of snow, sleet or freezing rain will cause travel difficulties.

Storm timeline:

Some spotty areas of light freezing rain enter the Indianapolis metro area between 5:00 and 6:00 pm.

By 11:00 pm, we will see widespread areas of freezing rain and light snow.

At 5:00 am Friday, there will be areas of freezing rain in the Indianapolis area and rain from Martinsville to Bloomington. 

By 8:00 am Friday, most of the precipitation will have moved out.

Crews with Indy Snow Force began treating the roads at 11:00 am. Ninety drivers will work 12-hour shifts throughout the day and night. The crews will apply salt to 6,000 lane miles and bridges using ClearLane, a salt treated with magnesium chloride. This helps to create a barrier between the pavement and precipitation mixture. Crews will not salt side streets.

INDOT will prepare area highways for the storm.

Citizens with disabilities or those who may need medical or health-related assistance should contact Connect 2 Help at 211, or 926-HELP (926-4357). Residents may also visit

With significant ice mixed in snow, this particular storm brings its own set of problems.

Hardware stores like Sullivan's are stocking up on salt pellets, anticipating a rush of people who haven't had to use it in a while, but realize now they may need to stock up.

There are also things you can do that can help prevent your car from freezing over.

Put a blanket or newspaper or cardboard on your windshield before you go to bed tonight to act as a barrier between the ice and glass.  Spray a mixture of two parts alcohol or vinegar to one part water on your windshield to help melt any ice that forms. 

With ice also comes the possibility of power outages.  Make sure you have several flashlights handy, some dry firewood if you have a wood-burning fireplace, and, if you have a generator, that its gas tank is full.

The Red Cross recommends you have a cooler with ice for preserving food.  If the power is out two hours or less, you should not worry about food spoiling. 

Sixteen states from as far west as Arizona, north to Minnesota, south to Arkansas and east to Indiana are under winter weather advisories, winter storm watches and winter storm warnings. Up to eight inches of snow is likely across the Great Plains and up to a foot of snow is likely across the mountains in southern Colorado.

Closer to home, Thursday will be a dry day with clouds increasing in the afternoon. Snow develops across Indiana around 8pm. Snow will mix with sleet and freezing rain by 11pm. Due to southerly winds, temperatures will rise after midnight and our mixed precipitation will change to freezing rain after 2 a.m. and continue through 8 a.m. All of central Indiana will receive a tenth of an inch of ice during that time frame.

Along with the ice, we will also have minor snow accumulations. From Lafayette to Kokomo to Muncie, two inches of snow is likely. From Greencastle to Indianapolis to Zionsville to Richmond, one inch of snow is likely. From Bloomington to Columbus to Seymour, a half-inch of snow is likely. The combination of ice and snow will coat the roadways before the Friday morning rush hour and will cause numerous school delays and closings.

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