First snowflakes of the season possible by midweek

Authored by Jim Langham on Oct 23, 2013

It’s not going to be anything like the freak snowstorm of October, 1989, but there is an outside chance that local residents could see a few snowflakes mixed in with cold rain today and tomorrow.
According to National Weather Service officials, a major outbreak of cold air that pushed into the area on Tuesday could linger for the rest of October and into the first part of November.
To add insult to injury, a phenomenon normally associated with the winter season, could occur when a weather system normally referred to as an, “Alberta Clipper,” originated in western Canada and pushed into the Midwest bringing cold winds and rain on Tuesday night. The track of that storm has everything to do with whether or not some wet snow (no accumulation expected) could mix into the storm.
Right now, weather officials at the National Weather Service in Syracuse said that it appears that the main storm track will split the state of Indiana toward Cincinnati and then track along the Ohio River. If that were to happen, it would have Adams County north of the storm track, providing enough cold air mixing into the system to possibly create some snowflakes with the rain later today and into Thursday morning.
“Don’t let it give you alarm,” said weather specialist Rick McCoy. “We don’t think at this point that if that does occur, there will be any accumulation. However, it is a harbinger to let us know that seasons are rapidly changing.
“As you can feel, there has been a major change in the jet stream over the past week. It’s not unusual, but it has been sudden when you consider the fact that two weeks ago we were still having temperatures in the low 80s, and now we are looking to find it difficult to move out of the 40s most of this week.”
One thing that weather officials are fairly certain about is the fact that this week will see several possibilities of frost and freeze conditions. However, said McCoy, that’s not unusual since the average date for the first reading of 32 degrees in this area is Oct. 20; the average date for a temperature 28 degrees or lower is Oct. 28.
The earliest freeze on record in this area is Sept. 23 on three different years, 1967, 1974 and 1995. The latest day on record for a freeze occurred in 1931 on Nov. 24.
McCoy said that the extended forecast for the rest of October calls for temperatures well below normal and precipitation slightly below normal. Average highs for this point in October are in the mid-50s and average lows are in the upper 30s.
This past Saturday, Oct. 19, was the 24th anniversary of one of the largest October snowstorms on record in the Midwest when 6-10 inches of snow fell from southern Michigan across the entire state of Indiana to northern Kentucky, with Fort Wayne recording 10.5 inches of snow.
Since the storm occurred on a Thursday night and Friday morning, many football fields in the area were surrounded with huge mounds of snow from the fields being plowed in order to play football. Ironically, five days later, temperatures in the state had recovered to 75-80 degrees.
In Kokomo, where nearly 12 inches of snow had fallen on Oct. 19, Oct. 24 recorded a high of 76 degrees.
Following this week’s clipper, National Weather Service officials are predicting chilly weather and possible lake effect showers or showers and snow mixed for the rest of the week.

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