County under winter storm warning, up to six inches still expected

Johnson County is expected to be under a blanket of snow by Wednesday.

The National Weather Service in Indianapolis issued a Winter Storm Warning Tuesday morning that will be in effect until 7 p.m. Wednesday for a large portion of central and northeastern Indiana, including Johnson County.

Heavy snowfall is expected, starting around 4 a.m. Wednesday, until about noon. Flurries are possible into Thursday evening, according to the most recent forecast.

As of the Tuesday afternoon forecast, the Johnson County area is expected to get anywhere between three to six inches of snow from the storm. Because of the location of the county, snowfall may vary in the northern and southern areas, said Andrew White, meteorologist at NWS. Some areas could get less snow, some could get more.

“On our forecast now, we have anywhere from four to six inches across the northern portion, down to maybe two to three inches across the south. So, it’s going to be kind of where you are in the county and where you are set up, it’s going to be highly variable,” White said.

Precipitation was expected to begin as early as midnight, starting with rain and switching quickly to snow, and the heaviest snowfall is set to start in the dawn hours around 4 a.m., White said.

A broad area of four to eight inches of snow is expected across the central Indiana region and Indianapolis, with higher amounts north and west of Indianapolis. Further south, rain and some dry air may limit amounts.

Lingering snow showers could continue into Thursday night, so there could be another inch of accumulation in some areas after the main snowfall Wednesday, White said.

Unlike the last winter storm that affected Indiana around Christmas, no ice accumulations are expected. Dangerously cold temperatures like what was seen in December are also not expected, White said. Temperatures are expected to remain right at freezing between 30 and 32 degrees throughout Wednesday into the next couple of days.

Heavy snowfall in the morning hours will affect visibility on morning commutes, White said. These conditions can make driving on highways and roads hazardous. There will be periods where visibility will be less than a quarter mile.

“Anytime you get down to that point driving, especially at interstate speeds is pretty dangerous because you can only see five, 10 seconds ahead of where you are,” White said.

The Indiana Department of Transportation plans to have all staff on full call throughout the state on Wednesday. INDOT will have nearly 1,000 trucks treating and plowing state highways, interstates and U.S. routes by early Wednesday, according to an INDOT news release.

Impacts to morning and evening commutes Wednesday are expected, and INDOT’s goal is to “keep highways passable during the storm.” INDOT officials say drivers should remember to slow down, increase following distance, give plow trucks room to work and allow plenty of extra time to reach their destinations.

Motorists should closely monitor forecasts and avoid unnecessary travel during higher-impact timeframes during the storm, which are anticipated during the mid-morning and afternoon Wednesday. Those who must travel should expect to encounter slush and snow-covered roads, as well as low visibility, INDOT says. For drivers traveling on north-south routes like I-65 and I-69, expect conditions to worsen when approaching central Indiana, where higher snow totals are predicted.

NWS predicts morning commutes would be most affected by the heavy snowfall period, and conditions will be better closer to the evening commute. Snow is likely to continue later Wednesday, but not as heavy, White said. The snow in these temperatures is expected to be wet and slushy, making it easier for plows to clear roads. There are also not high, frigid winds expected to blow the snow.

Some schools in Johnson County already called closing in-person classes by late Tuesday afternoon. By the late afternoon, Clark-Pleasant and Center Grove schools announced students would have e-learning days today. Franklin Community Schools posted a message to parents Tuesday morning explaining school officials were monitoring the weather forecast, and explained what virtual learning and e-learning days mean for students. But the school did not announce a closure at the time.

With general winter safety, people should make sure they have food and water just in case they’re not able to venture out. If someone has to travel, make sure to take extra time and to have blankets, water and food in case they get stranded on roadways.