Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Christmas week snowstorm in Ohio River valley broke all records

08.04.2005


Even though spring and warm-weather thoughts are here, a chilling, soon-to-be published report says that December’s immense Midwest snowstorm was one to remember.



The Dec. 22-23 storm broke all records for storm intensity, size, and damages, garnered national attention, and dumped record snowfall -- not only across Illinois but also in the Ohio River valley where heavy snows and ice seldom occur, said Stanley Changnon, chief emeritus of the Illinois State Water Survey.

Full details of the storm -- the most significant in the region in 104 years -- will be detailed in a report prepared by the ISWS. "Along with 17 deaths and thousands of injuries, losses in the transportation sector from flight delays and cancellations, and other losses and damages associated with the storm exceeded $900 million," said Changnon, an adjunct professor of geography at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "That figure includes $230 million in insured property losses, qualifying the storm as a national winter storm catastrophe, defined as an event in which losses exceed $25 million."


More than 120 counties in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio declared snow emergencies. Losses are nearly double the $120 million average for the nation’s winter snowstorms and rank 32nd among the nation’s 167 catastrophic winter storms since records began in 1949, Changnon said.

Snowfall exceeded 6 inches over 121,000 square miles, an area roughly the size of Illinois and Indiana. The storm struck at the peak of travel for 62 million people -- the most travelers in any holiday season, including 51 million by car. Southern and eastern portions had freezing rain, with ice layers up to 2 inches thick in parts of Kentucky and Ohio.

"The timing of the storm couldn’t have been worse, making travel hazardous and stranding thousands of holiday travelers across the Midwest," he said. "The storm’s southwest-northeast orientation from the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers at Cairo, Ill., to Cleveland blocked both east-west traffic across the eastern United States and north-south traffic between the Midwest and South."

The storm generally lasted 30 hours along and south of a line from Cape Girardeau, Mo., across southern Illinois to Evansville, Ind., and Louisville, Ky., and then into the Ohio cities of Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus. "What’s unusual is that this record snowfall occurred over rolling topography and hills, areas that usually don’t have heavy snows," Changnon said.

Record snow fell in southern Indiana (29 inches at Seymour, 24.5 inches at Greensburg, 22.3 inches at Evansville, and 18 inches at Bloomington), Ohio (24 inches at Greenfield and 23 inches at Mansfield), and Kentucky (14 inches at Paducah). Illinois records were at Carmi (18 inches), McLeansboro (14 inches) and Carbondale (12 inches).

Temperatures across the Midwest fell well below freezing after the storm began before plunging to their coldest levels all winter on Dec. 24-25, including minus 11 degrees Fahrenheit, a new record low on Christmas Day at Evansville.

"Local, urban, county and state snow-removal facilities just were not equipped to deal with such a massive storm," Changnon said, noting that many rescue vehicles became stuck in snow and ice, jack-knifed semitrailers blocked both lanes on interstates, and airports experienced numerous delays and more than 200 flight cancellations.

Chances for a heavy snowstorm in the Midwest late in the spring are slim, he added. "If such a storm did occur, warmer temperatures quickly would melt any snow."

Eva Kingston | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.sws.uiuc.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Preservation of floodplains is flood protection
27.09.2017 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electrode materials from the microwave oven

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

New material for digital memories of the future

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Physics boosts artificial intelligence methods

19.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>