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 Waste in the water – New purification techniques for healthier aquatic ecosystems
24.07.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

nachricht Plenty of habitat for bears in Europe
24.07.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

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: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Diving robots find Antarctic winter seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide

15.08.2018 | Earth Sciences

Early opaque universe linked to galaxy scarcity

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>