Midwest misery: Snow piles up to record levels

9:17 AM, Jan 25, 2014   |    comments
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Video: Friday's forecast: Arctic cold covers most of country

A salesman digs out cars covered in snow at a dealership in Indianapolis Jan. 7. Indianapolis is on track for its snowiest single month on record.


Hey Midwesterners: If you think it's been a snowy winter, you're right: Because of the ongoing parade of winter storms, several cities, including Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis and Cincinnati, have seen more snow than they typically get for the entire season.

Indianapolis, which has had almost 2 feet of snow this month, may see its single snowiest month in the city's history, where records go back to just after the Civil War. (The snowiest month on record was January 1978, when 30.6 inches fell.)

The snow this month is busting the snow-removal budget in Indianapolis: The costs of salting, plowing and employee overtime are close to exhausting the city's $7.3 million snow-clearing budget, which is supposed to last for all of 2014.

Some of the snowy details from other locations: In Chicago, 45.4 inches of snow have fallen on the city this winter. In a full season, the Windy City typically sees 36.7 inches.

In Detroit, 45.9 inches have fallen, more than the full season average of 42.7 inches, and there are at least two months left in winter.

Detroit could see its snowiest January on record: This month, 27.8 inches of snow have fallen at Detroit Metro Airport, 1.8 inches shy of the record 29.6 inches in 1978.

The snow plays havoc with school schedules: Michigan state law says that after six days off for snow, frigid temperatures or other conditions beyond the school's control, students have to start making up the time. Many districts in the Detroit area are getting close to that six days.

Although some snow is great for business at Mt. Holly Ski and Snowboard Resort northwest of Detroit, too much snow, combined with bitter cold, can keep people away.

"Extreme events seem to be keeping people home a little more often than we expected," general manager Mark Tibbitts said. "The big snowfall that we got ... kept people from driving. Then the extreme cold that followed it made it near-impossible to drive for a couple of days just because the ice wasn't melting off the roads."

In Cincinnati, which has been buried in almost three times as much snow as usual this season, school closings due to cold and snow are also an issue: 'We're not done with snow days," said Martha Carroll, art teacher at Montgomery Elementary in Cincinnati. "This is going to be an interesting year."

This winter, more than 28 inches of snow has fallen in Cincinnati, a city that usually sees 22 inches for the entire winter.

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