The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently released their official weather forecast for December 2022 through February 2023, which predicts Indiana will experience more rain and snow this winter.
According to NOAA's forecast, southern Indiana is predicted to see precipitation probabilities 33% to 40% higher than average. Other areas of the Midwest, including Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin are expected to see similar increases. The NOAA defines precipitation as the process where water vapor condenses in the atmosphere to form water droplets that fall to the Earth as rain, sleet, snow or hail.
Additionally, NOAA is forecasting that southern Indiana has an equal chance of above or below-average temperatures during the winter months. According to Weather Spark, the cold season in Indiana lasts around three months with an average daily high temperature of 46 degrees Fahrenheit. The coldest month of the year for Indiana is January, which has an average low of 22 degrees Fahrenheit and 37 degrees Fahrenheit.
NOAA is attributing these predicted increases in precipitation to the continuation of La Niña weather patterns. According to the World Meteorological Organization, La Niña refers to the large-scale cooling of the ocean surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean. La Niña patterns are associated with changes in winds, pressure and rainfall.
Preparing for the weather change
IU freshman Isabelle Nold grew up in Illinois, where the area experiences similar temperature and precipitation levels to those in Indiana. Nold advises new IU students, or students experiencing their first Midwest winter to make several important investments. She said that it is important to layer up, purchase boots, warm pants, a hat and pair of gloves. Nold also adds that buses can be a valuable resource for those that don’t want to walk to class in the cold.
For IU sophomore Allen Voorde, the most important purchase one can make is a pair of waterproof snow boots. He adds snow boots with traction can help students navigate around campus.
While students may be worried about snow, Kate Dinnon, an IU freshman that has lived in Indiana for eight years, said ice can be a bigger challenge.
“A lot of people just kind of expect a lot of snow, which isn’t always the case,” Dinnon said. “There's a lot of ice, which can be scary especially for people driving here for the first time. They should be careful of black ice because you can’t see it right away.”
Getting where you need to go
To deal with icy roads, the Indiana State Police recommend on their website that drivers avoid abrupt stops and starts, beware of shaded areas where ice is slow to melt and use low beam headlights to decrease glare from ice on the roads.
Related: [A guide to Bloomington buses]
IU junior Quincy Coleman said new students should give themselves more time to get to classes because the constantly changing conditions can pose varying challenges on a day-to-day basis.
“Getting to class, wherever it is, will be much, much more difficult and dangerous than normally going to class because not everybody’s used to driving on icy roads,” Coleman said. “The buses are packed because nobody wants to walk in the snow and the wind. So, plan accordingly for what you need to do.”
In addition to six IU Campus routes running during winter months, Bloomington Transit runs 12 bus routes. However, service on these routes will be reduced during university break periods, including winter break. The IU Campus Bus Service advises students to expect overcrowded buses on days of inclement weather. Overcrowded buses could result in longer trips, so IU Bus Service recommends that riders leave earlier on those days.