Preparing for the unpredictable: Weather has DPW on its toes

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The weather event that will span the next two days is proving difficult to prepare for, according to the department of public works.

DPW only has a tentative plan in place to attack the snowfall, one they haven’t even released to the media yet. And there’s nothing to blame for that hesitation but the weather.

Preparing for the unpredictable is a tough predicament. Or it’s just another day’s work for Storm Track 8 meteorologist Marcus Bailey.

“It’s not going to be light snow and then heavy snow and then light snow. It’s rain, it’s sleet, it’s snow,” he said.

On top of that, Marcus has to figure out when and where that trio of precipitation will hit.

He uses four weather models to determine how he’ll forecast the storm. The disparities between them are making his prediction difficult.

“This is a tricky forecast not just for us here. This is tricky forecast for the National Weather Service who has to issue the warnings and advisories,” he said. “This is obviously a tricky forecast for the private sector that depends on plowing the roads.”

Prior to weather events, DPW sends out a snow force plan usually days in advance. But with Wednesday’s storm less than 24 hours away, DPW has yet to send out a press release.

“We try to get that plan out as soon as we are you know, confident in exactly what type of storm or what type of event we’re going to be receiving,” said Jennifer Hashem, DPW Public Information Officer.

The problem is when it comes to this weather event, Hashem said they won’t know what they’re dealing with until it arrives above the city. Rain will keep DPW from pretreating streets and they can’t develop a plan for how many plow drivers to deploy until they get a better idea of how much snow might fall.

“We’ll have our crews ready or they’ll be on standby or on call and as soon as we begin to see that, that’s when we go ahead and let those drivers out on our streets to make sure that they’re able to take care of the snow as it’s actually falling,” she said.

DPW plans to hold a meeting Wednesday morning at 9. That way it’ll have a clearer picture of the type of snowfall by the evening. But Marcus wants to remind everyone that Mother Nature’s plan is always subject to change.

“That’s kind of the frustrating part of this forecast but that’s Midwest weather,” he said.

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