Weather service debunks rumors of giant snowstorm


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Meteorologists in the Midwest took to social media on Friday to quell rumors that a winter storm expected to move into the region next week could dump up to 30 inches of snow in some areas.

The National Weather Service's Indianapolis bureau said in Facebook and Twitter messages that predictions that 20 to 30 inches of snow could fall on Indiana and other Midwestern states next Tuesday and Wednesday "are EXTREMELY premature & improbable."

Meteorologist Mike Ryan said none of the forecast models he and his colleagues in Indianapolis have reviewed point to anything like a 2-foot or greater snowfall. He said the Indianapolis office sent the Twitter and Facebook messages because it and other Midwestern weather bureaus have been getting calls from people worried about dire storm predictions that are "rampant" online.

"We wanted to try to alleviate these rumors because the social media network is just kind of running out of control," Ryan said Friday. "Like we said, any snowfall amounts like those people are talking about would really be improbable."

Next week's storm has the potential to bring snow, sleet, freezing rain to Indiana and other states in the Ohio River Valley, but he said it's too early to predict how much will fall and where.

Ryan said that won't be known until early next week when the storm's expected track becomes clearer. Any snowfall projections now would be "highly speculative," he said.

AccuWeather meteorologist Randy Adkins agreed that it's too soon to know what the storm will bring, let alone how much it will dump as it scoots north and east across the central U.S.

"Thirty inches of snow for anyone with this storm system is pretty remote," he said.

AccuWeather's current models show the storm could bring significant snow to a swath including Kansas City, Mo., Des Moines, Madison, Wis., and Chicago. Areas to the south of that, including Indianapolis, appear likely to see a mix of snow, freezing rain and sleet because the storm will pull milder air northward.