The winter of 2004-2005 was plagued by significant and historic weather events particularly across Ohio. A powerful winter storm arrived bringing a swath of heavy snow and significant icing from the Midwest to the Northeast as the new year of 2005 was being rung-in. The buckeye state was one of the hardest-hit locations from this storm system.

 

A weather map from the morning of the 6th showing the storm system as it reached its most mature stage. Source: Weather Prediction Center

Creating an Ice Storm

An area of low pressure formed over Texas and moved quickly northeast early on the 5th toward Ohio. Moisture associated with the storm system was surging north from the Gulf of Mexico and eventually encountered cold arctic air in place across the Midwest and Northeast.

Snow, sleet, and freezing rain resulted where the two collided. Temperatures below freezing at the surface and warm enough in the atmosphere above produced freezing rain. Icing persisted for over 24 hours in some locations because of little movement of the region of freezing rain for the entire event .

 

Damage from heavy ice left many neighborhoods with a similar scene to this one in Mansfield, OH. Source: Mansfield News Journal

How Much Freezing Rain Fell?

The greatest freezing rain accumulations occurred across the northern-half of Ohio where some total amounts exceeded one inch. These significant accumulations were great enough to create numerous downed trees and power lines. Blocked roadways and damaged businesses and residences directly resulted.

In the wake of the storm, nearly one million customers were estimated to be without power. The most severely affected counties saw clean-up costs approaching 10 million dollars. Although less noteworthy, snowfall amounts to the north of this corridor ranged from 2 to 5 inches. These impacts prove the January 5-6th Winter Storm’s prominence in weather history.

 

Additional Information

-Marshall

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