Lower temps cause slick roads, easing flooding concerns

2014-02-21T13:40:00Z 2014-02-21T22:38:29Z Lower temps cause slick roads, easing flooding concernsLauri Harvey Keagle lauri.keagle@nwi.com, (219) 852-4311 nwitimes.com

Lower temperatures caused black ice on some area roadways Friday morning, keeping area police busy responding to slide-off and spin-out crashes.

Police said roads were clear and crash-free by noon.

That was a welcome change for police and INDOT crews from the early morning road conditions. The Indiana Department of Transportation warned motorists to expect standing water, icy spots and potholes on roads throughout the region Friday morning.

INDOT's Facebook page for the Northwest District said 50 salt and plow trucks were working the roads in Lake, Porter, Newton, Jasper, Starke and Pulaski counties throughout the morning.

Indiana State Police for the Lowell District said ramps on area expressways were slick. Police dispatchers in local municipalities said their officers were busy responding to multiple slide-off and spin-out crashes throughout the region.

A school bus was involved in a minor accident in St. John Township Friday morning. Patti Van Til, spokeswoman for the Lake County Sheriff's Department, said the Lake Central School Corp. bus was traveling north on Sheffield Avenue with four children inside when a passenger vehicle tried to stop at a stop sign at a cross street, slid on ice and hit the side of the bus.

Van Til said a school nurse responded to the scene and no serious injuries were reported. Parents of two of the children asked that they be transported to an area hospital after they arrived at George Bibich Elementary School for precautionary evaluations. 

Lake County police responded to multiple slide-offs on East 109th Avenue near Iowa Street, where drivers experienced problems on an icy hill.

Few people would cheer the return of colder weather and icy roads, but forecasters said the drop in the mercury will ease the likelihood of serious flooding from rapidly melting snow.

"The minor flooding we're seeing is going to subside and any additional runoff going into rivers and streams is going to freeze," Kevin Birk, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Romeoville, said Friday morning.

A flood warning is in effect indefinitely for the Kankakee River at Shelby. The river was at 9.4 feet at 11 a.m. Friday. Flood stage is 9 feet.

The National Weather Service said mild flooding was occurring there. The river is expected to rise to near 10 feet by Monday morning before falling back below flood stage.

At 10 feet, flooding impacts some local and county roads, Wildwood Estates and Sumava Resorts. 

A flood warning is in effect for the Kankakee River at Davis Bridge in LaPorte County. At 11 a.m., the river was at 9.7 feet. Flood stage is 10 feet. The river is expected to crest to 10.5 feet Saturday evening before falling below flood stage around noon Monday.

A flood advisory for the Little Calumet River at Munster was canceled Friday morning.

A wind advisory also remains in effect for Cook, Will, Lake, Porter, Newton, Jasper and Benton counties until 3 p.m. and until 5 p.m. in LaPorte County.

The National Weather Service said sustained winds of 30 to 40 mph gusting to 45 mph are expected to linger until mid-afternoon.

The winds were believed to be to blame for overhead wire problems on the Metra electric commuter rail line that impacted some South Shore Train trains Friday morning.

Saturday's high is expected to be 35 degrees, then high temperatures dip below the freezing mark through next week. Some forecasts are predicting low temperatures near zero late next week.

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