Relief from polar vortex in sight

2014-01-08T18:32:00Z 2014-02-08T17:25:45Z Relief from polar vortex in sightTimes Staff
January 08, 2014 6:32 pm  • 

As Northwest Indiana residents return to their daily routines, officials warn motorists to continue using precaution on the roads. 

The Indiana Department of Transportation said it could take days before the roads are back to normal. Crews continue to spread salt and try to break down hard-packed snow. Some roads are expected to remain slick until Thursday morning. 

"We believe there's a light at the end of the tunnel," Matt Deitchley, spokesman for INDOT, said Wednesday morning.

The Chicago area saw a record 23.1 inches of snow between Dec. 30 and Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. The snowfall total for this past week ranked seventh in a list of snowiest weeks in Chicago, according to the National Weather Service. 

Residents then faced brutally low temperatures and wind chills that dipped to 42 degrees below zero. 

In Northwest Indiana, the cold temperatures and overwhelming amount of snow caused officials to temporarily shut down Interstate 65 and Interstate 80/94. 

Despite the closures, Indiana State Police said troopers responded to a total of 551 calls for service from Sunday night to Wednesday afternoon. Of those calls, 166 were to help motorists, 165 were calls of slide-off crashes and 124 were calls of crashes with property damage. Only 25 of the calls involved injuries. 

Indiana State Police said conditions were beginning to improve by late Wednesday with only occasional slide-offs crashes. 

Lake County police reported continued problems with slide-offs and spin-outs on rural roads, but said the main roads were improving.

Porter County police and other municipal departments said their call volume was down late Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. Most said the main roads were improving, but many side streets remained slick and hazardous.

LaPorte County was under a hydrologic outlook Wednesday because of the possibility of flooding caused by snow-pack and rain that is expected to move through the area.

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