Region gets hit with more snow, thundersnow

2014-02-17T19:00:00Z 2014-02-18T20:36:36Z Region gets hit with more snow, thundersnowTimes Staff nwitimes.com
February 17, 2014 7:00 pm  • 

A steady stream of snow fell across Northwest Indiana again Monday, causing white-out conditions on roads and adding inches to be shoveled from driveways. 

The Indiana Department of Transportation said it had a full call out for plow and salt trucks. The department warned motorists throughout the day to slow down.  

Indiana State Police said troopers responded to multiple slide-offs on the interstates but reported none resulted in serious injuries. Police said some of the slide-offs caused temporary lane closures throughout the day. 

By Monday afternoon, about 4 inches had accumulated in Portage and Valparaiso as snowfall continued, said Eric Lenning, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service. 

Lenning said the area was expected to have 6 to 7 inches of snow by late Monday night. 

Residents in the region also experienced thundersnow Monday. Lenning said it's rare to have thundersnow, which is usually followed by a heavy snowfall that could result in 1 to 2 inches of snow in an hour. 

"It's always kind of a surprise," Lenning said. "You don't see the lightning because it's so bright."

He said thundersnow is caused by a mixture of cold and warm air that is in the middle of the atmosphere. 

Residents will feel some relief from the dreadful winter with above-freezing temperatures this week. The expected high temperature for Tuesday is 38 degrees with a low of 27 degrees.

According to the National Weather Service, freezing rain and thunderstorms were expected to move through the area Wednesday night into Thursday.

The warmest day this week will be Thursday, when temperatures could reach 45 degrees, officials said. Rain and thunderstorms are possible Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. Meteorologists warn that the above-freezing temperatures could lead to flooding and ice jams around rivers.

Monday's snow prompted various closings and early releases. 

Indiana University Northwest canceled classes and campuswide operations for both Gary and Portage campuses Monday afternoon.

Tom Wyatt, IUN spokesman, said the university plans to open Tuesday as normal, weather permitting.

"The safety of students and staff here are always our priority," Wyatt said, "especially when it comes to poor weather and because we're a commuter campus."

More early dismissals were announced for Lake Ridge Schools, Tri-Township Consolidated School Corp. and North Newton School Corp. Purdue University Calumet closed its campus at 2 p.m. and canceled all activities for the rest of the day. 

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