Winter storm blows through region

2013-03-05T21:18:00Z 2013-03-06T11:56:05Z Winter storm blows through regionTimes Staff and Wire Report
March 05, 2013 9:18 pm  • 

It might not seem like spring is only two weeks away after the area received heavy snowfall Tuesday.

The winter storm caused difficult driving conditions in the area Tuesday afternoon and evening.

Hammond Police Chief Brian Miller said the department responded to 27 crashes between 2 and 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Miller said no serious injuries were reported.

He said two vehicles struck poles. Several other crashes involved multiple vehicles. Some of the incidents resulted in major damage to vehicles, Miller said.

Indiana State Police also responded to several crashes and slide-offs that started early Tuesday afternoon, according to a police news release.

In particular, the department reported slick road conditions on Interstate 65 and Interstate 80/94.

Jamie Enderlen, another meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Romeoville, Ill., said light snow flurries are expected Wednesday, but no significant accumulation is expected. The agency reported some areas received more than 6 inches Tuesday.

Warmer weather could be coming to the area later this week, she said. Temperatures could move into the 40s during the weekend, Enderlen said.

In response to Tuesday's winter storm, the Indiana Department of Transportation reported more than 150 of its trucks were plowing and salting roads in Northwest Indiana.

INDOT pretreated roads with an anti-icing solution before the snowfall started, according to the state department. On Tuesday evening, 170 plows were out clearing roads.

According to a release from INDOT, snow was falling at 1 to 2 inches per hour, creating slick spots on many roads. A crash on Interstate 65 in Jasper County involving a semitruck closed off northbound lanes temporarily.

INDOT reported there was drifting snow and slick spots in Porter and LaPorte counties.

The Lake County Highway Department also had dozens of trucks removing snow from streets, said Marcus Malczewski, the department's superintendent.

The weather prompted the Lake County Sheriff's Department to have its specialized units assist its patrol division, spokeswoman Patti Van Til said.

The Porter County Sheriff's Department also had additional manpower patrolling streets, Sgt. Larry LaFlower said.

Many area schools were closed Tuesday or operated on modified schedules because of the snow. Some Northwest Indiana schools remained open, with several grades beginning the state’s standardized ISTEP testing.

On the Illinois side of the state line, Gov. Pat Quinn directed state transportation and emergency services officials to prepare for a "major snow-fighting effort" before the heavy snowfall hit.

The Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois Tollway said they had nearly 800 snowplows ready for Tuesday's storm.

The Chicago Department of Aviation said Tuesday morning that more than 770 flights were canceled at O'Hare International Airport. Airlines canceled more than 215 flights at Midway International Airport.

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