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January cold and ice strike back

BY Brian Powers - bpowers@chronicle-tribune.com

After enjoying a couple a unseasonably warm days, the Hoosier winter came back with a vengeance Friday morning. Although the winter storm that passed through did not dump the snowfall that was originally expected, it came with a literal layer of ice.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Amos Dodson said the amount of ice produced by the storm was almost precisely what was predicted, with most of the Grant County area topping out around one inch of snow accumulation. There seems to be more to come, however.

“It looks like it’s going to get cold again and there’s a chance of light snow -- about one to three inches -- toward the end of the weekend,” said Dodson.

Although Dodson said that the ice was right on cue with what National Weather Service had predicted, it still made life difficult for area residents; so much so that city and county offices shuttered their doors at noon on Friday giving employees as early start to the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday weekend.

Grant County Sheriff Sgt. Patrick Kolb noted that compared to the ice and the wind, the snow seemed to have only been a secondary problem.

“We’ve seen a couple of wrecks on the Interstate, as well as a couple on the county roads,” said Kolb. “We’re on the lowest travel advisory, but I just hope that people don’t drive unless they have to. It makes our lives and theirs easier.”

Any sort of preventative measures would have more than likely been useless, according to Tony Smith, Safety Director for the Grant County Highway Department. He noted that the department could not treat the roads before the storm moved in due to the rain beforehand washing away any treatments before they would have had a chance to be effective.

“The roads are bad, especially at the edge of Marion and heading east,” Smith informed. “Temperatures are also expected to drop at night, so we’re expecting it all to freeze again.”

Smith also said that he expects road crews to be out for the majority of the weekend, especially since more snow is in the forecast for the end of the weekend. The three men all had one common message between them: to stay home as much as possible throughout the weekend.

“If people have to go out, we just hope motorists will pay attention to the road conditions and travel wisely,” said Smith.

The temperature in Grant County is forcast to drop to zero degrees by Monday night.