By KEVIN NEVERS
Patience and good
humor were not the only things in short supply this morning, as Dunelanders
woke yet again to white and plenty of it.
public works, and highway departments are scraping the bottom of their road
salt barrels, with not much in the way of a contingency plan beyond
Commissioner John Schnadenberg expressed his concern in particular about the
availability of salt later in the season, in late February and early March,
when ice storms are more likely.
Were conserving the
salt that we have, Schnadenberg said. Only the main roads will get it. The
subdivisions probably wont get any at this point. Were waiting to see if we
get a delivery.
The Porter County
Highway Department, meanwhile, had a supply today of 100 tons in Valparaiso
and another 25 tons in Chesterton. But that's
pretty much going to have to last the rest of the season, Deputy
Superintendent David James told the Chesterton Tribune.
Unless, that is,
the county's willing to get gouged in the open market.
This season the county paid $48.84 per ton, Cargill's low
bid, purchased through the state. But salt-strapped municipalities are now
looking at prices of $150 to $200 per ton, James said.
The fault lies with
Cargill, James maintained, which in apparent anticipation
of another mild winter bid low, got the states contract,
and then was unprepared for the seasons sheer awfulness. Cargill dropped the
ball, he said.
James, for his
part, said that he was fully expecting a brutal winter, as forecast way back
in October by a NOAA meteorologist of his acquaintance. The tip-off was a
savage summer in Siberia, lots of snow, which jet-streamed into Canada and
hung a right at Minnesota.
James said that his
NOAA guy has never, to his knowledge, been wrong. I want to rub his belly
and buy a lottery ticket, he joked.
The Roads this
This latest snow
event appears to have snuck up on Duneland. Tuesday nights flurries weren't
all that heavy, Schnadenberg said, and his plow drivers knocked off around 1
a.m., after hitting the streets six hours earlier. But at 3 a.m. the system
got a second wind. It was snowing so hard we had a hard time keeping up. And
it was blowing a lot. The snow was light and visibility real poor, so the
trucks had to go slow.
at 5:31 a.m. the Duneland School Corporation
announced a two-hour delay. Less than two hours later at
7:19 a.m. Superintendent Monte Moffett threw in the towel
and just canceled classes altogether.
Its the sixth
school closure of the winter and it comes not even 48 hours after the
Duneland School Board announced three make-up days, with two other missed
days waived by the Indiana Department of Education.
At 8 a.m. there
were no road closures in unincorporated Porter County, James said. But there
is a lot of drifting and here and there an abandoned vehicle.
James put total snowfall at six inches.