were closed today while Porter County government courts opened on a two-hour
delay, after an ice storm which hammered Northeast Indiana left roadways
here glazed and treacherous.
Service on the
South Shore commuter line was also suspended this morning, due largely to
Metra’s suspension of service, but resumed shortly after 12 p.m., at the
same time a travel advisory issued for Porter County was lifted.
According to the
National Weather Service (NWS), a total of .41 inches of ice was recorded at
the Porter County Regional Airport; .44 inches at Chicago O’Hare; and .46
inches at Midway International.
Meanwhile, at 8
a.m. NIPSCO was reporting 6,296 outages, although only one in Chesterton.
Hardest hit were Angola with 934 outages and LaGrange with 506 in extreme
Northeast Indiana; Millersburg in Elkhart County with 568; and LaPorte with
A total of 376
customers in Valparaiso were in the dark; 149 in Portage; 239 in Gary; 85 in
Munster; and 53 in Griffith.
temperatures were above freezing at 8 a.m. and the ice beginning to melt off
trees and power lines, NWS was forecasting strong winds later today, colder
temperatures late tonight, and possibly another couple of inches of snow.
“These strong winds will increase the threat of power outages later today
and tonight,” NWS said.
Here in Chesterton,
Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg dispatched six salters around 7 p.m.
Monday, when the ice began to form on roads. It did so on the outskirts of
town first, along--for instance--1100N, where early Monday evening a
Chesterton Police officer reported that it was virtually impossible for a
person to stand in the roadway without slipping and falling. More heavily
used roads in the middle of town didn’t begin to freeze until later on
Monday, but freeze they did. “By 9 p.m. you couldn’t stand up on any street
in town,” Schnadenberg said. “It was all glazed.”
Which made the
salters’ work particularly challenging. “My guys had a heck of a time with
their fully loaded trucks,” Schnadenberg noted. “They were going sideways,
slipping on hills, fishtailing in turns.” One hill in the Morningside
subdivision proved so perilous that the driver in the end was forced to
start at the foot and back his salter up the hill.
At 11:15 p.m.
Monday the crews completed their salting and headed home for the night. By
6:30 a.m. today, however, the roads had begun to re-freeze, so the six
trucks were returned to service.
This was the Street
Department’s 19th call-out of the season. Most of the snow events have been
small ones, an inch or two at a time, and nothing like a blizzard. Ice
storms are altogether different beasts, though, Schnadenberg said, since it
takes twice as much salt to treat a roadway sheened in ice as one covered by
only two inches of snow.