Chesterton Tribune



South Shore service resumes after ice forces halt; schools closed

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Duneland Schools 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 437.

A total of 376 customers in Valparaiso were in the dark; 149 in Portage; 239 in Gary; 85 in Munster; and 53 in Griffith.

Although 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.



Posted 2/12/2019




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