Road crews and emergency responders continue the effort to try and get out from under the first major snowstorm of the season.
The system moved in early Thursday evening with a combination of sleet, freezing rain and ice before switching over to hours of snow. “It’s wet and heavy, just like we were expecting,” said Paul Goss with the Daviess County Emergency Management Agency.
By late Friday afternoon the system had dropped around 8 or 9 inches of snow with a couple more inches expected before it would finally come to an end. “The wind hasn’t been much of a problem, but the temperatures will be,” said Goss. “We’re looking at some really cold temperatures coming in behind it and that will make it difficult to get rid of all of this.”
The snow prompted officials to declare a weather emergency in Knox, Daviess and Martin counties. Motorists were being asked to limit travel to essential trips. A travel watch remains in effect throughout southern Indiana.
Not only that the forecast for Sunday is calling for more bad weather. “We’re expecting some light snow, sleet and freezing rain, followed by more light snow on Sunday,” said Goss. “Then by Tuesday temperatures will be down into the single digits.”
The snow brought out road crews in the county, city and state. Even those crews were having a tough time. INDOT officials say they had 120 vehicles out moving snow in southwestern Indiana and 3 of those plow trucks had been involved in incidents where they had slid off of the road.
The Daviess County Highway Department hit the roads at daybreak Friday and worked until nightfall, trying to at least keep the main routes open.
“It’s been an uphill battle,” said County Highway Superintendent Phil Cornelius. “It just keeps coming so fast that it is hard for us to keep up.”
County crews are hoping that once the snow stops they can get caught up. “We’re going to be working on Saturday,” said Cornelius. “The good thing is there has not been a lot of wind, so we have not had a lot of issues with drifting. We want to get in front of this before that next storm hits on Sunday.”
So far the county crews have not had any big issues with abandoned vehicles along the roadways. “People have been pretty patient so far, and we are asking them to remain patient,” said Cornelius.
As expected the first snow of the season has resulted in a lot of minor accidents. Indiana State Police in Jasper report most of the crashes they have seen have been slide-offs caused by the slick roads.
Around Indiana that has not been the total story. Officials say accidents near both Terre Haute and Richmond claimed lives.
Weather was a factor in both accidents.
In and around Daviess County and Washington, roadways remained snow covered and slippery and tow trucks were doing a booming business. “We’ve had several accidents involving semis out on the 50 bypass and on I-69 because of the slick and icy conditions,” said Goss.
“The accidents haven’t resulted in any big problems,” added Daviess County Sheriff Jerry Harbstreit.
“We have had some slide-offs here and there. The public has done a pretty good job of dealing with this snow.”