Snow, ice sock Ind. as winter makes early strike
Two people were killed on treacherous roads and schools and businesses were closed as a storm that dumped ice and as much as 10 inches of snow on much of Indiana stretched into its second day Friday.
State police responded to numerous accidents Friday that shut down a section of Interstate 70 west of Indianapolis and caused a late-morning backup on Interstate 65 just south of the city, but no major injuries were reported.
That was better news than Thursday night, when Mohammed A. Isse, 33, of Chicago, died when his car was struck by a tractor-trailer whose driver lost control of his truck near Richmond. At the other end of the state, Karen Price, 51, of Brazil, Ind., died Thursday night in a multiple car crash near Terre Haute.
State police continued to urge motorists to use caution when traveling or to stay off roads entirely in southern Indiana, which received a second round of ice and snow Friday afternoon.
The snowstorm hit Indianapolis at a busy time. Thousands of Ohio State and Michigan State fans were descending on the city for two days of tailgating leading up to Saturday night's Big Ten football championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Randy Ackerman, 54, of Lima, Ohio, wasn't fazed by the snow and didn't think it would affect turnout, at least not for Buckeyes fans.
"We're die-hards. We travel well," he said. "Heat or snow, we're there."
Crews worked to make sure travelers had clear paths, whether they were heading to Indianapolis for the game or elsewhere in the state.
The state highway department said it had more than 600 trucks clearing and treating highways.
Spokesman Harry Maginity said crews were able to keep most highways in good shape.
"It looks like pretty wet snow, which means it's probably not going to be drifting," he said. "If we had a drier snow, then the rural highways would be blowing shut."
The National Weather Service reported up to 10 inches of snow near Vincennes and more than 7 inches around Bloomington. About 5 inches fell near Columbus and Franklin, both along Interstate 65 south of Indianapolis.
Indianapolis International Airport reported a handful of flight delays and cancellations, primarily to Texas and the East Coast. But the bigger issue for many travelers was deicing. Some passengers reported waiting more than 90 minutes on the tarmac for their planes to be deiced.
The storm was expected to leave behind frigid air with highs in the teens and 20s over coming days.
The weather had some unexpected benefits for Chris Clifford, director of operations for St. Elmo's Steakhouse in Indianapolis who was coordinating a contest as part of the Big Ten championship.
About a dozen people were scheduled Saturday to see how many of the restaurant's signature shrimp cocktails they could down.
With the predicted temperatures, "We don't have to ice the shrimp down," Clifford said.
Author: TOM LoBIANCO, Associated Press