Nothing trumpets the beginning of spring in Indiana like six-plus inches of snow, which is what Mother Nature dropped on Hendricks County to begin the work week.
A winter storm cell dropped 6.2 inches of snow on the Indianapolis metropolitan area and had street departments working around the clock to clear streets for motorists who woke up to a thick blanket of snow Monday morning.
“We had all the resources that we needed to deal with it, but it’s kind of late in the season to have this,” said Curt Higginbotham, superintendent of the Hendricks County Highway Department. “We were ready for it.”
Higginbotham said they used 300 tons of mix along the 776 miles of roadway as crews got started at 6 p.m. Sunday and didn’t stop for a full 24 hours.
The Indiana Department of Transportation reported having 607 plow trucks out across the state as pavement temperatures dropped to below freezing, making the morning commute arduous for many Hoosiers.
“We didn’t have many calls regarding hazardous or treacherous conditions,” Higginbotham said. “When I left and went home Monday, some of the roads were even dry and most just wet with isolated areas of snow-covered or slick spots.
“The guys worked long hours. We’re not set up like the city of Indianapolis where they have maybe 90 guys ready to come on 12 hours later. We don’t have those luxuries. We have about 30 guys that come in, have to suck it up, and work.”
Higginbotham said they had about 200 subdivisions that were also plowed out with the help of 82 subcontractors.
Meanwhile, authorities statewide dealt with a host of overnight traffic incidents.
The Indiana State Police (ISP) reported on Monday morning that they had responded to 50 property damage crashes, 16 personal injury accidents, and 43 slide-offs in the Indianapolis District. That includes Marion, Hamilton, Hendricks, Johnson, Shelby, Hancock, and Boone counties.
Locally, the Hendricks County Sheriff’s Department (HCSD) reported minimal accidents on the roadways.
“I think it’s safe to say that we had numerous slide-offs,” Lt. Jim Yetter of the HCSD said, “but we didn’t have anything serious in terms of crashes. Most were minor. I know by mid-afternoon the roads were clear and it was business as usual. In the morning (on Monday) was the time when we had several slide-offs. It wasn’t anything more than normal traffic issues on a snow event.”
Temperatures dropped to below freezing overnight Monday and into Tuesday morning, but warmed up throughout the day.
The irony of the century-old record breaking snowfall for March 24 is that this week is Severe Weather Preparedness Week, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in cooperation with the National Weather Service (NWS), will be participating in a statewide tornado drill for the 35th consecutive year today.
The first test will occur at 10:15 am. with the second at 7:35 p.m. The NWS will send a tone alerted warning message over weather radios and DHS will set off the outdoor warning sirens. The two separate times are to benefit school participation and the majority of the workforce who are at their place of employment while the second test will allow families an opportunity to practice personal safety measures in their homes.