Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

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February 22, 2013

Wintery mix hits county overnight

A steady mix of sleet, freezing rain, and snow blanketed Hendricks County and central Indiana Thursday night into early Friday morning, but authorities say they were ready for it.

“There have been very few problems,” Lt. Jim Yetter of the Hendricks County Sheriff’s Department said Friday morning. “It seems like the two-hour delay helped with the amount of cars on the roads.”

Curt Higginbotham, superintendent of the Hendricks County Highway Department, said clear roads were a combination of storm timing and extra use of salt. With a typical three- to four-inch snow, he said they might use about 300 tons of salt. With this storm, Higginbotham said, they used 600 tons.

“In talking with my staff, we used probably twice as much (salt) as we usually do on a typical snow, but that’s because it takes more chemicals and salt to melt (ice),” he said. “I think the other thing that helped us was the timing of this. It happened mainly late evening, early morning when a lot of people were not on the road. That was advantageous to us.”

Higginbotham said his drivers have 18 primary routes with each driver having about 25 miles. He said that allows them to get to all points in the county.

“We had no issues getting out and treating them,” he said Friday afternoon. “Most of us came in when it started around 7 p.m. Thursday and only about half have gone home so far. “My staff does a tremendous job.”

Yetter said navigable main roads were a big asset to keeping accidents and slide-offs at a minimum, for the most part.

He said side streets were obviously going to be slicker, as were roads in the more rural areas of the county which carry fewer vehicles.

More than 250 schools across the state featured either two-hour delays or cancellations, and the wintery mix did wreak havoc on the Indianapolis International Airport. Airport officials reported that multiple flights to and from the city were canceled, including more than 50 Friday morning outbound flights.

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