Early winter storm gives area icy smooch

By BILL POWELL
bpowell@dcherald.com

Winter gave Dubois County an icy, drizzly, early-season smooch overnight.

Entering Wednesday evening, a weather advisory cautioned the area could see accumulations of ice and/or snow. What arrived was accurately summed up by Dubois County Highway Superintendent Steve Berg.

“It changed from a slick road event to a debris event,” Berg said this morning. “We’ve got a lot of trees and limbs that came down with the weight of the ice.”

Those falling trees and limbs led to scattered power outages.

“The ice is weighing the trees down,” said Pat Lichlyter, Dubois Rural Electric Cooperative manager of operations.“Most of our trouble is trees falling down on lines. It is scattered all over.”

Huntingburg experienced small outages on the north and south ends of the city — one in the West First Street area and another in the 13th Street area near Wendy’s restaurant — beginning around 2:30 a.m. today, according to Energy Superintendent John Reutepohler. When service was restored, Reutepohler said, a Vectren issue knocked out power to the Huntingburg and Jasper area from about 3:15 a.m. to 4 a.m.

Reutepohler said line-clearing work on trees this summer likely lessened his city’s scattered outages.

Dubois REC crews responded to about 20 such incidents overnight and this morning, with most of the outages in Dubois County involving between 10 to 40 customers. By 7 a.m., the number of affected homes in Dubois County was down to about 50. REC was also responding to one large circuit outage in the Sulphur area of Crawford County affecting about 300 customers.

“We’re gaining on it,” Lichlyter said. “They’ve got the saws out today. We’ve got crews on every outage. We’d have a problem if the roads were icy.”

Ice had start to accumulate around some county bridges and culverts, Berg said this morning, “but it was crunchy, not so much slick. We did some pretreating yesterday and that helped too.”

Dubois County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Stuart Wilson agreed it was possible to find slick spots on select bridges, overpasses and lowlying county roads but there had been no significant traffic issues today.

Wilson was among the deputies, linemen, firefighters and plow truck drivers responding to falling trees and limbs that were becoming icy hazards.

“I could hear them falling when I was out at the last (call),” Wilson said early today. “It’s really creepy when you can’t see them.”

While residents awoke to iced decks and windshields, streets and sidewalks were mostly just wet.

Jasper Street Superintendent Jeff Theising said, when it came to temperatures and roadways, the area got lucky.

The lowest air temperature in Jasper prior to midnight was 31 degrees and then the mercury edged up to between 32 and 33 degrees. Pavement temperatures stayed around 35 degrees.

“Those are good things,” Theising said early this morning. “With what they advertised, we got lucky.”

Jasper street crews pretreated bridges Wednesday and were back out this morning treating bridges, shaded areas and hills.

The National Weather Service office in Louisville, Kentucky, calls for a high around 35 degrees today, a low of about 27 degrees tonight and a Friday high around 43 degrees. There is a 40 percent chance of more drizzle and snow today before gradual clearing ushers in a sunny Friday.

Authorities said roads are generally good today but that could change during a refreeze tonight.

“Drive to the conditions,” Berg advised.




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