Snow on spring’s first day a rarityMarch 21, 2018
By BILL POWELL
Spring began with snow this year, with 6-inch accumulations at Patoka Lake and Birdseye topping local March equinox totals.
This is Severe Weather Preparedness Week in Indiana and Tuesday actually started with a statewide tornado drill. But, by evening, snow preparedness was in order for motorists on the back roads.
Pavement temperatures were up and that kept highways and streets wet for the most part but, in shady areas, accumulating snow and slush became a hazard. The Dubois County Sheriff’s Department worked a half dozen slideoffs overnight and several more this morning. One woman was transported by private vehicle to be checked out at the emergency room after one such mishap, according to the sheriff’s department.
Indiana State Police worked several slideoffs on I-64 west of Lynnville this morning and there was a rollover on I-69 at State Road 64 as scattered slick spots were reported in the region, especially on bridges and overpasses.
Birdseye resident Jerry Spanbauer put a yardstick in the snow at 7 p.m. Tuesday and measured 2.75 inches at that time. By 7 a.m. today, his yardstick was covered in white to the 6-inch mark, with the pictures posted to his social media.
Today became a snow day for the Perry Central, Shoals, Paoli and Crawford County school corporations. In Dubois County, the Southeast, Southwest and Northeast districts operated on two-hour delays.
Jasper officially recorded 2.5 inches of snow in the city, but streets stayed wet, which allowed Greater Jasper Consolidated Schools to convene classes on time.
“Mother Nature helped us all night,” Jasper Street Commissioner Jeff Theising said. “We never went out. I still kept jumping up looking out the window.
“It was one of those pretty snows people tell me about that I never see.”
Lest we forget, Jasper had a high temperature of 78 degrees on the first day of spring one year ago, close to the March equinox record in Jasper of 84 degrees on March 20, 1984.
In fact, the last time Jasper officially had measurable snow on the first day of spring prior to Tuesday was in 2006, when there was one-quarter of an inch.
Snows on the first day of spring are a rarity and usually offer only a weak last gasp of winter.
That was not the case on March 20, 1996, when Jasper was walloped with 12 inches of snow and an official said 14.5 inches was plowed off the Huntingburg Airport runway.
Spring began at 3:03 a.m. that day in 1996 but many missed the moment because power was knocked out to an estimated 5,000 homes and some county roads were blocked by drifts up to 8 feet in height. Mail service was canceled to most parts of the county that March equinox.
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