Winter’s snow and ice are here

Photos by Kylie Schepers/The Herald
Traffic navigates the stoplight at Sixth and Newton streets in downtown Jasper on Wednesday afternoon. Snow and freezing rain coated the area Wednesday afternoon and evening, creating unsafe road conditions.


Winter has come.

The cold, snowy, freezing, icy weather that we all expect, and — at least for me — dread, is upon us.

And it roared in with force.

Snow and freezing rain coated the area Wednesday afternoon and evening. And with the single-digit temperatures overnight, all that sleet froze to make icy roads.

Street crews did their best to deal with the streets before the Thursday morning commute.

“We started at 4 and put salt on the streets so it would have been down for a couple of hours on some of the roads, and it gave the salt time to work,” Huntingburg Street Superintendent Jason Stamm said Thursday. “And we may be out there again that early [Friday] morning. It will depend on how much slush we can get off the roads this afternoon.”

Stamm spent Wednesday night checking roads after crews were done, running routes at 9 and 11:30 p.m. Since he had to be back to work at 4 a.m., he stayed at the street department overnight.

Icicles hang from a car in Jasper on Wednesday.

Street crews were out all day Thursday, hours before sunup, working to clear roads of Wednesday’s frozen sleet.

“We’re still at it,” County Highway Superintendent Steve Berg said as he was using a snowplow to clear county roads.

How long did they plan be out there?

“Probably until this is not coming off well anymore,” Berg said. “That may be into the night; I’m not sure how quick it’s supposed to cool down. But once we lose the sun, that will probably be about it.”

All street department crews and heads, like Berg, spent Thursday on snow equipment salting roads, breaking up the ice and pushing slush off roads to make them as safe as possible for traffic.

Removing the slush on Thursday and Friday is key.

“Luckily the temperatures are in the upper 20s, and there was just a little bit of radiant heat coming through those clouds that was helping a little bit,” Jasper Street Superintendent Jeff Theising said Thursday. “With the temperature lows in the single digits over the weekend, we’re going to spend [Thursday and Friday] trying to get it loose as much we can and get as much of it off. Because there isn’t going to be getting it off over the weekend.”

But with Thursday night’s weather forecast calling for possible flurries and a low around 16 degrees, some ice may be on the roads again Friday morning.

“Even if we get the slush off, if the road stays wet, that water that’s there may refreeze. It depends on how much salt residue is left,” Stamm said. “With a low around 16 degrees tonight, salt tends to lose a little bit of its effectiveness with melting when it gets that cold.

“That’s why we’re trying like heck today to get as much of the slush off as we can.”

Friday’s weather forcast is mostly sunny with a high near 30, so that should help, Stamm said. “The roads may not be great [Friday] morning. But with that forecast, they’re going to improve drastically throughout the morning and the day on Friday,” he said.

Looking at the snow and ice that has covered the area makes me think of Punxsutawney Phil. Not that he is to blame for this, but the groundhog did see his shadow on Feb. 2, which is supposed to indicate six more weeks of this winter weather.

I sure hope he’s wrong.

More on