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Winter storm frustrates drivers

Kirstie Ketterman Adam Johnsboth Valparaiso walk freezing rain-covered walkway by paviliIndianDunes State Park ChestertInd. Sunday January 27 2013. The weather

Kirstie Ketterman and Adam Johnson, both of Valparaiso, walk on a freezing rain-covered walkway by the pavilion at the Indiana Dunes State Park in Chesterton, Ind. Sunday January 27, 2013. The weather soon after changed to regular rain. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 1, 2013 7:17PM



A mixture of freezing rain and sleet started falling late Sunday afternoon in Northwest Indiana making roads treacherous and contributing to several crashes.

National Weather Service meterologist Andrew Krein said they received reports of slick driving and walking conditions from across the Chicago area and Northwest Indiana. The area was under a freezing rain advisory until 9 p.m.; Krein said about one- to two-tenths of an inch of ice accumulated on the roads by 6:30 p.m. Krein said the most dangerous areas are side roads and sidewalks that haven’t been treated with road salt.

Salt trucks were visible on the Borman Expressway earlier in the afternoon in an effort to pre-treat the roads. The Indiana Department of Transportation advised drivers to avoid nonessential travel; Freezing rain and ice can affect vehicles regardless of size, including those with four-wheel drive.

Starting around 5 p.m., the Indiana State Police responded to several crashes on Interstate 94, particularly in Porter County between Chesterton and Michigan City. There were no serious injuries, but several motorists were transported to local hospitals due to complaints of pain. Interstate 65 has been relatively clear of crashes, police said.

Shortly after 5 p.m., Merrillville Police reported some difficulty in responding to a crash at 78th Lane since it was on a hill and the road was icy. Other law enforcement agencies reported instances of people falling on the ice and vehicle crashes.

Even though air temperatures were rising above freezing on Sunday night, ground temperatures were still below 32 degrees, which could prolong the dangerous road conditions, according to the National Weather Service. Ice may also accumulate on power lines and branches, which could lead to power outages.



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