A Highland Public Works Department snow plow clears Prairie Avenue north of 45th Street during a snowstorm Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014. | Joe Puchek~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 20, 2014 6:53AM
Interstate 65 near Lafayette was closed for several hours Saturday after a crash in heavy snow involving about 30 vehicles, including at least nine semitrailers.
State police said the crash stopped traffic both northbound and southbound on I-65, and at least one of the semitrailers caught on fire. The Journal & Courier reported that cars that slid off I-65 were stuck in the median south of the fire.
State police did not immediately know if there were injuries but said the road was expected to remain closed for several hours.
Jerrad Christian of Columbus, Ohio, was among the people stuck in traffic who got up on an overpass to get a view of the accident. He said he was on his way to Chicago for auditions for “The Voice” television show.
“I think we’re going to be a few hours late,” he told the newspaper.
In Northwest Indiana, the storm had deposited a couple of inches of fresh snow before tapering off about 9 p.m. Sunday’s high of 32 degrees should offer a brief respite from the severe winter weather, but temperatures are expected to plummet early next week, according to the National Weather Service.
On Saturday, the snow started about noon with large flakes, some near-whiteout travel conditions and light winds.
In Gary, snow plows took to the streets at 11 a.m., according to spokeswoman Chelsea Stalling-Whittington. “Our snow plan is being implemented and we ask that everyone drive safely and please adhere to the 2-inch snow route rules to avoid towing,” she said in a Facebook post.
In Highland, snow plows were seen on 45th Street west of Indianapolis Boulevard and in the Meadows subdivision.
A worker with the Lake County Highway Department said plows were out but there were no specific driving alerts or closures, though he urged motorists to use caution.
“It’s pretty much bad all over the county,” he said.
Areas south of Interstate 80 could see 3 to 5 inches Saturday night, according to the weather service.
Slight accumulations of snow may return Monday and Wednesday nights, but an arctic blast moving in Monday could bring nighttime wind chills to 20 below zero. High temperatures could hover in single digits and teens for most of the week, according to weather service meteorologist Ben Deubelbeiss.
“We’ve had an active start to the weather year to say the least,” Deubelbeiss said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.