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Weather Updates

Unpredictable lake-effect snow on way to Northwest Indiana

Updated: January 20, 2014 7:40PM



Areas of Northwest Indiana could potentially see new snowfall in the double-digits by Tuesday evening while others could see an inch or less.

Bill Nelson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said that as of Monday morning, officials still couldn’t tell which areas would get how much of the predicted lake-effect snow, thanks to changing wind patterns.

“Some areas have the potential to get greater than 6 inches, and other areas will get trace amounts, up to 1 inch,” Nelson said.

“It all depends on how the wind lays out across the area.”

Nelson said areas even farther east, like LaPorte County, could see 12 inches or more of snow but that some areas in Lake and Porter counties could also see that much.

The snow will hit Lake County sometime late Monday night or early Tuesday and then Porter County shortly after. The NWS is predicting the snow will be done in Lake County by mid- to late-afternoon Tuesday.

The snow will be made worse by wind gusts averaging 10 to 15 mph and gusts of up to 30 mph.

“There is a chance for blizzard conditions,” Nelson said. “...Especially when you get into Lake County, there could be some white-out conditions.”

In Porter County, Valparaiso’s Public Works Department also was preparing for the storm, despite the imprecision in the forecasts, public works director Matt Evans said.

If snow falls at a rate of 2 to 3 inches an hour, “the roads close as quickly as you open them,” Evans said.

It also takes longer to plow the more than 150 miles of roadway.

The city runs four main routes along Lincolnway, Campbell Street, Calumet Avenue and Morgan Boulevard, plus 11 other routes. Monday morning, Evans was talking with City Recreation Coordinator Dan McGuire about using parks department trucks and plows to help.

“This snow season has seemingly been one event after another. There hasn’t been any break afterwards,” Evans said.

The area was fortunate to have a warm-up right after the Jan. 5 storms, after the subzero temperatures had made salt useless for melting snow.

“This one, we have an arctic blast on the other side,” Evans said.

He encourages people to stay off the streets because it’s hard to get to people, and rescues use valuable resources.

The city has also asked people not to park on streets if they can help it, to make things easier to plow.

While snow still falls, the plows will only clear the center of the streets, and from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m., crews concentrate on the main streets.

City code prohibits moving snow on private property into the street and prohibits parking on streets when more than two inches of snow falls until streets have been cleared.

The low Monday night will dip down to about 10 to 15 degrees and will not move much higher if any into Tuesday. Nelson said the wind chill could bring it down to anywhere from minus-5 to minus-15 degrees.

Correspondent James D. Wolf Jr. contributed to this story.



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