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Temperatures slowly rising, but some schools remain closed

Seven plow-equipped vehicles sit ready for actiTuesday Jan. 7 2014  Hobart's Lake Park Restaurant near Festival Park. | Carole

Seven plow-equipped vehicles sit ready for action Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, at Hobart's Lake Park Restaurant, near Festival Park. | Carole Carlson~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 9, 2014 6:24AM



Bitterly cold temperatures made travel treacherous — particularly on Interstate 65 — on Tuesday as Northwest Indiana residents started to resume business as usual.

Temperatures hovered around zero Tuesday, but that was still an improvement over Monday’s subzero arctic blast.

The National Weather Service forecasts that temperatures should rise into the midteens on Wednesday, but that will bring with it a 40 percent chance of snow. Temperatures in the 30s are possible by the weekend, but with rain in the forecast the chance of flooding increases.

Many schools will remain closed Wednesday.

Shortly before 3 p.m. Tuesday, INDOT spokesman Matt Deitchley said the department’s plows were making progress on snow-covered roads, but icy conditions remain and the roads could freeze again overnight. Since road salt is less effective in subzero temperatures, drivers should prepare for a sheet of ice. Melting agents should be more effective on Wednesday as temperatures rise.

“The majority of roads are now passable across Northwest Indiana,” the release said.

Chicago AAA Motor Club spokeswoman Beth Mosher said the volume of calls has been unprecedented — with 35,000 calls for assistance across the Midwest, including 12,000 from Illinois and Northwest Indiana, since Friday.

“On a typical cold day, we get 5,000 calls across the Midwest, so we’ll be dealing with these calls throughout the week,” Mosher said.

Calls ranged from ditched cars to dead batteries. Tuesday was shaping up to be even busier as more people are back on the roads, but black ice is a real issue, she said.

Mosher said AAA was trying to prioritize those who are in emergency situations and contacting Indiana State Police and first responders to assist if roads are closed.

Several school districts will remain closed on Wednesday, including Merrillville Community Schools, Tri-Creek School Corp., School City of East Chicago, School Town of Highland, School City of Hobart, School City of Hammond, River Forest Schools, Lake Central School Corp., Lake Ridge Schools, Gary Community Schools, Portage Township Schools, LaPorte Community School Corp., Valparaiso Community School Corp. and Griffith Public Schools.

Duneland School Corp. will have a two-hour delay. Tri-Creek said in its notice that it was having trouble starting any of its school buses.

Purdue University Calumet in Hammond announced its campus would be reopen Wednesday.

Trash pickup for Merrillville and Lakes of the Four Seasons residents was delayed until Wednesday.

Warming centers in Gary and Highland were empty Tuesday afternoon as the need subsided.

Sue Lafferty of Sun-Times Media and Post-Tribune correspondent Michelle L.Quinn contributed to this report.



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