A winter storm that blew through central Indiana on Monday packed quite a punch here in Howard County, with periods of low visibility and snowfall amounts that measured at times around 1 to 2 inches per hour.
According to the National Weather Service, the heaviest snowfall occurred between 3 p.m. Monday and midnight on Tuesday, with wind gusts reaching in upwards of 25-30 mph.
In a weather bulletin posted to the NWS Indiana website around 11 a.m. on Tuesday, new snowfall total accumulations for Howard County during this latest storm ranged from 7 inches near Russiaville to 9.1 inches in other parts of the county, with snowdrifts measuring multiple feet in some locations.
And while the storm also caused difficult traveling conditions — with Howard County reaching orange advisory status — Howard County’s 911 Communications Center Communications Coordinator Zach Rudolph said there were actually just a little more than a dozen slide-offs or personal damage crashes between the hours of 2 p.m. Monday and 2 a.m. Tuesday.
Rudolph also noted that dispatch received no weather-related injury calls.
“People seemed to use their better judgment and just stayed off the roads or inside altogether,” he said.
Many of those roads still remained snow-covered throughout the day on Tuesday, as officials urged the public for patience while snowplow crews continued to clear the streets.
“Our plows have been out since 5 a.m. this morning working hard,” one Facebook post by the Howard County Highway Department on Tuesday morning noted. “It will take us time to get all the roads open. Be safe if you must get on the roads.”
In Kokomo, plows were also out in full force, digging out from Monday’s storm, Mayor Tyler Moore said.
“We had probably 12-15 trucks overnight hitting just the primaries throughout the city,” he said, “sometimes two or three times.”
Primary roads include routes that provide access to medical services and fire or police departments. It also entails other key transportation streets that provide access to schools or other essential businesses.
After primary roads are fully cleared, Moore said that’s when crews then turn their focus onto secondary streets, such as those found in residential neighborhoods or subdivisions.
“Around 7 p.m. [Tuesday], we’re going to have a full-on attack and get to those,” Moore said. “… We understand that folks still need to get to work and that there are those that are getting hung up either at the end of their driveways or at the intersection where the trucks have thrown snow on their way past, but there are a lot of Good Samaritans out there helping dig each other out. That’s warming to the heart, and we just appreciate everyone’s patience.”
With Monday’s latest totals, around 25-30 inches of snow has now fallen throughout Howard County this winter, with the NWS predicting more to come over the next few days.