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The Journal Gazette

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Isaiah Papenbrock attempts to keep the sidewalks outside The Rescue Mission clear Saturday afternoon as snow falls heavily in the afternoon hours.

Saturday, January 12, 2019 4:50 pm

Drivers urged to slow down as snow blankets area

With snow expected to continue until 11 p.m. today, bringing up to four inches in Allen County, state and city snow plows will continue to cover their routes until the roads stay clear, according to local authorities.

Crews from the Indiana Department of Transportation and the City of Fort Wayne pre-treated their respective routes Friday with brine to prevent ice buildup.

Nichole Thomas, media relations director for INDOT's Fort Wayne district, said the district's 140 drivers would be plowing state and federal highways during 12-hour shifts until no longer needed.

THE INDOT crews were reporting crashes and slideoffs since the snow began around 9:45 a.m. this morning, Thomas said.

"We do expect that (crashes and slide-offs) with the first significant snow of the year," Thomas said Saturday afternoon. "It's been very, very mild lately, but winter is here now," adding that drivers need to slow down, pay attention and start out early.

"We have people on 69 trying to go 70 miles per hour right now," Thomas said. "People just need to slow down."

Traffic will be less slick in the city where the heat from car tires helps to break up snow and ice, Thomas said.

"Rural areas with no traffic could certainly be slick," Thomas added.

Meteorologist Chris Roller with the National Weather Service of Northern Indiana said an inch of snow had fallen by 1 p.m. Snow started to fall at 9:45 a.m. and the area is expected to experience a heavier band through 5 p.m.

"Heavier bands should be through by evening," Roller said, but snow will probably continue until about 11 p.m.

Fort Wayne has 40 street department plow trucks working the roads, according to a release Saturday from Frank Suarez, Fort Wayne city spokesman.

"Yesterday, plow truck drivers pre-treated main arterial intersections with brine to reduce ice build-up," Suarez said in the release. "At this hour streets are slick and motorists should allot for additional time and reduce speeds as they travel today."

jduffy@jg.net