Ouch! Winter hits hard

    Winter reared its ugly head in Decatur and Adams County overnight, with roaring winds causing the most problems.
    County roads were slick and hazardous due to blowing snow. In Decatur, some streets were snow-covered and others were nearly clear — depending upon which way the snow was blowing.
    The area continued under a winter weather advisory.
    North Adams Schools were closed while Adams Central and South Adams, at last report, were on two-hour delays. Norwell and Southern Wells schools were closed while Bluffton was on a two-hour delay.
    "Winds are our biggest enemy," Decatur Street/Sanitation Superintendent Jeremy
Gilbert said at 7:45 a.m. "We didn't get much snow until 4 or 4:30 (a.m.), so we got started late. But we're working at it."
    Gilbert called the streets "very deceiving," in that someone can drive two or three blocks seeing little or no snow, then hit a street considerably more snow.
    Adams County Highway Superintendent Mark Mitchel reported at 8 a.m. that road conditions are "fairly good," with drifting in some areas, mainly on county roads, but all roads are passable.
    According to Mitchel, blowing snow is an issue, limiting visibility to a few hundred feet at times.
    Highway crews have been plowing since approximately 7 a.m.
    At 7 a.m., the National Weather Service in Fort Wayne reported west winds at 29 mph, gusting up to 38 mph. The temperature stood at 16 degrees with a wind-chill reading of 4 below.
    The Decatur weather station reported a reading of 15 degrees at 7 a.m. and an approximately two inches of snow. "It's hard to get a true measurement when it's blowing like this," a spokesperson said.    
    Decatur police reported a quiet night, with most people content to stay home.
    Indiana State Police spokesman Ron Galaviz reported at 5 a.m. today that most road s in northeast Indiana ranged from partially snow covered to completely snow and ice covered; I-69 was reported as partially snow-covered.
    "As of this time, measure of snow is not as much of an issue as the blowing of snow," said Galaviz. "Visibility is extremely poor in most rural areas."
    He urged motorists to reduce their speed, increase their following distance and to be on the lookout for emergency vehicles at the scenes of crashes or slide-offs.
    For weather information, Galaviz urged people to call 1-800-261-7673 or visit www.TrafficWise.in.gov
    At 7 a.,m., the National Weather Service in Fort Wayne reported west winds at 29 mph, gusting up to 38 mph. The temperature stood at 16 degrees with a wind-chill reading of 4 below.
    The weather service said a winter storm dumped up to nine inches of snow on northern Indiana and more is on the way.
    Weather service meteorologist Evan Bentley in Syracuse said Friday morning that Elkhart had received nine inches of snow, while Michigan City and North Judson both had six inches on the ground.
    Up to four more inches of snow could fall on the area Friday as lake effect snow showers kick in while the storm system pushes to the east. Bentley said gusty winds have whipped up drifts up to two feet high in far northern Indiana.
    While northern Indiana saw heavy snow, light to moderate amounts were reported to the south, with four inches in Lafayette and about an inch in Indianapolis.
    The weather bureau said there is a 70 percent chance of perhaps another inch of snow in the Decatur area today, with a west wind at 20-25 mph and gusts up to 35 mph. The high was expected to be in the low 20s.
    Winds should moderate to between 10 and 15 mph tonight, forecasters said, with a low around 13.
    Winds should be down to about 10 mph on Saturday, with only a slight chance of snow and a  high around 21, the weather bureau said. Saturday's low will be around 23.  It should be a bit warmer on Sunday with a high near 29 and no mention of snow.