Digging out is under way

    Residents of Decatur and Adams County were struggling to return to some form of normal today after being battered by the toughest winter blow this season.
    Well over 10 inches of snow was on the ground — and huge piles stacked here and there in Decatur by cleanup crews — as the county now has to deal with bitter cold.
    Adams County went to Code Red at 6 p.m. Wednesday. Code red says the following: "Stop and think twice about driving. High winds and drifting occurring. Roads are totally snow-covered or ice-covered. County roads are mostly drifted shut and impassable."
    Most business and industry was open today.
    A sunny high of only 17 degrees was forecast for the Decatur area today, with a west wind around 10 mph, followed by a low around 1 above and wind chills as low as 10 below tonight.
    Some warmer weather is seen for Friday, with a high near 26 and sunny skies. A southwest wind at 10-15 mph will make it feel much colder, however. For Friday night, the weather bureau says the low should be around 19 — and there will be a 40 percent chance of snow.
    Highs in the low 30s and lows around the 20-degree mark are predicted for the weekend, with chances of snow pegged at 30 to 40 percent.
    At 8 a.m. today, Fort Wayne's weather bureau had a reading of 9 degrees and a west wind at 10 mph producing a wind-chill reading of 10 below.    At 7 a.m., the Decatur weather station was showing 12 degrees.
    The local weather station recorded another one and a half inches of snow after 7 a.m. Wednesday, boosting the total this week to just under 10 inches.
"Worked very hard"
    "I'm really proud of the guys. They worked very hard."
    That was what Jeremy Gilbert, Decatur Street Superintendent, said today about his staff of drivers after they spent 15 1/2 hours on Wednesday cleaning snow from the estimated 60 miles of streets in the city.
    That 3 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. stretch involved opening both lanes of all the streets.
    Today and Friday, said Gilbert, will be spent hauling away the heaps of snow, some six feet high and a quarter-block long.
    Aside from praising his street staff, Gilbert thanked members of other city departments for pitching in to help remove snow and ice, such as the waste water, storm water, and parks and recreation departments.
    He added that, on Wednesday morning on Mix Ave., the street department helped free an Adams County Emergency Medical Service vehicle that was stuck in a driveway after EMS was called to tend to a possible stroke victim.
Roads "pretty decent"
    Adams County Highway Superintendent Mark Mitchel said this morning that rural road conditions are "pretty decent" after his staff worked on the 700 miles of county roads from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday.
    While Gilbert said no city trucks got stuck in the mess, Mitchel said the county's larger fleet of plows experienced about 10 instances of being stuck on Wednesday, although all those trucks were pretty easily freed.
    Mitchel noted, too, that the southern part of the county had more ice than the northern part did.
    Mitchel said today that Code Red would likely drop to Code Yellow this morning.    
Firefighters called
    Amid all the snow and ice, Decatur firefighters were called out twice Wednesday, but one run was cancelled enroute to the scene.
    The first run, at 8 p.m., was for a fire that destroyed a car owned by Nick Barrientos, address unavailable, at County Rds. 200 East and 1100 North. No one was hurt.
    The second run was for an alarm at St. Peter-Immanuel Lutheran School, 5898 E. County Rd. 1100 North at 11:53 p.m., but it was called off after a few minutes, a department spokesman said today.

Things to know
Wrestling next week
    This week's wrestling team Regional at Adams Central has been postponed to next Wednesday..

Trash pickup today
    No trash was collected in Decatur on Wednesday. That run was being made today, along with the regular Thursday pickups.
Bee rescheduled
    The Adams County Spelling Bee at St. Joseph Catholic School in Decatur has been rescheduled for Tuesday, February 8, at 6:30 p.m. in the school auditorium.

Clear hydrants
    Decatur Fire Department officials are asking the public to clean snow from around fire hydrants. There are several hundred hydrants in the city.
Travel advisory map
    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Department of Homeland Security encourages motorists to check a statewide travel advisory map before venturing out during wintry weather.
    The department says the map at www.in.gov/dhs/files/travel-advisory-map/ is continually updated with travel warnings, watches and advisories as reported by each county.

Schools closed
    All Adams County schools were closed again today, the third day in a row.