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Samuel Hoffman
A bicyclist pedals through a light snow in downtown Fort Wayne Friday.

Dusting of snow still vexes drivers

Dozens of crashes, slide-offs in city

– Although Fort Wayne saw just a little more than an inch of snow Friday morning, it was enough to send cars slipping and sliding on local roads – causing numerous crashes, officials said.

According to the National Weather Service in Syracuse, 1.2 inches of snow fell in Fort Wayne before 1 p.m.

Officer Mark Brooks of the Fort Wayne Police Department said there were about 35 crashes reported in the city from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Several accidents occurred on Spy Run Avenue, State Boulevard and near Interstate 69 exits, according to police reports. Brooks said the accidents didn?t seem to be concentrated in one specific area of Fort Wayne but were spread out across the city.

?When the weather gets bad, we see a lot more accidents, but there?s a lower instance of severe or critical injuries,? Brooks said.

Of the 35 reported crashes, only five had injuries and none was serious, he said.

?People tend to slow down, but they follow too close, so we end up with a lot of minor accidents,? Brooks said.

Sgt. Ron Galaviz of the Indiana State Police?s Fort Wayne Post said state troopers spent most of the day rerouting traffic and attending to crashes on I-69 in Grant and Huntington counties.

Between 7 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Friday, the local state police dispatch took 38 calls for automobile crashes, Galaviz said.

Of those accidents, 30 were accidents with no injuries and eight involved some sort of injury, he said. None of the reported injuries were life-threatening.

The biggest concentration of crashes in the area Friday was near the 264 mile marker in Grant County, Galaviz said.

About 9:15 a.m., officials closed the southbound lanes of I-69 between mile markers 273 and 264 in Grant County as crews worked to clear several crashes, he said.

To help keep traffic moving and prevent subsequent crashes, state police began diverting southbound I-69 traffic onto Indiana 5 southwest of Warren shortly after the lanes were closed, Galaviz said. The closures affected only southbound lanes and all were reopened by about 11:20 a.m.

Galaviz said that as winter weather continues, he encourages drivers to monitor weather forecasts and plan ahead before traveling.

?Right now, this winter is starting out the same way it did last year. It hasn?t been egregiously awful,? he said. ?Hopefully by now, people have prepared themselves for the rigors of winter driving.?

Wintry mix Sunday

Today?s weather is expected to remain cold with a high of 25 degrees, but there?s nothing much on the radar until later in the weekend, said Katie Gross, a forecaster at the weather service in Syracuse.

?Sunday night is when a wintry mix is really going to hit,? Gross said. ?It?s going to start out as light snow and then it looks like a brief period of freezing rain, then switching over to light rain by Monday.?

Gross said Monday?s expected high of 42 degrees should help melt away frozen areas. And although roads will be wet, they shouldn?t be slick for the morning drive, she said.

Temperatures are expected to rise into the 50s Tuesday before dropping, with an expected high near 40 degrees Wednesday and just 20 degrees Thursday.

Temperatures are expected to be in the high teens next weekend, Gross said.

jcrothers@jg.net

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