INDIANAPOLIS - Northern Indiana got hit with subzero temperatures for the second time this month, closing many schools and leading some counties to limit travel to emergency responders only and to close some roads until heavy equipment can be brought in to move deep snow drifts.
The National Weather Service issued a wind chill warning until midday Wednesday for many northern Indiana counties, warning of wind chills as low as 35 below zero Monday night. Many counties in central Indiana will be under a wind chill warning from midday Tuesday through midday Wednesday, with wind chills predicted as low as 30 degrees below zero. The weather service warns that frostbite of exposed skin can occur within minutes under such circumstances.
Some Indiana cities announced Monday that their offices will be closed Tuesday because of the Arctic air covering the state. The city of Indianapolis announced it would be closed Tuesday and would open two hours late Wednesday because of the weather. The city of South Bend closed its offices at noon Monday and will remain closed Tuesday.
The weather service reports that before the temperature dropped below zero Dec. 12, it had been nearly three years since it had been as cold in South Bend and Fort Wayne. Since then, South Bend, which typically sees temperatures at or below zero about five times each winter, has logged eight such days; while Fort Wayne, which normally sees slightly more six days of below zero temperatures each winter, also had marked eight. And those figures don't include Monday, when by mid-afternoon Fort Wayne was at a low of 2 degrees, while South Bend was at 3.
Eleven counties in northern Indiana issued travel warnings, limiting travel to emergency management workers only because of dangerous road conditions.
Steuben County emergency management director Kristy Clawson said winds gusting to 30 mph were blowing drifts several feet deep on rural roads in the northeastern Indiana county. Clawson said plowing crews were having trouble keeping roads clear.
"They are trying to open roads, and the wind picks up and shuts them right behind them," Clawson said.
Clawson said most people seem to following warnings and staying off the roads.
Andrea Calbert, 53, lives on the south side of Indianapolis and works as a security guard at a downtown office building. She said she was wearing layers of clothing to cope with the frigid temperatures.
"I've got two pairs of pants on today," she said Monday.
The winds were so strong Saturday they sent heavy metal trash cans in front of the building tumbling, she said.
The University of Notre Dame, Indiana University South Bend, Valparaiso University and Trine University in Angola canceled classes Monday because of hazardous road conditions. Valparaiso suspended classes until 7 a.m. Wednesday because of the extreme temperatures, Notre Dame announced campus would remain closed through at least 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Dozens of school districts across northern and central Indiana also called off classes Monday with some also extending the cancelations into Tuesday. The weather even forced St. Joseph County court officials to postpone the start of a murder trial.