Wednesday's slick roads: What the heck happened?

Posted: 10:23 AM, Jan 24, 2018
Updated: 2018-01-25 02:12:51Z
Wednesday's slick roads: What the heck happened?

INDIANAPOLIS -- Thousands of Hoosiers across central Indiana are saying the same thing after dealing with Wednesday morning's slick conditions: "What the heck happened?"

Dan Parker, the director of the Department of Public Works, said they were "caught off guard" by the weather.

"The forecasting company that we rely on did not give us this kind of weather for this morning," Parker said. 

Overnight, temperatures dropped into the 20s and the wet ground dried up, leading to ice all over the roads and sidewalks.

DPW had just 12 of its 70+ trucks out on the roads between midnight and 6 a.m. By 9 a.m. Wednesday, DPW had more than 50 trucks on the 7,300 lane miles in Marion County. 

Parker said a forecasting company that DPW pays for gave them wrong information. At a media availability, he read a synopsis of that forecast, which called for warmer and dry conditions. Parker said DPW uses that company, a national forecaster, and the local TV stations.

But an RTV6 forecast could've told Parker about the slick morning conditions. In his 11 p.m. forecast, RTV6 Chief Meteorologist Kevin Gregory said, "But one of the things that happens, sometimes this low-level moisture gets trapped and is very difficult to get rid of, so we'll watch for the developing slick spots."


By 6 a.m., DPW realized the forecast was wrong and called more crews to the roads.

Parker said INDOT was caught off guard by the weather and icy roads as well. But INDOT, which covers Indiana interstates, had 100 trucks out at 6 a.m. across central and east central Indiana -- the same time that DPW had just 12. The interstates were in better condition by 7-8 a.m. than Indianapolis' side streets.

In the video below, RTV6 Meteorologist Todd Klaassen breaks down how Wednesday morning happened, and what's expected Thursday.


Parker also warned of getting it wrong on the other end of the situation. If the forecast called for inclement weather, and nothing happens, "Having 80 drivers sit here and nothing happens, that is all overtime dollars that the city has to pay for."

But, as Parker said his mother once taught him, "Excuses satisfy those who give them."

Watch Parker's full interview in the video player above. 

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