Wind, blowing snow impacts travel Friday - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Wind, blowing snow impacts travel Friday

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INDIANAPOLIS -

Light snow coupled with strong winds led to some treacherous conditions early Friday.

Interstate 65 south near Lebanon was shut down for several hours following a crash involving two semis.

"The strong wind and blowing snow and ice are terrible out there," state trooper Kent Wainscott said.

The rush hour commute was also slow along I-69. Linda Creason of Pendleton was one of several drivers who wound up sliding off the road and into a ditch.

"I was going pretty well, 50-55 (miles per hour) and I hit black ice and started spinning around and prayed, 'Lord get me here safe and here I am'," she said.

Even with all the plows out, conditions remained slick with lots of spinning tires. Dozens of schools either delayed the start of classes or canceled all together. By mid-morning, morning major streets were in good shape.

"It's basically cold and slushy...but take your time and you'll be fine," Joe Marsden said.

Many of the city's side streets, though, continued to be a sheet of ice. We watched several vehicles, their wheels spinning slide right through a four-way stop on the city's north side.

Tim Motsinger wasn't too worried.

"I have a truck, a four-by-four, so it's not a problem," Motsinger said.

Asked about the cold, gusty wind, he said, "It's winter, it's Christmas."

Shane Rhim, a mail carrier. agreed.

"It's Indiana. That's what we expect," Rhim said.

The Department of Public Works planned to keep 39 snow trucks out plowing and salting roads through the end of the day.

Earlier version

A wind advisory is in effect until 3:00 pm with central Indiana. A winter storm dropped a few inches of snow in central and northern Indiana, causing traffic problems and hundreds of school delays or closures.

State police say a semi driver was killed when the truck went out of control on bridge slick from snow on Interstate 65 in southern Indiana and barreled down an embankment.

Police say the crash happened in I-65's northbound lanes of near the Scott County town of Austin about 2:30 a.m. Friday and kept the stretch closed for several hours.

The semi went down the bridge's embankment and struck a concrete barrier separating the bridge from U.S. 31 below it. Police say the trailer detached and slammed into the cab.

Police said the driver was a 47-year-old from Tennessee, but didn't immediately release the victim's name.

The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) Greenfield District expects to maintain more than 150 truck drivers through the day as strong winds continue blowing snow across highways.

INDOT currently has more than 600 truck drivers statewide battling the blowing snow and wind gusts that reached more than 50 miles per hour overnight. Snowfall is expected to diminish, but strong winds are expected throughout the day.

INDOT truck drivers will continue cleaning up highways Friday and hope to continue making significant progress this afternoon as wind speeds are expected to lessen and pavement temperatures are expected to rise for a short time. INDOT crews are being cautious to ensure that melted snow does not collect blowing snow and make road conditions worse.

INDOT asks drivers to promote their own safety and that of others by reducing their speed according to road conditions and increasing the distance between themselves and other vehicles, especially INDOT's yellow plow trucks.

Motorists should expect the potential for blowing snow and plan ahead for their Friday evening commutes by staying updated on the latest weather and road conditions. Click here or dial toll-free 1-800-261-ROAD (7623) for updated Indiana travel information, including road conditions, road closures, construction information, crashes and other traffic alerts.

The National Weather Service says most of Indiana's northern two-thirds had at least an inch of snow Friday morning from the storm that dumped more than a foot in parts of Iowa and Wisconsin. Wind gusts over 50 mph at times caused minor damage and scattered power outages.

There was less snowfall near Lake Michigan because its warmer water led to more rainfall in the area. Gusts topping 40 mph should die down Friday afternoon, with perhaps another inch of snow accumulation by midday.

Meantime, travelers heading out this weekend for the holidays face some cancellations and flight delays as conditions improve following a Midwest blizzard.

Airports in the Philadelphia and New York areas reported weather-related flight delays Friday morning.

American Airlines and American Eagle on Friday reported 21 flight cancellations due to weather. Spokeswoman Dori Alvarez says the Fort Worth-based carrier on Thursday canceled 99 American Airlines flights and 214 American Eagle flights.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines canceled nearly 260 flights since Thursday but was running its full schedule Friday.

Maureen Richmond with Dallas-based Greyhound Bus Lines says the carrier had delays and cancellations between Minneapolis and Chicago, plus Indianapolis. Spokeswoman Maureen Richmond says the bus line's schedule was expected to return to normal later Friday.

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