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Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Scout, a 1-year-old Siberian and Alaskan husky mix runs happily through the snow Thursday morning at Pawster Park in Fort Wayne.

After record snow, big cleanup reigns

– Snow cleanup crews traversed the residential areas of Fort Wayne on Thursday in an effort to clear remaining streets by the evening.

“We’ve gotten to 90 percent of it at this point, probably a little better than that now,” City Utilities spokesman Frank Suarez said at 2:50 p.m. Thursday. “We hope to get into all the residential areas sometime tonight.”

A total of 10.4 inches of wet, heavy snow fell throughout the Fort Wayne area Tuesday and early Wednesday, with a record set for March 5 with 9.0 inches. The snowstorm caused havoc on roads and kept crews busy during the more than 24-hour cleanup process.

The county’s snowplow drivers finished clearing roads shortly after 2 p.m. Thursday, county spokesman Mike Green said. County drivers began plowing about 3 a.m. Wednesday and drove for more than a dozen hours. After a short rest Wednesday evening, they returned to the roads about 4 a.m. Thursday.

“They’re all headed home now – hopefully to get some sleep,” Green said Thursday afternoon.

Green said freezing temperatures overnight Wednesday caused another delay as trucks returned to some areas with deicing materials.

Rainy skies ahead

Though Fort Wayne won’t see more snow in the next few days, rain is soon to follow, said Courtney Obergfell, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Syracuse.

“We have a system coming into the area overnight on Saturday that will probably continue into Monday,” Obergfell said. “That could bring some widespread rainfall, probably close to an inch in some areas.”

Obergfell said the problem with a large snowstorm in March is that although warmer temperatures melt snow faster, mixing in rain can lead to flooding.

“In some areas, there’s over an inch of liquid stored in that snow,” Obergfell said. “We could be looking at having some flooding issues this weekend.”

Suarez said the city is assessing the weekend’s forecast and staying apprised of flooding risks.

Today’s high temperature was expected to reach the mid-30s. Temperatures are expected to climb throughout the weekend, Obergfell said. Saturday’s high is forecast in the low 40s; Sunday’s high is expected to be in the upper 40s.

jcrothers@jg.net

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