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Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Mike Shroyer, left, helps neighbor Chonetia Ganaway dig out her car Wednesday morning on East Williams Street. Wednesday’s high temperature reached 18 degrees, with 20s in the forecast today.

Getting back to normal

Rising temps lead many to venture out

Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
Fort Wayne firefighters work on a vehicle that rolled over into the median on Interstate 69 on Wednesday at the Union Chapel Road exit.

Did you feel that?

Amazing what a little glimmer of sun and a temperature a few ticks above 10 degrees can do for you.

It was almost as though we were ready to break out the grills, throw some leis around our necks and have us a little luau, it felt so warm.

Sadly, we Hoosiers know our bodies will soon revert to form.

The worst of the cold might be behind us – for a little while, most of us hope – but temperatures in the aftermath of this week’s polar vortex will still be below freezing.

Today, the high is expected to be at least in the mid-20s. Wednesday’s high temperature reached 18 degrees, and the low was 3, according to the National Weather Service in Syracuse.

Gov. Mike Pence has declared a state of disaster emergency in 29 counties, including Kosciusko, Noble, Steuben and Whitley. Allen, DeKalb and Wells counties have locally declared a state of disaster emergency and might be added to the governor’s list. Emergency declarations are necessary to qualify for federal assistance.

There were seven weather-related deaths in Indiana, according to state officials.

All counties in the state have now lifted travel warnings, which had kept everyone except for emergency workers off the road, according to those same government officials.

Some local counties – Whitley, Huntington and Adams – maintained a travel watch Wednesday night that called for residents to take to the roads only if absolutely necessary.

Elsewhere, more people were hopping in their cars and going back to work or going shopping compared with previous days.

Still, Fort Wayne city officials said workers were clearing streets and trying to make traffic easier.

“We’re seeing pavement in some places,” said Frank Suarez, a city spokesman. “We’ve cleared a lot of alleys and a lot of streets. We just ask that people still be patient.”

Indiana Department of Transportation officials warned residents that while the roads are improving, there will be some slick spots along with slush. Both state and city officials said trucks will continue to salt roads to help with the melting.

While some municipalities have been hit hard in terms of dollars when it comes to salt and budgets, Suarez said Fort Wayne is in good shape. Typically, city officials estimate spending $590,000 to $600,000 on salt every year, Suarez said.

“Every year is different,” Suarez said. “We do take the clearing of city streets seriously.”

Suarez also said city officials are keeping an eye on possible flooding, but so far no major problems are popping up, he said.

Worries about that might come later.

While today might be a little warmer, there’s still a 40 percent chance of snow after 1 p.m., and freezing rain could arrive tonight, according to the National Weather Service.

Temperatures on Friday could reach the upper 30s and possibly the lower 40s by Saturday. But there’s a chance of rain and light snow those days before temps dip into the upper 30s by Sunday.

So there’s no need to break out the tiki torches yet – winter still has a firm hold on us all.