Heavy wet snow blanketed northeast Indiana on Wednesday, closing schools and workplaces and snarling roads with slide-offs and crashes.

The snow tapered off by late afternoon but was predicted to leave up to 9 inches behind before ending.

Snow totals for Fort Wayne reached a record 6.1 inches by 4:30 p.m., the National Weather Service’s Northern Indiana office near Syracuse reported. The previous record for Jan. 25 was in 5.4 inches in the blizzard year of 1978.

A winter storm warning expired Wednesday night, but a few lingering snow showers were predicted during the overnight hours, but only 1 to 2 inches of accumulation were predicted, said Maddie Johnson, Northern Indiana weather service meteorologist.

Indiana State Police closed the southbound/eastbound lanes of Interstate 469 between Maplecrest Road and Interstate 69 around noon because of five crashes around mile marker 25, said Sgt. Brian Walker, public information officer. One minor injury was reported, and the interstate was reopened more than two hours later.

Fort Wayne police had so many crash reports they stopped responding to calls unless a crash caused injuries or resulted in an immobile vehicle, the department posted on its Facebook page about 1 p.m.

As of 5:30 p.m., Allen, Adams, Huntington, Wabash and Wells counties remained under a travel watch, and a travel advisory remained in effect in DeKalb, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben and Whitley counties.

Fort Wayne’s main arteries were brined Tuesday night to prevent snow from compacting, a streets department news release said. Plowing of the city’s main arteries and collectors, began Wednesday. Streets were being salted beginning around 2 p.m.

Typically, it takes 10 to 12 hours after snow stops falling to plow and salt the top-priority streets. Residential streets generally take 48 hours to plow, assuming the plows don’t have to move back to higher-priority streets, the release said.

City officials urged drivers to slow down and expect longer travel times and use caution around plows and salt trucks.

Republic Services suspended trash pickups in New Haven shortly before noon. Any missed trash will be picked up during customers’ next regular pickup day.

Many schools across the region were closed Wednesday. Many moved to e-learning days.

The snow was great for making snowmen and snowballs, but it was so heavy it proved difficult to shovel and easily clogged snowblowers.

Johnson said snow in Fort Wayne fell at the rate of an inch an hour during Wednesday morning, with the heaviest snow falling in the hours just before noon.

The meteorologist said the accumulation ended something of a snow drought – only 5.9 inches fell in December in January. The average total just for January is 10.3 inches.

The snowfall was caused by a low-pressure system that moved northeast from the Four Corners area of the Southwest across Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri to Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

It was expected to continue through parts of Pennsylvania and western New York to New England, Johnson said.

“It seems more like it’s been a generic Midwestern snowstorm,” she said.

Scattered snow showers are predicted through Thursday through Sunday, Johnson said Wednesday.

“Although nothing like today,” Johnson said.


Reporter Rosa Salter Rodriguez has nearly 50 years of experience at newspapers in Pennsylvania and Indiana. She has worked at The Journal Gazette since 2004, covering medical and health issues and land use and development issues.