Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

January 2, 2008

Year starts with record snowfall

Not since the blizzard of 1978 has so much snow fallen in Goshen in a single day. The ’78 blizzard set the record for the highest amount at 14 inches. Tuesday, that record was nearly broken, with a total of 13.3 inches. Tuesday’s storm did, however, set a new record for the most snowfall on New Year’s Day. The previous record was 7.8 inches, set in 1928.

Jeff Taylor, manager of transportation for the Elkhart County Highway Department, said his workers were prepared for the storm but that “being prepared and dealing with it are two different things.” He said, “We’ve been working 24 hours a day since it started.”

Taylor said that during the storm’s most intense periods, “The roads were blowing in as quick as we were getting them opened.” Because it was too difficult to keep everyone working through the nights, skeleton crews were formed.

As of today, Taylor said that all main roads are passable. Subdivisions are in the worst shape, however, and probably won’t be completely cleared for a couple of days.

Taylor stated that the department’s employees will be working 12- to 14-hour days until all roads are clear.

James Krezel, operations manager of the Indiana Department of Transportation’s Elkhart sub-district, stated that his department was also prepared for the storm.

“We had a night patrol waiting for this to come in,” he said. They worked around the clock until roads were cleared.

Of the process, Krezel added, “After we finish, we assess it and see what we could’ve done better.”

He said that all state roads are open and passable.

According to Michael Skipper, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, snowstorms of this magnitude are fairly uncommon.

“We usually don’t get more than two a year,” he said.

Skipper said the weather conditions have to be just right to get these results. “We had a combination of an upper level system and lake-effect snow happening together,” he said. If there is too much warm air, the precipitation is either rain or ice.

Skipper said the recent combination is “kind of like a supercharger in a car.”

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