Northwest Indiana hit hard with snow

February 3, 2009 7:48:29 PM PST
Parts of northwest Indiana are being pounded by lake effect snow on Tuesday night. The weather is causing dangerous traffic conditions in Michigan City. Indiana state police are reporting several spin-outs and crashes, including some along Route 421.

So far no serious injuries have been reported.

A few miles southwest in Gary, blowing snow made it difficult for people to get around. The snowplows were out early on Tuesday afternoon. Despite the bad weather, the city says it's prepared with enough salt to get it through the winter.

And so far it looks like Chicago has been spared from the heavy snowfall. But Cook County officials are keeping an eye on the southern suburbs.

Snowy afternoon in NW Indiana

Lake effect snow dumped as much as 7 inches in parts of northwest Indiana.

Valparaiso saw as much as 7 inches of snow in four hours on Tuesday afternoon. The hardest hit areas are Porter and LaPorte counties.

Lake effect snow mixed with wind led to blizzard -like conditions in Gary, Ind.

"The wind is really pushing the snow. There is nothing you can do about it," said Horace Clay, Gary resident.

"It's terrible out here. I have been just been there for five minutes. Now I can't even see. Just trying to make it back to the car," said Jasmine Hand, Gary resident.

"One minute it's not snowing and the next minute it's pouring down," said Prentis Sanders, Gary resident.

Lake-effect snow is often unpredictable. Sanders, who does not own a car, is walking 13 blocks. He said he's dressed for it.

" It's my first time. It does the job," said Sanders.

Snow plows and salt spreaders were out early Tuesday afternoon

"We kind of got ahead of this. We anticipated it would be a pretty rough winter. We ordered enough salt to get us through the winter. We just didn't anticipate we would have storms this late in the winter," said Rinzell Williams, Gary Director of Public Works.

The snow is not only affecting portions of Indiana but also portions of Cook County, especially the southern end. Officials monitored the situation all day from its command center.

"We can actually kind of monitor to see when the snow will actually come," said David Ramos, Cook County Emergency Mgmt. Agency.