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Last updated: Wed. Jan. 08, 2014 - 12:36 pm EDT

Care urged as residents dig city out

Slick roads, freezing air linger

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Watches and warnings

To see a map of which counties are under watches and which are under warnings, check Level 1, red or snow emergency

– Travel restricted to emergency personnel or essential emergency travel only. Level 2, orange or warning

– Weather conditions extremely threatening; emergency personnel and essential travel only. Level 3, yellow or watch

– Essential travel only, which includes to and from work. In effect for the following counties: Adams until further notice; Huntington until 3 p.m. today; Steuben, status to be evaluated at noon today; Wabash until further notice; Wells until 6 p.m. today; Whitley until further notice.

Yes, Fort Wayne, it was cold Tuesday.

So cold, we not only tied a record for the lowest temp on Jan.7, we also had colder weather than parts of Antarctica, where a low of 9 degrees below zero was recorded at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.

And guess what: We’re not out of the woods yet.

While today’s projected high of 18 degrees will be a bit balmier than Tuesday’s low of minus 15 degrees (the high Tuesday was only 4 degrees), wind chill is expected to make it still feel like 15 below, according to the National Weather Service’s office in Syracuse. Add to that a 30 percent chance of snow – many areas already received a hefty amount this week with blizzard conditions – and you’ve got conditions that still warrant extreme caution if you’re out and about.

Travel watches are still in effect for several surrounding areas, restricting the roadways to essential travel.

Even as weather warms, the roads will still be slippery with ice and possibly slush later on as highs reach 35 degrees by Friday and 40 degrees by Sunday.

“People should still use caution,” said Fort Wayne spokesman Frank Suarez. “With the snow packed down, the roads will be slick.”

Motorists who want to use alternate transportation today can use Citilink, which will have buses operating on a full schedule.

On Monday, routes were limited, and some buses were running 5 to 10 minutes behind. There were some kinks in a few routes, according to the Citilink Facebook page, but officials hoped to have those ironed out with a full fleet of buses today.

People who go outside are being warned to bundle up and still limit their exposure time.

As the temperatures stayed low throughout the state, there were people who ran into trouble.

Emergency room workers for Parkview Health treated people for an assortment of winter maladies, including:

•Seven people who fell on ice, two of whom suffered from extended exposure.

•Four people who suffered from muscle strains after shoveling snow.

•One person hurt playing in snow, one hurt using a snow blower and one hurt in an ATV accident.

•One person suffering from frost bite and three people suffering from frost nip, which is the stage right before frostbite.

Here in Fort Wayne, one man’s death may have been related to the cold weather.

A 66-year-old man died at a local hospital after going into cardiac arrest while trying to shovel snow Sunday, according to the Allen County Coroner’s office.

He wasn’t the only one statewide.

A 41-year-old man in Henry County was killed in a vehicle crash related to the weather Sunday.

A 66-year-old Anderson man was found outside Sunday after he didn’t return from shoveling snow. He died from a heart-related problem.

A 90-year-old woman was found dead on her back porch Monday.

Investigators believe she had been shoveling a path for her dogs and died of a heart attack.

The cold weather also brought water main breaks.

There were two on Sunday and two on Monday in Fort Wayne.

One in Decatur had officials there calling for residents to conserve water as they placed the town under a boil advisory.

Whitley hit hard

Whitley County residents may have been the hardest hit by the storm, with a recorded 16.2 inches of snowfall, according to Cathy Broxton-Ball, director of the Whitley County Emergency Management Agency.

“I’ve heard that we had the most snowfall in this area,” Broxton-Ball said Tuesday.

Add to that the 7.5 inches of snow the county had before the storm hit, and Monday’s sustained 30 to 40 mph winds, and well, as Broxton-Ball puts it, “It’s been wild.”

“The snow was so heavy that we had problems with our plows, and there’s ice on the bottom and top of the snow, and it’s super icy when plowed,” she said.

In Monday and Tuesday’s subzero weather, some trucks froze up and refused to run, and others got stuck in the massive drifts, she said.

“Instead of one truck per township like we normally have, we had to send them out in pairs to work together, so we only plowed half of the area we usually cover,” Broxton-Ball said.

To add to the county’s frustration, a large fire at Viking Products Inc. on U.S. 30 early Monday – and again Tuesday morning when the fire rekindled – kept all county firefighters as well as Aboite and Arcola firefighters working in subzero weather for hours.

Fire trucks and hoses froze up as firefighters tried not to, Broxton-Ball said.

There was also a house and chimney fire at Goose Lake in Richland Township, she said, but the real problem was the numerous slide-offs and accidents in places “we couldn’t even get to,” she said.

The National Guard and the Department of Natural Resources has helped Whitley County tremendously during the past three days, Broxton-Ball said, by delivering medications – sometimes on snowmobiles – and checking on the welfare of some county residents.

The county has no established warming centers, so some residents who lost heat were transported to area hotels, she said.

The county downgraded from travel warning to watch Tuesday afternoon, which means only essential travel is allowed, Broxton-Ball said.

“Our roads are still snow-covered and slick and only one lane in some areas,” she said.

County plow operators worked from 5 a.m. to sunset and slept on cots at the fire department and in the highway garage Monday and Tuesday nights, she said.

Broxton-Ball herself had not been home for days.

“Maybe tomorrow … ” she said.

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