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January 7, 2014

Deep freeze: Drifting snow derails cleanup efforts

Drifting snow derails cleanup efforts

With major snowfall being the culprit on Sunday, wind and dangerous temperatures took over as the major problems for emergency responders on Monday.

Winds gusting at 25 mph, Cass County highway crews fought a losing battle Monday with drifting snow. Residents watched helplessly as improvements made by a passing snow plow were quickly negated by drifting snow. Also, those high winds pushed the wind chill down to negative 40 degrees.

The snowfall stopped on Sunday, after dropping between 9 and 10 inches, but blowing and drifting snow are expected to continue today, according to the National Weather Service.

As traveling in the area continues to be dangerous, Cass County and Logansport will remain under a state of emergency until today, meaning only emergency vehicles are prohibited on roadways.

The city’s status will be re-evaluated this morning, Logansport Mayor Ted Franklin said.

“The roads are drifting shut quicker than we can clear them. And with the extreme cold, we thought it would be better to keep doing what we’re doing,” Franklin said of the travel restrictions.

Cass County will remain under emergency status until this afternoon, said Cass County Emergency Management Agency director Alvin Beckman. Cass County Commissioner Jim Sailors said the roads and wind are making it difficult for the highway department to keep up.

Beckman agreed.

“The wind is really causing havoc,” Beckman said. “Roads the county has opened are blowing back shut.”

County road crews have worked “around the clock” for two days and will continue to do so, said highway superintendent Jeff Smith.

“A majority of roads are impassable,” Smith said. “We’re now working to respond to people who have power outages or emergencies.”

Although the county and surrounding areas are in a state of emergency, residents continue to venture out. Vehicles are getting stuck in the roadway. Some drivers have even abandoned their vehicles, which means the highway department can’t get through, Smith said.

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