INDIANAPOLIS — Driving conditions in the Indianapolis area improved Monday as a record-setting snowstorm began to wind down, but schools remained closed and police said highways remained deceptively dangerous.
As of noon, a total of 9 inches of snow had fallen on the state capital as the snow swept through central Indiana Sunday and Monday. The snowfall easily surpassed the previous record for those dates, National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Ryan said.
"It is fairly uncommon to get snow like this in March," Ryan said, though he said lesser amounts weren't uncommon and flurries could occur as late as early April.
The Indiana Department of Transportation's Greenfield District east of Indianapolis said it had 175 snowplows on duty Sunday night, and more crews reported at midnight. Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard gave nonessential city employees the morning off and told them not to report to work until 1 p.m. to help reduce traffic, but other drivers were on the roads, remained slick.
In Indianapolis and the doughnut counties around it, troopers responded to more than 60 accidents, including nearly 20 with injuries, and dozens of slide-offs. Drivers weren't slowing down to compensate for the still-icy conditions, state police said.
"It's all driving too fast, following too close," Indiana State Police Sgt. Rich Myers said. "People need to slow down for weather conditions, allow a lot more distance between you and the vehicle ahead, and I think we could alleviate a lot of this."
First Sgt. Tim Kaiser, assistant commander at the Pendleton post, which oversees I-69 and I-70 east of Indianapolis, said the same thing.
"People get up to speed on the wet road, only to come across a section of I-69 that has iced over from the blowing snow," he said.
State police said road conditions were improving along Interstate 65 near Lafayette after numerous reports of accidents overnight in an eight-county region. Troopers reported responding to 28 crashes, including five with injuries, 58 slide-offs and 12 people calling for help. First Sgt. Greg Dunkle said late Monday morning that the sun was shining and road conditions were good.
The snow was supposed to taper off by mid-afternoon and by lunchtime had already diminished in the western part of the state, National Weather Service meteorologist Michael Koch said. He said the counties just north of I-70 felt the brunt of the storm, while the extreme northern and southern portions of the state got away with a dusting or a couple of inches.