FORT WAYNE – Those dreaming of a white Christmas missed it by one day.
And when the snow began to fall Wednesday, it didn’t bring images of chestnuts roasting on an open fire or any of the other yuletide traditions that come to mind this season.
Instead, it wreaked havoc on busy roads. Crashes, bad visibility and slide-offs awaited motorists as they took to the streets, where many drivers kept their speedometers well below the speed limits.
Today should be a different story, with light snow – if any – and better roads, according to the National Weather Service.
While the high will only be 30, the roads should have time to melt off and maybe even dry out, said John Taylor, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s office in Syracuse.
Fort Wayne International Airport recorded 3.1 inches of snow Wednesday, while 4 inches fell north and northeast of the city, according to the weather service. Forecasters had been calling for 5 to 7 inches to fall in the region.
Allen County and much of the surrounding area was under a winter storm warning or winter storm advisory throughout much of the day, with drifting snow from high winds making it hard to calculate how much actually fell.
Fort Wayne police were called about so many minor accidents at one point that officers were no longer responding to ones that did not include injuries or disabled vehicles. By 3:30 p.m., though, accidents had tapered off and officers were responding to calls as normal, according to dispatchers.
In Adams County, a 22-year-old woman lost control of her car on snow-covered U.S. 27 near County Road 400 South and collided head-on with a truck driven by another woman.
Indiana State Police later said the driver of the car was going too fast for the conditions, which caused her to lose control.
She and four others – including the driver of the truck and that woman’s two children, ages 1 and 4 – were taken to a hospital with complaints of pain.
The snowfall was being treated as a major snowstorm by Fort Wayne crews, who were prepared to work all night if necessary to keep roads clear, city officials said.
Fort Wayne Street Department salt trucks hit the roads as soon as snow began to fall, concentrating on intersections and major thoroughfares.
City spokesman Frank Suarez said the city had plenty of notice of the approaching storm and had 38 trucks prepared to go to work.
Emergency routes used by fire trucks and ambulances got priority. Secondary streets will be plowed and salted later as necessary.
At Fort Wayne International, six flights were delayed and two canceled, but it was unclear why. The airport reported its runways were open and planes were able to land and take off.
The delays and cancellations could have been related to weather in other locations, airport officials said, but they had no way of knowing exactly why different airlines delayed or scratched flights.
Other parts of the state were hit a bit harder.
The heaviest snowfall amounts – about a foot of wet snow – fell from about Vincennes in southwest Indiana across south-central Indiana through the Bloomington and Nashville areas, according to the weather service.
The storm quickly dropped several inches of snow in some areas, including 3 inches in an hour in the Indianapolis area Wednesday morning. The capital city officially reported 7.5 inches of snow.