Winter arrives looking more like Spring: county is deluged by wet, rainy weather

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So far in Switzerland County, autumn and early winter have been marked by pleasant weather. With Thanksgiving next week and Christmas on the horizon, earlier predictions of a mild winter seemed to be coming true.

But early this week, those warmer temperatures crashed into a moving cold front up in the atmosphere — and the result was heavy rains all over the area, causing flooding in some of the low-lying areas.

The rains began on Monday, and county residents suffered nearly five inches of rain during the overnight hours. That rain caused the Switzerland County School Corporation to delay the beginning of school for two hours on Tuesday morning, giving highway workers — and Mother Nature — time to make the roads passable.

“It was simply a matter of the children’s safety,” school superintendent Tracy Caddell said. “We just felt that from a safety perspective, we needed to get some daylight on the roads so that our drivers could see how deep the water was and then make a safe decision about the children.”

Tracy Caddell said that the main problem on Tuesday morning was the high water on State Road 156 near the Concord Community Church east of Florence. Flood waters there meant that three different school bus routes had to be altered in order to get children to school.

Also a problem on Tuesday morning was an area of State Road 250 just east of Switzerland County Elementary School. Those waters began to recede as daylight came, so the two-hour delay was beneficial for the corporation in that area.

“Early Tuesday morning, there were just a lot of county roads that had sections that were underwater,” Tracy Caddell said. “We decided to go with a two hour delay from a safety perspective, and that’s what we are most concerned with.”

The superintendent said that the delay does not have to be made up by students.

All through the day on Tuesday, county highway workers and state highway workers continued their efforts to make sure that motorists were safe on Switzerland County roads; and by nightfall most of the problem areas were under control.

But Tuesday night brought its own set of problems for county citizens. Weather reports showed possible severe weather all around the county; with a line of thunderstorms capable of producing tornadoes stretching nearly across the nation.

Tornado activity was reported west of Switzerland County in areas around Crawford County, Davies County, and Martin County. A severe storm also hit the Bloomington area, causing the evacuation of some dormitories on the Indiana University campus; and there were also confirmed tornado touch downs northwest of Switzerland County in the community of Hope near Greensburg; Rushville; and around Connersville.

Although most of Switzerland County braced for severe weather, with some school and community functions being postponed because of the weather threat, by the time the weather threat had ended, most of the county had seen less than an inch of additional rain.

Wednesday brought a whole new weather concern, with National Weather Service reports showing that the area around Switzerland County could be in for some snow flurries during the afternoon and evening hours. Today (Thursday), the high is supposed to be only about 37 degrees; so it appears that winter is finally arriving here in the county.