Winter storm batters county, snow avoided, but frigid temperatures hit hard


Switzerland County didn’t get the heavy snowfalls that were projected late last week, but the area did see sub-zero freezing temperatures that forced many residents off of the roads and into the warmth of their homes.

Forecasters had predicted as much as a foot of snow to fall on Switzerland County over the weekend, but with a possible start time of early Sunday morning, the day dawned with very little snowfall around the county. Areas of the state weren’t as lucky, as the central portion of Indiana and areas north all received snow levels measured in feet.

That came with some windy conditions which also drove down the temperatures, and as Sunday turned to Sunday night, Switzerland County felt that temperature drop.

Temperatures fell below zero for much of Monday and Tuesday, forcing closures and other adjustments to schedules.

Students in Switzerland County Schools were expected to resume classes on Monday following a two-week Christmas break, but with temperatures plunging, school officials canceled classes on both Monday and Tuesday.

“I think the feeling was, that if a bus was to break down, it could be a real problem; and also we have a lot of kids drive. Even with practices, if a child would break down to or from practice, it could be a tragedy in the making,” Switzerland County School Superintendent Mike Jones said. “I had talked with Connie Wallace from EMA, and we were prepared to have the high school open if we would have had people who would have needed shelter.”

Mike Jones said that he has heard that the Indiana Department of Education was going to issue a waiver for all Indiana schools who have missed classes on Monday and Tuesday. Schools all around the state were closed due to the cold temperatures and heavy snow in other areas.

“The wind chill factors were what really brought on the decision to call off school,” Mike Jones said. “I think the roads out in the county are okay. Some of the back roads that had liquid on them froze and haven’t thawed, but I think for us it was more the temperatures.”

Mike Jones said on Tuesday morning that he anticipated students being in school on Wednesday, but would wait until later Tuesday afternoon to make a final call – including whether or not there would be a two-hour delay.

“Right now, as we talk, we’re hearing that the temperatures are going to warm up into the teens,” the superintendent said. “As I am looking at things, I am figuring that we will be back in school on Wednesday on our regular schedule. We will definitely be in school.”

Also coming into play was a water main break on Monday morning that happened right in front of Jefferson-Craig Elementary School.

Some quick work by Vevay town employees and employees of Parham Excavating – even in absolutely horrible conditions – restored water service by Monday afternoon, with a boil advisory for a small section of the west side of Vevay being in effect until Tuesday.

The Switzerland County Courthouse offices were closed on Monday, as was Vevay Town Hall. Statewide, Indiana Governor Mike Pence closed all state offices on Monday while cities and towns dug out of the weather.

Switzerland County Highway workers were also on the job, working to keep the more than 400 miles of county roads cleared. The temperatures rendered salt and other road substances less effective, and the absence of the expected snowfall also gave highway workers a bit of a break, but they were still working hard to make sure that everyone had safe and clear passage.

The weather also impacted a portion of the Rivertown Classic basketball tournament.

The junior varsity portion of that tourney was supposed to be played on Tuesday night, but the cold forced that to be rescheduled.

Tuesday’s games will now be played this Saturday morning here, with the Lady Pacer jayvee playing South Dearborn at 10 a.m.; followed by the boys junior varsity playing South Dearborn. Lawrenceburg and Rising Sun’s junior varsity teams will be playing at Rising Sun; and the championship games for both the girls and boys will be held at Lawrenceburg on Monday night.

Switzerland County High School athletic director David Todd said that he anticipates the varsity level of the tournament to go on as scheduled. The girls were to have played at South Dearborn last night (Wednesday); with the boys playing tonight (Thursday).

The consolation games for the girls and boys, as well as the cheerleader competition, will be tomorrow (Friday) night; and the championship games for both girls and boys will be on Saturday. All varsity games are at South Dearborn High School.


Looking for some relief?

Temperatures are expected to warm up considerably over the next few days. Here’s a look at the forecast:

– Today (Thursday): High temperature of 40 with a low temperature of 33 and a 10-percent chance of rain.

– Tomorrow (Friday): High temperature of 48 with a low temperature of 43 and a 20-percent chance of rain.

– Saturday: High temperature of 52 with a low temperature of 39 and a 40-percent chance of rain.

– Sunday: High temperature of 54 with a low temperature of 33 and a 50-percent chance of rain.

– Monday: High temperature of 53 with a low temperature of 32 and a 30-percent chance of rain.

– Tuesday: High temperature of 44 with a low temperature of 28 and a 20-percent chance of rain.

– Wednesday: High temperature of 42 with a low temperature of 30 and a 20-percent chance of rain.