Lake effect snow takes its toll on Michiana

By: Kevin Lewis Email
By: Kevin Lewis Email

After a long break, the lake effect snow is here for another winter and it won't be leaving anytime soon. By Tuesday morning, northern Berrien County could have up to 20 inches of snow on the ground. The National Weather Service predicts things will be a little better in St. Joseph County, but not by much.

The good news is this round of snow is much lighter and less dense in comparison to packing snow. While experts say it is less slippery and easier to drive in, if you took to the roads Sunday, it did not seem to make a difference.

Around 3:30 p.m. at the corner of Main and Broadway in Mishawaka, the snowy roads were no match for the driver of a maroon Chrysler and blue mini van.

"We already have twice the amount of accidents then we normally handle,” Mishawaka police sergeant Mike Janicki said. “It’s just that lake effect stuff,” Janicki added.

Mishawaka had four accidents that shut down roads across the town by mid-afternoon Sunday. Even Mishawaka fire fighters pitched in after a vehicle at one accident caught fire just before being towed away.

“Were out there and we're waiting. We're watching and we want everyone to be safe and have a good holiday season,” Janicki added.

Across the area, it looks like the holidays. Berrien County was hardest hit with 65 auto accidents in just 13 hours. While Elkhart saw less snow, it too had trouble on its roads.

At South Bend Regional Airport, the line of cars waiting outside at the curbside pickup helped drive home the number of flight delays.

"Once it starts, it kind of backs everything up,” Phil Stump said as he waited to pick-up a friend whose Delta Airlines flight from Detroit was delayed.

"You can't put a time limit on safety. So if it's an hour, it's an hour, if it's two, it's two. You just want everybody to get here in one piece,” Stump added.

With a snowy spirit and 350 skates to spare, the Howard Park Ice Rink was the start to a new romance.

"It’s the first date and we have great snow. I woke up and saw we had a lot of snow this morning and she's never been ice skating,” Bela Tiser said as recalled planning his first date.

"If this date goes well and I don't fall too much, we might come back to ice skate again,” Courtney Maynard said laughingly.

After meeting at the start of the school year, the two finally gathered-up the courage to ask each other out last week.

"This was a really good idea, I’m so happy we decided to come,” Maynard said as she skated around the rink with her new boyfriend.

While the snow caused many headaches, it’s safe to say two teenagers have a lot of lake effect snow to thank for finally piecing them together.

"Unless you've been skating for years, everyone's first time is going to be nerve wrecking, but I’m here,” Tiser said to Maynard jokingly.

As folks wake-up Monday morning, people in Berrien and Cass Counties will see an extra half-foot of snow. Meanwhile more southern areas like Kosciusko and Fulton Counties will see around two additional inches.

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