While winter does not officially start for a few more weeks, if you stepped outside Wednesday, it may as well already been here. The day brought wind gusts and anywhere from a dusting to three inches of snow across Michiana.
Thankfully, the heavy lake effect snow kept at bay as Mother Nature broke people in lightly. Aside from a little hint of snow early in November, commuters taking to the roads Wednesday morning had a lot of winter driving skills to catch up on.
The snow was a wake up call; we'd all best get used to. Some we're lucky enough to hop in a car for their December first morning commute. But for the eight-thousand Notre Dame students, the snow and winds meant one cold walk to class.
"I’m from the great white north so it’s no big deal,” Notre Dame sophomore Adam Wisborck said during his ten minute walk to class. "I can't really drive across campus, but maybe a golf cart would have been nice," Wisborck added jokingly.
But what better way to celebrate this snow, then with an ice cold treat.
"Yeah it’s business as usual,” Cold Stone Creamery manager Joe Checca said. "What I’ve found out is some people connect ice cream with snow for some reason. They see the snow and eat more during the winter,” Checca added.
In fact January and February share some of the store's highest sales.
One thing not to brag about, Wednesday's car wrecks. South Bend police responded to 16 automobile accidents between 5 a.m. and 12 p.m. Wednesday alone. That number was up from five during the same time period on Tuesday.
"It just catches us off guard sometimes,” Clay Fire Territory Battalion Chief Mike Gerndt said.
At 1:30 p.m., Gerndt and a handful of other emergency workers responded to a head-on-collision. It happened along Ironwood just north of the Toll Road bridge.
"There’s a lot of devastation to all three vehicles involved. Fortunately we only transported one to the hospital,” Gerndt added.
Across town, at Mishawaka Central Services, two of the city’s eleven snow plows spent the day salting city streets.
"It’s never a dull moment. I usually turn the salt on a little bit before the intersection,” longtime snow plow driver John Palmer said as he drove down Mishawaka Avenue.
The idea to salt the road before intersections is a technique used so cars have a better grip when stopping at a light or stop sign.
"People just need to take it easy and allow the salt truck to get out there and do their job. That way everybody will be able to get home safe,” Palmer concluded.
Both South Bend and Mishawaka snow plows will continue to salt roadways Wednesday evening and into the night. City leaders hope it will help combat the potential for auto-accidents.
Even so, with a forecasted low of 22 degrees Wednesday night, wet streets will easily freeze and become very slick. For that reason emergency workers urge drivers to buckle up and drive carefully.