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Joe Harpring | The Republic Sledders go up and down the amphitheater hill at Mill Race Park. A second day of sledding and the afternoon sun took their toll on the coating of snow on the big hill Thursday.
Sledders go up and down the amphitheater hill at Mill Race Park. A second day of sledding and the afternoon sun took their toll on the coating of snow on the big hill Thursday December 27, 2012. (Joe Harpring | The Republic)
Snow depth from Wednesday’s storm varied widely across Bartholomew County and nearby counties, according to the National Weather Service.
John Kwiatkowski, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Indianapolis, said the snow ranged from an area low of 4 inches in southern Jackson County, to 12 inches near Edinburgh and Camp Atterbury. In Columbus, the official total was 6.5 inches and 8 inches in Hope.
Here are some ranges of snowfall:
Bryan Burton, manager of Columbus City Garage, said snowplow crews were out Wednesday night until about 10 p.m., when snow and ice on the streets began to freeze. He said the city’s efforts were aided Thursday by the sunny afternoon. All the main streets in the city were cleared by midafternoon Thursday, and crews were working on side streets.
He expected all of the city streets to be plowed by midday today. Once that is finished, Burton said workers can begin widening streets and corners and cleaning up areas where they had to pile snow to get it out of the way.
Jeff Whittington, Bartholomew County’s assistant highway superintendent, said the county’s major roads and many secondary roads were clear and open by Thursday afternoon. He said crews had made it into some subdivisions by late Thursday and expected to finish all of them today.
The county crews prioritize the roads they clear, starting with the main arteries and then working from secondary roads to subdivisions.
As of Thursday afternoon, a travel warning was still in effect for Brown, Johnson, Shelby, Decatur and Jennings counties, according to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. Under a traffic watch, conditions are considered threatening to the safety of the public. Only essential travel is recommended, such as going to and from work or emergency situations. Emergency action plans have been or should now be implemented by various organizations such as businesses and government agencies.
Bartholomew County was under a travel advisory. Routine travel or activities might be restricted in areas. Citizens should use caution or avoid these areas. Businesses may begin to implement their emergency action plans.
An ambulance carrying a Brown County woman home from a medical treatment in Columbus turned into a rescue story Wednesday.
About 11:30 a.m., sheriff’s deputies were sent to Becks Grove Road in western Bartholomew County where the ambulance had become stuck in the snow.
Even though first-responders were using four-wheel drive vehicles, Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Maj. Todd Noblitt said his men were still unable to get up some steep hills in Ohio Township.
Luckily, Capt. John Martoccia and Sgt. Dean Johnson came across snowplow driver Dave Ness, who agreed to clear a path for the deputies to the accident site.
Although the three were able to finally reach and eventually pull out the stranded ambulance, the ice- and snow-covered hills were still insurmountable for the EMTs to continue their assignment.
So Ness agreed to clear a path along Becks Grove Road about a mile into Brown County to the patient’s home.
But when they finally arrived, the rescuers discovered the residence sat atop a large hill. While the plow was able to clear a path up the driveway, the ambulance was not able to make it up the hill.
“So our two guys, as well as Dave Ness, helped the paramedics carry the patient on this huge gurney all the way up this tall and steep hill to finally get her inside,” Noblitt said.
After the woman was finally settled, the exhausted rescuers walked out the front door. That’s when Martoccia took one step off the porch and felt himself fall into a drift that left him stuck waist-deep in snow, Noblitt said.
The others had to perform one more rescue to free the officer before resuming their duties.
Compiled by Republic reporters Mark Webber and John Clark.
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