St. Joseph County officials debrief on major winter storm over holiday weekend

NOW: St. Joseph County officials debrief on major winter storm over holiday weekend

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind., --- St. Joseph County Officials met Wednesday morning to discuss the holiday storm that impacted thousands of folks throughout the area. Officials not only highlighted things that went well but areas where improvements can be made in the future.

“Our plows were out. They were working hard all weekend and we’ve been fighting this storm; we’ll learn lessons from it moving forward,” said St. Joseph County Engineer Sky Medors in Wednesday's press conference.

Medors joined the Board of Commissioners, the County Sheriff, the Highway Department, Emergency Management Agency, and the 911 Dispatch Center to go over the major winter storm that brought white out conditions, with strong winds, snow and sub-zero temperatures to the area over the holiday weekend.

“Having that open line of communication was key throughout this event so we knew when we could put certain travel advisories in effect. We knew when we needed to close certain roads,” said Medors.

County officials said plow crews covered approximately 4,000 centerline miles from Thursday through Monday working over 625 hours.

Officials also took the time to address complaints they said they’ve received about plowing, emphasizing salt on the roads and their trucks were impacted by the freezing conditions.

“That fuel starts to gel up at certain temperatures and that in itself can cause the truck to shut down and also when things get that cold they tend to break...we had 11 trucks that broke down during this event,” explained Medor.  “Another thing too is what people should expect; people might think the road isn’t plowed because it’s not curb to curb, subdivisions are not going to get curb to curb with an event like this right away.”

St. Joseph County dispatch also broke down their numbers.

They received nearly 5,000 calls for service related to the artic conditions, with County Police responding to the increased need including car accidents.

Thankfully, none of those involved serious injuries or were fatal.

“We had additional officers that could help, we have all wheel drive vehicles. So, we’ve taken proactive steps throughout the years to make sure that we’re prepared for events such as this,” said Sheriff Bill Redman with the St. Joseph County Police Department. “Those individuals that did go out found out the hard way when they slid off the road or were involved in a car crash or got stuck, but we were able to assist them because that's what we do.”

Officials not only acknowledged the positives including thanking crews who risked their lives to help residents in the storm, but they also talked about room for improvement.

“Communication is key. If we all work together it makes things run smoother,” added Redman.

Both Redman and Mendor also thanked the residents of the county who they say listened to their warnings and stayed off the roads for the most part.

Officials told ABC57 they are working to get those 11 plow trucks that broke down back on the road this week.

Crews will still be out cleaning up those roads, and the warmer temperatures should help this time around.

If you have a concern about a road being plowed you can call this number

574-235-7800 or click here.

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