Snowfall blankets Jackson County

A winter storm that started Monday evening left behind a blanket of snow before departing the area Tuesday.

As much as 5 to 6 inches or even more was being reported in some areas, but that snow apparently created mostly minor issues for motorists.

The amount of snowfall that had accumulated overnight, however, kept workers across the county working night and day to clear sidewalks and roads.

Daniel Stout, an employee for the Seymour Department of Public Works, was spreading salt in downtown Seymour on Tuesday morning. At around 9:30 a.m., he said he was getting ready for another crew to come in before he would be able to go home. He had been working since 8 p.m. Monday.

Stout said the DPW had prepared the day before as to how to clear snow when it would come.

As to how much snow Stout said he was expecting, he said some people he knew thought there would be a decent amount of snow, but it still wasn’t what he was expecting.

“I didn’t think we’d get this much,” Stout said.

He said he worked different jobs on his shift to address the snowfall, including plowing snow, spreading salt and helping other crews.

City and county crews weren’t the only ones who had to prepare for snowfall.

Kathy Schafstall, grounds supervisor for Schneck Medical Center in Seymour, said she had been clearing snow on the hospital’s property since 11 p.m. Monday. At 10 a.m. Tuesday, she was shoveling snow off of the front steps of the hospital.

“We do ER first to get everybody in — the doctors in, the patients in,” she said.

In case of an overwhelming snowfall, the hospital’s equipment includes a truck with a snow blade, a Bobcat loader with a snow blade, two Kubota utility vehicles and different size salt spreaders.

Schafstall said she didn’t expect the amount of snow that accumulated in Jackson County.

“It started out at 1 to 3 (inches). Then it went to 2 to 4. I think it’s 6 or 7 now,” she said.

This is Schafstall’s 15th year as the grounds supervisor for Schneck. The worst time she has had to take care of snowfall actually happened the first year of her current job.

“First year that I was here, I worked 27 hours straight,” she said.

Several property damage wrecks, mainly involving vehicles in ditches, were reported overnight by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department.

“(The snow) started at about 7:30 last night (Monday). That was our first call for an accident,” Jackson County Sheriff Rick Meyer said. “Up until (1 p.m. Tuesday), we responded to approximately 12 accidents or slide-offs.”

Meyer said the western part of the county typically gets hit by snow the hardest.

“West U.S. Highway 50 going up the knobs past Medora, it’s always a trouble spot when it starts snowing because it’s a little hillier there. It’s curvy, and semis have trouble sometimes making it up the hill,” he said.

The sheriff’s department has strong working relationships with the county and state highway departments, so Meyer said Jackson County is always in good hands when it comes to responding to snowfall.

“We always give them a call, and they usually send a truck out as soon as they can to try to spread some material on the road,” Meyer said.

The busiest time for the sheriff’s department was between 6 and 9 a.m. Tuesday due to traffic from people going to work. Because of that, some of the police officers working overnight had to work a little longer.

“This morning when people started going to work, our shifts end at 6, I know we had guys that work the night shift not get off until 7 or 8. Then the guys that came on were going to calls, too,” Meyer said.

In the snow, Meyer said motorists should take precautions to avoid accidents.

“People just need to make sure they slow down while they’re driving in snow,” he said. “Give themselves a little more time to get to work. Give the car ahead of you a little more room.”

Meyer also said to be careful when driving on certain roads.

“Some of these roads, especially the north and south roads, when the wind is cutting across those, they get pretty icy,” he said. “Once you hit the brake, it’s hard to stop without going off the side of the road. Those county roads are narrow in some places.”

Meyer said the sheriff’s department was able to respond to the inclement weather without reporting any serious injuries.

The snow also apparently created few problems for motorists passing through southern Indiana and Jackson County.

Sgt. Stephen Wheeles, public information officer for the Indiana State Police Versailles Post, reported at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday that Interstate 65 appeared to be in good shape thanks to the Indiana Department of Transportation crews.