Blizzard dumps 15 inches, kills 3
By Gitte Laasby, Bob Kostanczuk, and Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune staff writers February 2, 2011 5:50PM
Roy Bothwell puts his snowmobile through its paces while riding outside his home near Hebron Wednesday Feb. 2, 2011. Snow continued to fall through midday in south Porter County. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media
Tips for safe shoveling
Use a smaller shovel that is comfortable for your height and weight.
Make sure your shovel is in good condition and not bent.
Take frequent breaks, even if only for a couple of minutes.
Stop and go inside if you become overheated.
Push snow instead of lifting it.
Avoid throwing the snow.
Stop any time you feel pain.
Avoid shoveling alone.
Source: Terry Wuletich, director of Porter Health Systems’ emergency departments at Portage Hospital and Valparaiso Hospital
Updated: November 24, 2011 2:59AM
MERRILLVILLE — The third-biggest blizzard in Chicago history roared through Northwest Indiana with blustering winds Wednesday, leaving at least 15 inches of snow in its wake and claiming three lives.
A 57-year-old South Haven man, Harvey Hubbard, died from cardiac arrest after snowblowing his driveway Wednesday morning.
“That was definitely what caused it,” said Porter County coroner Chuck Harris. “He had been out snowblowing. This all happened around 10’clock in the morning... He’d been using a snowblower on his driveway and must have come back into his garage, where he collapsed. His wife found him. Called EMS, EMS took him to the Portage hospital.”
Hubbard had no prior conditions, Harris said, but it’s not uncommon that people die after removing snow.
“Unfortunately, here in the Midwest we happen to see those every snow season,” Harris said. “There’s a lot of snow out there so people need to be wary of that and just take it easy.”
A 17-year-old DeMotte teen, Matthew Tayler, and another Northwest Indiana man died from blunt force trauma after their car crashed with a tracter trailer on Indiana 10 near County Road 558 East in Newton County Tuesday evening. The second person’s name is being withheld pending family notification.
A Newton County Sheriff’s release said the car likely pulled into the path of a truck and that the weather appeared to be a factor in the crash.
The truck driver, Kenneth Linck, 64, of Janesville, Wis., and a passenger were uninjured. Tayler and the other person were transported to Franciscan St. Anthony Health - Crown Point, where they died.
Apart from that incident, Northwest Indiana residents generally heeded officials’ warnings to stay home Wednesday during the storm rather than venturing out, which gave road crews free reign to clear the roads.
By noon Wednesday, 15-18 inches of snow had fallen in the northwest quarter of Lake County, 13 inches in Lowell and 9 in Valparaiso, according to the National Weather Service. Meteorologists were still waiting for spotters to report Northwest Indiana totals as of press time Wednesday.
In Chicago, Mother Nature dumped 20.2 inches on O’Hare International Airport, forcing officials to cancel more than 2,600 flights. That snow total placed the blizzard solidly as the third-worst since record-keeping began in 1886.
The worst was in 1967 at 23 inches. A 15-inch snow occurs only every 19 years, according to the National Weather Service. There have been 44 storms with more than 10 inches of snow.
The double punch of Tuesday and Wednesday snow was so potent that the National Weather Service termed the monster snow storm a “historic killer blizzard” on its website.
Only a few Northwest Indiana residents experienced power outages as a result of the storm. When storm impact was at its highest, the Northern Indiana Public Service Co. had 121 outages, most of them in Fremont in Steuben County. Power to all but 30 homes had been restored by 9 a.m. Wednesday.
A wind chill effect remained in effect until noon Thursday, and subzero overnight temperatures with wind chills as low as -25 are being followed by frigid, stinging weather Thursday in Northwest Indiana.
“It’s going to be sunny, but very, very cold with highs only from 5 to 10 degrees, and wind-chill readings being anywhere from 20 to 30 below zero — the lowest ones being in the morning hours,” said Amy Seeley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Romeoville, Ill.
Thursday will be followed by a 20 percent possibility of snow Friday night.
Seeley said Saturday does not look bad, with the forecast calling for a 20 percent chance of light snow, with highs in the upper 20s.