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Early snow storm wallops LaGrange County

Many LaGrange County residents may be hoping that the rest of the winter isn’t going to be like this week.

The county was brought to a near standstill Tuesday night by an early season storm that left 9.5 inches of snow in the center of the county in its wake, according to figures from the National Weather Service. The east and west ends of the county received just a little less, with 6.3 inches reported near Shipshewana and 4.5 inches at the east county line.

The LaGrange County Dispatch Center never slowed down as the storm went from a heavy rain earlier in the day on Tuesday, through a spat of sleet, before finally switching to a wet, heavy snow around 4 p.m. LaGrange County Communications Director Arron Knisley reported that by 6 a.m. Wednesday, the center had received nearly 500 calls, plus additional calls via radio from emergency personnel reporting incidents around the county. Knisley noted that the majority of the calls were for slideoffs and traffic accidents. Reports were also called in of REMC and NISPCO power outages. Numerous power lines and trees down were also called in.

Utility crews were still working Wednesday to restore power to areas around the county. NISPCO reported only a handful of power outages remaining in the Howe, Shipshewana, and Topeka areas as of Thursday morning.

REMC had some scattered outages reported throughout the storm.

Shipshewana lost power at the height of its annual Wana Night Out, one of the town’s busiest shopping nights of the year. Stores were forced to close early or try to continue to work manually.

By late in the day Wednesday, most roads had been cleared, with some slick spots remaining on backroads.