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The Morning Spin-Out: City Blames Its Forecast Company

Mayor was a no-show at news conference; DPW says the forecast company got it wrong

INDIANAPOLIS--If you spun out in Indy this morning, the blame is going to a company the city uses for weather forecasts. At a news conference this morning, Dan Parker, director of the Dept. of Public Works, said the city was caught off guard and did not deploy the 77 salt trucks available before freezing rain put down a sheet of ice.

"We were taken off guard a little bit by the forecast. The forecast company that we rely on did not give us this kind of weather for this morning," said Parker. He was supposed to be joined by Mayor Joe Hogsett at a news conference about potholes. That was canceled and the mayor did not show for the news conference about the weather.

His staff had said he would be there for interviews. They informed the media right before the news conference that he would not make it.

Parker started the news conference by saying the city would make no excuses, then blamed the forecast service. 

"It said air and pavement temperatures will be above freezing and no snow accumulation would be expected," he said. He said the forecast promised dry weather by 8 p.m. Parker said that they do look at other forecasts from the National Weather Service and TV stations. But, he said that deploying drivers costs money.

"When the service that we pay for tells us that it's not gonna happen, having 80 drivers sit here and then nothing happens, that is all over time dollars that the city has to pay for," said Parker. 

"We had trucks out overnight. Obviously we didn't have enough." That number was 12.

Parker said he made the call at 7 a.m. to take the drivers who would have normally come in for pot hole filling duty and put them to work on the streets. They normally get to work at about 7, when the morning commute was already a cold mess.

"Had we known it was coming, we would have had a full crew available. But, with the rain, you don't want to pre-treat a street and have everything wash away."

Parker thanked people who took it slow this morning and promised that the afternoon commute would be betterm with the full compliment of trucks treating streets.

PHOTO: Chris Davis/Emmis

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