Snow scrambles plans, power and television signals

Heavy snow fell on Fort Wayne and surrounding areas Monday evening.
Heavy snow fell on Fort Wayne and surrounding areas Monday evening.(WPTA)
Published: Oct. 17, 2022 at 9:51 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - Chunky, wet flakes descended on much of 21 County late Monday, causing car crashes, toppled trees and some power outages. For some, a quiet evening on the couch was interrupted.

Meteorologists had predicted a strong chance for snow, but nature had something a little extra in mind.

“The ingredients came together to enhance the snowfall,” said 21Alive meteorologist Caleb Saylor. " We can thank the lake effect for this.”

Lake effect snow is common in the Great Lakes region. For the uninitiated, the phenomenon occurs when cold air flows over the warmer great lakes. The air picks up moisture and heaves it aloft where it turns to snow. Heavy bands can sweep across areas quickly, potentially leaving more than an inch of snow behind. It’s enough to throw forecasts and surprise everyone else.

Some people saw no snow at all - a hallmark of lake effect.

But the snow did cause a big problem for viewers of Bachelor in Paradise on Monday. The popular show featuring hyper-competitive singles zeroing in on love (or not) was interrupted after snow piled onto the ABC satellite dish at WPTA TV. In sufficient quantities, snow can attenuate, or weaken, signals from distant satellites. The problem set off alarms inside the WPTA master control room and sent technicians scrambling to clear the dish.

Problems persisted further into the evening, interrupted other programs for viewers.

The problem was too much for the dish’s automatic heater, which gave out during its valiant fight. Engineers were forced to operate it manually - a slower process.

Across the area, the snow caused other problems.

The weight of the snow snapped tree branches, which in turn pulled down power lines.

Indiana Michigan Power reported more than 3,000 customers without power late Monday. Estimates were optimistic that power would be restored to most by 11:30 p.m.

Fort Wayne police and firefighters were busy with car crashes, downed lines and obstructed roads.

Meteorologists predicted more snow to arrive into Tuesday morning followed by gradually warming temperatures and rain.

But for viewers of Bachelor in Paradise, the snow doused any flames that may have warmed them on Monday.