Winter surfers hit the waves in northwest Indiana

PORTAGE, Ind. — A winter storm dumped several inches of snow in northwest Indiana. While some locals shoveled out, others hit the waves Sunday — surfing in Lake Michigan.

“What else are you going to do on a day like today?” winter surfer Dave Benjamin said. “Sit inside, or get out and get some exercise in?”

Benjamin was one of about a half dozen people who used the weather as an excuse to hit the winter waves Sunday. Icicles formed on his beard.

“The ice kind of starts to block the wind for you,” he said.

“Californians would look at us and say, ‘What on earth are you doing?’” winter surfer Kurt Grahnke said.

According to the National Weather Service, the snowfall in northwest Indiana began about 5 a.m. Sunday and fell at a rate of one to two inches for most of the day. Now, lake effect snow off Lake Michigan is making cleanup a pain.

Whiting resident Lynn Piljac said she needed to shovel outside her dog grooming business several times over the past 24 hours.

“'Lake effect snow’ is the worst words in the world,” she said.

By late afternoon, the lake effect snow had moved from Lake County to Porter County — with constant flurries in Portage. Both Lake and Porter counties saw winter storm warnings due to heavy totals and blowing snow.

Salt and snow trucks cleared highways overnight. Road conditions are not expected to impact Monday’s work and school commutes.

But with wind chills expected in the negative numbers, it’s a good idea to bundle up.

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