INDOT has used almost its whole winter budget for snow removal.
• Although weather hurt blood donation, centers keep supply steady.
• Jan. 2014 coldest in 35 years.

The harsh winter in Indiana has affected more than campus — decreasing blood donations, nearly wiping out the state’s winter funding and increasing hospital visits. And the season isn’t over yet.

David Call, a Ball State associate professor of geography and weather expert, said the last time the state experienced weather like this was in 1979. Although temperatures are expected to rise this week, Call said this month will be colder than 90 percent of Indianapolis’ recorded winters.

Indiana Department of Transportation by the numbers:

4.3 million miles
logged by INDOT plow trucks this winter

265,000 tons of salt
have been used this winter

$33.8 million
were budgeted for winter each year in last five years

$31 million
has been spent this year on winter operations

Source: in.gov

The snow, winds and ice in January created several potential problems for local hospitals. An increase in car crashes has put more people in the hospital, and several blood centers were forced to close due to the cold.

Lucy Wehking, media relations for Indiana Blood Center, said 550 donors are needed each day in order to meet patient demands. After extra blood drives and many Hoosiers taking action, Wehking said the combined eight donor centers in Indiana had maintained the supply.

“Donating blood has an immediate impact on Hoosier patients,” she said. “[Donating is] an easy process, it takes less than an hour to donate blood typically and makes a life saving difference.”
The donations through the Indiana Blood Center are usually available for use the next day. Muncie’s location is at 1609 W. McGalliard Road. To donate, people are asked to schedule an appointment ahead of time.

The weather also caused the Indiana Department of Transportation to use most of the year’s budget and made employees work 12-hour days when needed.

According to INDOT, its yellow plow trucks have logged 4.3 million miles and have used 265,000 tons of salt this winter. Will Wingfield, an INDOT media relations spokesperson, said this year is the second harshest January in terms of road conditions the department has ever faced.

For the last five years, the department budgeted $33.8 million for winter operations, according to its website. As of Jan. 18, INDOT estimated that more than $31 million has been spent on winter operations, including overtime, fuel and salt.

INDOT is responsible for state roads, interstates and U.S. routes, including adjacent overpasses and ramps. Its maintenance budget gains funds from vehicle registration fees and an 18-cent tax on each gallon of gas, according to its website.

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