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Portions of Interstate I-65 and I-80/94 Closed

The following is a traffic update from Indiana State Police:
Northern Indiana – The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and the Indiana State Police have mutually determined the following interstates are impassable the result of the ongoing winter snow storm:
• I-65 north and southbound from State Road 26 (172 mile marker) to U.S. 30 (253 mile marker); and
• I-80/94 east and westbound from U.S. 421 (34 mile marker) to the Illinois State Line (0 mile marker)
This action has been taken in the interest of public safety to preserve life and property. Based on this joint assessment, the Indiana State Police, with assistance from the Indiana National Guard, are assisting stranded motorists. Motorists forced to abandon their vehicle will be transported to places of shelter.
Once closed, persons that choose to ignore the notice and attempt to travel on the affected portions of the interstate do so at their own risk. Deliberate disregard of this notice places the motorist and all occupants of the vehicle at risk of serious injury or death. It also jeopardizes the safety of public safety personnel who engage in rescue efforts of stranded motorists.
With portions of the interstate closed, INDOT resources will be able to take aggressive action to clear entry and exit ramps as well as the main line of the interstate. It is not possible to estimate when the interstate will be reopened, as it will be weather and condition dependent. It is reasonable to expect the interstate will not reopen the rest of January 5th. Updates on the status of the closed portions of the interstate system will be made starting the morning of January 6, 2014. Citizens should tune to local media for future updates.
People living in the affected areas are urged to stay home and avoid travel unless there is a life threatening emergency that necessitates travel. Indiana residents residing in areas around and south of the affected closed interstate should postpone travel plans to the affected areas as local roads are also in poor condition....
 

Gary Warming Center Locations Announced

Warming centers will be available in Gary because of the subzero temperatures in Northwest Indiana. 
24 hour warming centers are available at
The City of Gary Public Safety Building, 555 Polk Street and the Calumet Township Multi-purpose Center, 1900 W. 41st Avenue.  
Other warming centers are the Hudson and Campbell Fitness Center, 455 Massachusetts, starting at 6:00 am - 9:00. pm on Monday, The Genesis Convention Center, 5th and Broadway, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm on Monday, and the Salvation Army at 4800 Harrison Street, on Monday 8:00 am - 4:00 pm.
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Dangerously Cold Air to Follow Winter Storm

windchillchart
The National Weather Service says extreme cold will arrive Sunday night and peak on Monday before slowly moderating through Wednesday. Forecasters say temperatures may not rise to above zero from Sunday night through possiblyTuesday. Winds of between 15 and 30 mph will result in dangerously low wind chill values between 30 and 50 degrees below zero. Meteorologists say emperatures and wind chills this cold can easily result in exposed skin freezing within minutes and rapid onset of hypothermia. [Wind Chill Chart/National Weather Service Chicago]
Additional information is available at the Chicago National Weather Service website: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/news/display_cmsstory.php?wfo=lot&storyid=99358&source=0
This information is from National Weather Service Northern Indiana: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/news/display_cmsstory.php?wfo=iwx&storyid=99361&source=0
•Stay indoors during the storm if possible.
•Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack—a major cause of death in the winter.
•If you must go outside, wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
•Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves.
•Wear a hat. A hat will prevent loss of body heat.
•Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
•Watch for signs of frostbite. These include loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, and the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately.
•Watch for signs of hypothermia. These include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion. If symptoms of hypothermia are detected, get the victim to a warm location, remove wet clothing, warm the center of the body first and give warm, non-alcoholic beverages if the victim is conscious. Get medical help as soon as possible.
•If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation or layers of newspapers and wrap pipes in rags. Completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the cold (or where the cold was most likely to penetrate).
•Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up of toxic fumes. Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least three feet from flammable objects.
•Conserve fuel, if necessary, by keeping your residence cooler than normal. Temporarily close off heat to some rooms.
•If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55ºF.
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Charge Electronic Devices Early

Cell phones, tablets, and other mobile devices can be very useful during winter storms and emergency situations -- the Indiana Department of Homeland Security reminds Hoosiers that you can be ready if a situation arises by fully charging your devices beforehand. Plug devices into a surge protector power strip to charge them. Charge devices to the full battery capacity. To conserve energy and battery power, close out of smartphone apps after using them. Consider turning off other capabilities such as Bluetooth, that drain batteries faster. If you must drive, use a car charger to charge devices that you may need, like cell phones and GPS devices.
 
For more information, go to www.GetPrepared.IN.gov  ....
 

Have Storm Safety Plan Before Snow Arrives

Do not wait until heavy snow arrives to get prepared. Take actions now to ensure you are prepared when dangerous weather arrives. Develop a safety and preparedness plan. If you already have a preparedness plan, now is a good time to review it.
 
Make sure all members of your household have extra blankets and water. Everyone should know important phone numbers and emergency contact information. Keep a list of all important medications for each member of the household.
 
Have everyone locate water pipes, circuit breakers, and other important locations in the house in the event of a power outage.
 
Practice exiting the house and locating the nearest exit in case of a fire or evacuation for any reason.
 
For more winter weather preparedness information, visit www.GetPrepared.IN.gov  ....
 

Gov Pence Directs INDOT to Prep for Full Callout

Governor Mike Pence has directed the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) to ready itself for a full callout across most of the state as dangerous winter weather approaches. Shops remain open at maintenance facilities around the state as INDOT mechanics service and ready yellow plow trucks for around-the-clock operation and arctic temperatures. The agency is also readying its fleet of pickup trucks to deliver parts to stalled vehicles or rescue drivers if necessary. INDOT maintains a small amount of older, “spare” plow trucks to ensure that all routes are plowed.
 
“INDOT will use all necessary resources to keep the interstates, U.S. highways and state routes open and as safe as possible for emergency responders,” said Governor Pence. “Hoosiers can do their part by following county travel advisories and staying off the roads, both during the storm and the blowing and drifting that follows. Do not put yourselves or your local emergency responders in harm’s way.”
 
The Indiana State Police and other law enforcement agencies encourage the public to keep its phone lines open for emergencies and to access road conditions at http://indot.carsprogram.org/ or by dialing toll-free 800-261-ROAD (7623). For up-to-date county travel statuses, Hoosiers are encouraged to visit http://www.in.gov/dhs/traveladvisory/...
 

Valpo Trash and Recycling Pick-up Postponed

The Valparaiso Department of Public Works is postponing trash and recycling services next week, beginning Monday, Jan. 6, due to the anticipated subzero conditions. For the week, beginning, Jan. 6, all trash and recycling collection will be delayed by one day. So, trash and recycling that is typically picked up on Monday, will happen on Tuesday. The typical Tuesday route will be picked up on Wednesday, and so on. The regular schedule will resume on Monday, January 13. "We're looking ahead to the dangerously low temps that are predicted and want to provide the safest service possible," said Matt Evans, Public Works Director....
 

Warming Stations Open in Griffith

Griffith PD
With the dangerously cold temperatures being forecast early next week, the Town of Griffith has made preparations to open warming stations should they be needed.
Officials urge anyone who is in need of warm shelter to contact the Griffith Town Hall, at (219) 924-7500, or the Griffith Police Department, at (219) 924-3141, and suitable accommodations will be made. Should there be occurrences of power outages and/or interruptions in natural gas service, a manned warming station will be opened at the North Fire Station located at 1600 N Indiana Street.
Officials further urge residents to check on, or report to authorities, anyone with special needs who might be in need of assistance.



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Temporary Busing Between S.Bend and Michigan City

Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD) has announced the South Shore plans to bus passengers between South Bend and Michigan City on January 6-7 as temperatures are expected to fall to dangerous levels.  Due to low passenger volumes, NICTD will not bus from Hudson Lake.  Hudson Lake passengers are advised to drive to Carroll Avenue Station in Michigan City.
The South Shore is an electric railroad and NICTD says the overhead power system between South Bend and Michigan City is old and subject to failure during extreme temperatures.  An unexpected "dewirement" in a remote location could hamper efforts not only to provide alternate transportation, officials say, but also to restore service.
NICTD is planning to provide regular train service between Michigan City and Chicago during this severe winter weather event, however passengers may encounter delays due to weather-related speed restrictions.
Note: The South Shore's 800-356-2079 train service information line remains out of service, as the RTA Travel Center transitions the South Shore number to their new call center vendor. Until further notice, South Shore passengers are advised to call 312-836-7000.   The RTA Travel Center is experiencing greater call volumes because of the weather, and callers may encounter a busy signal.
Passengers are also advised of NICTD's text and e-mail alert service available at their website www.nictd.com .  Passengers can click the cell phone icon to stay informed of service delays and disruptions.  Significant delays and disruptions are also posted at the NICTD home page....
 

AUDIO: Hoosiers Should Prepare for Arctic Blast

DHS Logo
INDIANAPOLIS – Another round of significant snowfall could potentially hit central and southern Indiana on Sunday, followed by extremely cold temperatures that will affect the entire state. State agencies are advising Hoosiers to prepare now for the frigid weather.

Have a Plan
Hoosiers can take the time now to develop a plan for a potential power outage. The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) recommends citizens look up their electric utility’s outage reporting phone number and add it to their cell phone contact list.

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) recommends every household have an emergency preparedness kit. Essential supplies to gather ahead of time in case utilities are disrupted:

  • Food and water for three days (includes three gallons of water per person, per day)
  • Battery operated or hand crank all hazards radio
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries for radio and flashlight
  • Extra clothing, warm blankets, sleeping bags for staying warm in your home if you lose power
  • Special items (baby formula, insulin, medications)
Families should also take the time to check with neighbors and see if there’s anything they can do for each other before, during or after the storm.

Travel
With the potential for additional snow, Hoosiers should carefully consider if travel is necessary. The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) will continue to monitor forecasts for the storm beginning Saturday night and deploy the needed personnel, equipment and materials ahead of any predicted accumulation. Motorists are encouraged to avoid travel during and after the storm as high winds are expected to reduce visibility for drivers.

Temperatures well below freezing are expected to follow the storm, reducing the effectiveness of road salt in melting the snow and ice. INDOT will be treating the salt with specialty chemicals.

Before heading out, residents should check the Indiana County Travel Advisory Map at  http://www.in.gov/dhs/traveladvisory/. It’s updated with information from the county emergency management agencies and describes the conditions for a travel warning, watch, advisory and caution.

For road updates, please visit  http://indot.carsprogram.org or call 800-261-ROAD. DO NOT call local law enforcement or 9-1-1 for road information. These lines need to be left open for emergency calls.
Indiana State Police (ISP) encourage drivers to delay a trip if possible, but if travel is necessary, let someone know your route, expected time of arrival, and how to reach you.  Charge your cell phone before leaving. Pack essential items such as high protein snacks, water, first aid kit, flashlight, warm blankets, extra prescription medications and important documents or information you might need during an emergency.
If you become stranded, do not leave the car unless there is shelter nearby. Call for help. If you don’t have a cell phone, tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna for rescuers to see. Run the engine for 10 minutes every hour to stay warm and keep the exhaust pipe free of blockage to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Extreme Cold
Subzero temperatures and strong winds will create a potentially dangerous situation Sunday through Tuesday. Wind chills could reach -30 degrees or lower. Hoosiers should limit their exposure by staying indoors. If you must go outside, make it as brief as possible. Wear several layers of loose-fitting clothing, and cover any exposed skin with a hat, scarf, and gloves.

The Indiana Board of Animal Health (BOAH) reminds pet owners to be especially sensitive to their animals’ limits when outside. Most pets cannot tolerate more than 20 minutes outside when the temperature drops below zero. Be sure to provide a sheltered place for outdoor pets and make sure they have fresh water. Use a heater for water or change the supply frequently.
To hear our full interview with Senior Public Information Officer John Erickson, click News Audio On Demand at http://regionnewsteam.com/...
 

Pence: Be Prepared, Avoid Traveling During Winter Storm

Gov Mike Pence
Indianapolis, IN – With unprecedented winter weather on the horizon, Governor Mike Pence issued the following statement today.
“In preparation for the inclement weather, I encourage Hoosiers to assemble an emergency preparedness kit with plenty of non-perishable food and water, fill any necessary prescriptions, ensure they have a safe heating source, avoid unnecessary travel, and be careful if they must be outside.
“As Hoosiers across the state prepare themselves for heavy snow and near-record low temperatures over the coming days, those in the storm’s path are also encouraged to take the time to check on neighbors, family and friends who may need assistance, look out for each other, and remain in contact before, during and after the storm.
“The State of Indiana will continue to monitor weather conditions through the weekend and will respond as necessary with all available resources.”
Additional winter preparedness tips for Hoosiers can be found at  http://bit.ly/1izS3fR and  http://www.in.gov/dhs/3311.htm. For up-to-date county travel statuses, Hoosiers are encouraged to visit  http://www.in.gov/dhs/traveladvisory/....
   

Law Enforcement Urging Residents to Stay Home

porter co sheriff dept
Law enforcement in northwest Indiana are asking residents to stay in-doors this weekend. Porter County Sheriff's Department Public Information Officer Sgt. Larry LaFlower says unless you absolutely need to venture out, stay home, as road conditions will not be kind to motorists.  Sgt. LaFlower says with the drifting and blowing snow, crews are going to have a rough time keeping roads clear and to avoid east-west roads with wide-open farm fields.
A Winter Storm Warning for heavy and blowing snow begins this evening until late Sunday night, with a Wind Chill Warning in effect from late Sunday night through Monday night....
   

New Twist in Case of Missing Michigan Doctor

Teleka Patrick
A bizarre twist in the case of a doctor who went missing almost a month ago in Michigan. Teleka Patrick, seen in YouTube videos singing to someone, may have been obsessed with a famous gospel singer, Marvin Sapp.  ABC News reports Sapp says Patrick was obsessed with him so much to the point that Sapp obtained a personal protection order against the 30-year-old psychiatrist, three months before she went missing on the night of December 5th. On Friday, Sapp released this statement to ABC News, saying, "given these previous acts I have taken several security measures which have included obtaining a protective order to ensure our safety."
Patrick's family has hired a new private investigator who says he believes that foul play is involved with her disappearance. He says he believes the case can be solved but it has certainly baffled authorities this far. Patrick's car was found with a flat tire the night of December 5th in a ditch on the side of westbound I-94, just east of the Porter/Burns Harbor exit. ...
   

ISP to Tow All Abandoned Vehicles on Major Highways

Indiana State Police logo
Indiana State Police at the Lowell Post reports that, in preparation of the impending winter weather, they will be towing abandoned vehicles that will impede the snow removal process or be a potential traffic hazard. If your vehicle ends up being towed, contact Indiana State Police Lowell Post. A Winter Storm Warning for heavy and blowing snow begins this evening (Saturday) until late Sunday night, with a Wind Chill Warning in effect from late Sunday night through Monday night. ...
   

Two Men Hit by Car Suffer Multiple Trauma

01-04-14 ISP car crash
(Photo Courtesy of ISP Lowell Post)
Two men suffered multiple traumas to their lower legs after being hit by an alleged intoxicated driver this morning on westbound I-80/94, just east of Central Avenue. Indiana State Police Lowell Post reports an investigation revealed a 31 year old Illinois man was heading west in the right lane, around 3:15am, when his car struck a disabled SUV on the outer shoulder. State Police say the Illinois man then continued westbound and struck a tow truck driver. Authorities report the Illinois man was arrested at the scene after he initially tried to portray himself as a witness to the crash and that his blood-alcohol level tested point-one-three. The tow truck driver and the driver of the vehicle initially struck by the Illinois man, were both taken to St. Mary's medical Center in Hobart. The right lane of I-80/94, just east of Central Avenue, was closed for approximately two-hours as a result of the crash. ...
   

33,000 Combi USA Car Seats Being Recalled

Tens of thousands of child car seats are being recalled.  ABC News reports 33-thousand car seats made by Combi USA - manufactured before January of 2013 are being recalled. The Coccoro, Zeus Turn, and Zeus 360 models are included in the recall. The government says seat straps don't meet minimum strength requirements - children might not be properly secured in a crash. The company will send out free harness replacement kits next month and says in the meantime parents should continue using the seats....
   

AUDIO: Lake County Emergency Management WX Tips

Lake County Emergency Management is reminding residents to make sure you have plenty of supplies in light of more snow and Artic cold temperatures this weekend and into early next week. The Region News Team spoke with Director Jodi Richmond on a varity of topics including warming centers, tips on being indoors and outdoors in sub-zero temperatures and their “Red/Green Card” initiative.  To listen to the interview click News Audio On Demand at  http://regionnewsteam.com/
For more winter weather related information from Lake County Emergency Management contact them at (219) 755-3549....
   

State Government Offices to Open at 10am Monday

Due to the anticipated snow and record low temperatures this weekend, the state of Indiana is adjusting its hours of operations for Monday, January 6th. All Indiana State Government offices across the state where public business is conducted will open at 10am local time that day....
   

Winter WX Ban Begins Tonight on Indiana Toll Road

intollrd
Officials with the Indiana Toll Road have issued a Winter Weather Ban beginning at 7pm EST/6pm CST today. The ban is in effect for the entire length of the Indiana Toll Road and will remain in effect through noon EST/11am CST Monday, January 6th. The ban is in effect for all triple, long-double and high profile oversize permit loads as well as low profile steel haulers. A Winter Storm Warning for heavy and blowing snow begins this evening until late Sunday night, with a Wind Chill Warning in effect from late Sunday night through Monday night. ...
   

AUDIO: Dr. Wolf on Weekend Storm and Cold Temps

Snow followed by arctic cold air is expected impact northwest Indiana this weekend. The Region News Team spoke with Associate Professor of Meteorology at Valparaiso University, Dr. Bart Wolf, on the snow totals from this week, the snow expected this weekend and the arctic cold temperatures that will follow.  To hear the full interview click News Audio On Demand at http://regionnewsteam.com/

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