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State: Winter Storm Morning Update Tue Jan 07 2014

This update is courtesy of the Indiana Joint Information Center:
Winter Storm Morning Update: Tuesday January 7, 2014
Weather Outlook
Heavy snowfall totals can be found throughout Central and Northern Indiana. Some locations are reporting totals of up to 15 inches. The southern portion of the state received significantly less snowfall, however some locations are reporting up to 8 inches of snow.
Today, dangerously low temperatures continue into the morning. High temperatures are expected to finally creep back into positive digits as the day progresses, with a high temperature of 6° forecasted for Indianapolis. The warm up is expected to continue overnight, with highs Wednesday approaching 30°.
Governor Pence’s Executive Order
Governor Michael R. Pence signed an executive order on January 6, that declares a state of disaster emergency for 29 counties affected by the severe winter weather that began on Sunday, January 5. The counties are: Clinton, Delaware, Elkhart, Fulton, Grant, Howard, Jasper, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Lake, LaPorte, Madison, Marshall, Montgomery, Newton, Noble, Porter, Pulaski, Rush, St. Joseph, Starke, Steuben, Sullivan, Tipton, Vermillion, Vigo, Wabash, White, and Whitley.
Local Declarations
The following counties have locally declared a state of disaster emergency: Allen*, Boone*, Clinton, Delaware, Elkhart, Fulton, Grant, Greene*, Henry*, Howard, Jasper, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Lake, LaPorte, Madison, Marshall, Miami*, Montgomery, Morgan*, Newton, Noble, Owen*, Perry*, Porter, Pulaski, Randolph*, Rush, St. Joseph, Starke, Steuben, Sullivan, Tipton, Vermillion, Vigo, Wabash, White, and Whitley.
* Indicates counties that declared a state of disaster emergency after the governor’s executive order. These counties may be added.
Travel Advisories
Red counties (travel warning): 42
Orange counties (travel watch): 30
Yellow counties (travel advisory): 13
White counties (no restrictions): 7
The IDHS County Travel Status Map can be found here: http://www.in.gov/dhs/traveladvisory/.
Drivers are strongly urged to evaluate road conditions. East-west roads are generally significantly better than north-south roads, as winds can cause drifting snow on north-south roads. Drivers should take the time to evaluate travel routes and be alert for snow drifts and low visibility. Information on state highways can be found through INDOT’s TrafficWise Traveler Information Service at http://www.trafficwise.in.gov
Since Sunday, 105 flights have been cancelled at Indianapolis International Airport. The airport remains open, however travelers should check with their airline to see the status of their flights. The following link provides up-to-the-minute information on flight statuses at Indianapolis International airport: http://www.indianapolisairport.com/flightstatus.aspx
Shelters
There are 41 shelters are currently open. The open shelters have a total occupancy of 316, with a total capacity of 1,998. There are 9 shelters on standby/alert. In 23 counties, there is at least one open shelter.
State Emergency Operations Center Status
The SEOC remains at an increased activation level, with approximately 20 personnel. Positions in the SEOC include: ESF 1 Transportation (Indiana Department of Transportation), ESF 6 Mass Care (Red Cross), ESF 8 Health (Indiana State Department of Health), ESF 12 Energy (Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission), ESF 13 Law Enforcement (Indiana State Police), ESF 15 External Affairs (Indiana Department of Homeland Security), and Indiana National Guard. IDHS is staffing logistics, planning, fiscal, and administration positions.
Agencies’ Operations
INNG: Indiana National Guard has 47 Highway Assistance Teams (HAT) and 318 guardsmen deployed. HAT teams assist local law enforcement, emergency medical services, and public safety professionals in life saving operations. Teams have transported individuals to shelters and dialysis clinics, rescued stranded motorists and law enforcement, and performed route recon to help authorities determine safe travel routes. As of 5:00 a.m. Tuesday, INNG has assisted 35 stranded motorists, 20 law enforcement agencies, transported 25 citizens, performed 29 route recons, and conducted 18 presence patrols. Teams are beginning life safety patrols on state roads and US highways in Districts 2 through 7. Counties in each district can be found on the following map: http://www.in.gov/dhs/2797.htm
ISP: Indiana State Police is patrolling roads, assisting with individuals who may have trouble travelling or who are stranded. ISP is also responding to slide offs and jackknifed semis.
INDOT: Indiana Department of Transportation has 512 trucks operating statewide. I-80/94 from US 421 (mile 34) to the Illinois State Line reopened at 3 p.m. EST Monday, after an overnight closure due to heavy snow. I-65 from Gary to Lafayette was briefly reopened, however, at 6:30 p.m. EST Monday, I-65 was closed again from US 30 to IN-26. At 10:00 a.m. EST, I-65 was reopened from US 30 to IN-26.
All lanes on I-65 northbound from exit 76 to exit 95 are closed indefinitely due to road conditions and multiple jackknifed semis. However, the low temperatures are making it difficult for salt to melt the ice and snow that needs to be removed.
IDHS: Indiana Department of Homeland Security is the coordinating agency for this incident, providing logistics, planning, fiscal, administrative, and leadership positions in the SEOC. IDHS also has field staff across the state who are assisting local agencies.
Deaths and Injuries
One death has been confirmed in Henry County. A 41-year-old male was killed in a traffic crash at US 40 and SR3 on Sunday. No other deaths or injuries have been reported to this point.
Power Outages
There are currently 21,657 power outages statewide, down from a peak of 71,162. The majority of the power outages (12,692, IPL) are in the Indianapolis area....
 

House Fire in Whiting

In Whiting today, at about 10:30 am this morning crews were reportedly at the scene of a house fire in the 1900 block of Indianapolis Boulevard... Everyone reportedly got out okay, but we don't have that confirmed yet.  There were flames apparently showing from the top of the structure earlier.  Part of Indianapolis Boulevard had to be closed off for fire crews....
 

Region's Icy Roads Worsening

TRAFFIC ALERT: Schererville Police are asking motorists to avoid the very busy intersection of US 30 and US 41 if at all possible, especially the area on US 41 just south of US 30 near the entrance and exit to Teibel's Restaurant.   Police say the highway is completely iced over and there have been several accidents in the past few hours in that area this morning.


We are getting multiple reports of extremely icy conditions, including State Road 49 in Porter County, where the highway was described as a sheet of ice from Vale Park Road to the Porter County Sheriff's Department.


In Dyer, at 9 am CST today (1/7) Dyer Police closed 81st Avenue (S-Curve) at the Indiana/Illinois State Line.  Dyer Police say icy road conditions have made it dangerous for passing motorists, police, tow truck personnel and town plow truck drivers working in the area to assist stranded motorists.  81st Avenue turns into Steger Rd. in Illinois. Alternate routes for east and west traffic are Exchange/101st Avenue or Rt 30.  Police say they will reopen the road as soon as conditions allow.  Any questions, please contact the Dyer Police Department non-emergency at 219-865-1163....

In Wanatah, LaPorte County Coroner John Sullivan speaking in his capacity as a member of the Cass-Clinton Fire Department is urging motorists to stay away from the intersection of US 30 and US 421, where there have been numerous accidents over the past few hours.  "I mean it's a skating rink, just a solid sheet of ice," Sullivan told the Region News Team shortly before 11 am CST today, "I cannot stand up on the road it's that bad."  Sullivan says the entire intersection of US 421 and US 30 is extremely dangerous, a "solid sheet of ice", where motorists have no control of their vehicle on US 30. 

In Hobart, State Road 51 is also described as a "skating rink".

 

Cedar Lake Cancels Executive Session, Work Session

The Cedar Lake Town Council has cancelled its executive session and public meeting work session for today, Tuesday, January 7, 2014. The next scheduled public meeting will be held Tuesday, January 14, 2014, at 7 pm.  The meeting will be held at Cedar Lake Town Hall, 7408 Constitution Avenue....
 

Valpo Parking Ordinance Enforced

Valparaiso Police will be enforcing city ordinance 72.51, which requires vehicles to be removed from city streets until both sides of the street have been plowed from curb to curb. Valparaiso Police will be issuing citations to vehicles that are in violation of this ordinance. City ordinance requires vehicles be removed or vehicle owners risk their vehicles being towed from the street at their expense.  As of this morning Valparaiso Police say city side streets remain snow covered and hazardous. Parked cars along side streets that have not had the snow removed from them increase the danger to other motorists and city crews attempting to clear the streets. If your vehicle is parked along a side street please remove the vehicle until the street has been cleared of snow....
 

I-65 Reopens Merrillville to Lafayette, Still Hazardous

UPDATE FROM INDOT:  The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) announces the reopening of I-65 (Between U.S. 30 in Merrillville and Lafayette). But drivers are advised to use extreme caution, take it slow, and travel at their own risk. Like all roads across Northwest Indiana conditions are extremely hazardous and non-emergency travel is strongly discouraged.   Hard-pack snow and ice should be expected on all Northwest Indiana roads, including I-65 and I-94, causing dangerously icy conditions. In these subzero temperatures, road salt is not as effective on icy roadways. INDOT is using other methods to melt ice and gain traction on road surfaces, such as chemical anti-icing agents and abrasives, but the frigid weather is hindering these efforts as well. Dangerously icy conditions will not likely improve across Northwest Indiana until temperatures rise tomorrow. ...
 

I-65 Remains Closed, I-94 Open but Slick

As of 5:30 a.m. Central Time today (Tue Jan 7 2014), the Indiana Department of Transportation continues to discourage anyone from non-essential travel in Northwest Indiana. Conditions remain extremely icy on passable roads, while others are becoming impassable from drifting snow.
Currently, I-65 is closed, both northbound and southbound, between U.S. 30 (Merrillville) and Lafayette due to reduced visibility, additional snowfall, and icy conditions. Crews have been plowing the roadway and using all methods possible to gain traction overnight, but subzero temperatures are making the task extremely difficult. There is no timeframe for reopening I-65. I-94 is open this morning, but drivers are warned to expect icy conditions throughout.
Blowing and drifting snow intensified during overnight hours, especially in Newton, Jasper, and southern Lake Counties. Some roadways are impassable, or have narrow lanes, due to the drifting snow.
As stated in previous releases, road salt is less effective in these subzero temperatures. INDOT is using other methods to melt ice and gain traction on road surfaces, such as chemical anti-icing agents and sand, but the frigid weather is hindering these efforts as well. As a result, all roads should be considered extremely slick and hazardous.
Extremely cold temperatures are also causing numerous mechanical failures for INDOT plows and heavy machinery. INDOT mechanics are working long hours, like plow drivers, to get these vehicles back on the roads as soon as possible. But constant equipment failure due to frigid temperatures is slowing the process of clearing Northwest Indiana roads.
Drivers in Northwest Indiana can monitor road closures, road conditions, and traffic alerts at any time via the District’s social media channels: www.Facebook.com/INDOTNorthwest or Twitter @INDOTNorthwest. Or visit http://www.trafficwise.in.gov for INDOT’s TrafficWise Traveler Information Service....
 

Travel Bans Lifted in Lake, Porter; Roads Remain Hazardous

Travel bans have been lifted in Lake and Porter Counties.  Lake County Sheriff John Buncich canceled the travel emergency early Monday evening, and the advisory was canceled for Porter County at 6-o'clock this morning, however local officials urge everyone to continue to use caution and allow enough time to safely get to your destination as conditions remain treacherous.  All other counties in northwest Indiana and across most the northern half of the state remain under an emergency travel ban.  Porter County officials say Porter County Government offices are opening at 10 am today (Tue Jan 7).
Here's a link to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security County Travel Status map (for the most recent version, please refresh or reload your browser): http://www.in.gov/dhs/traveladvisory/   ...
 

Gary Announces Plowing Schedule

City of Gary officials continued the implementation of their snow plan Monday with a focus on clearing side streets, the opening of warming shelters and transporting stranded residents. “We appreciate the patience of residents, and we are working as quickly as possible to clear streets so we can lift the State of Emergency ban later tonight,” said Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson on Monday.

While many areas of the city have been plowed, city officials in Gary have released a plowing schedule to help give residents an idea of when services will be delivered in their areas. Note: These times are estimates and are subject to change.
Approximately 10:00a.m.
Miller
Glen Park East -- I-94 to 53rd from Broadway to I-65
Glen Park West -- I-94 to 53rd from Broadway to Grant
 
Approximately 3:00p.m.
Clark Road to Cline Ave  -- 15th to 25th
Chase to Clark Road – 11th to 25th
Grant to Broadway  -- 11th to 25th
Grant to Chase – 11th to 25th
 
Approximately  7:00p.m.
Broadway to I-65 -- 5th Ave to 11th Ave
Broadway to Grant – 5th to 11th Ave
Grant to Clark – 5th to 11th Ave
Clark to I-65 -- Toll Road to 15th Ave
 
Approximately 10:00p.m.
Aetna, Glen Ryan, Marshalltown, Area behind Marshalltown
 
At approximately 1:00a.m., the plowing schedule will start over with additional roaming support. Emergency calls that may impact health and well-being will take priority. Alleys will beplowed starting early Tuesday morning.
 
OTHER GARY ANNOUNCEMENTS
-          Gary City Hall and all other City offices will reopen Tuesday, January 7, 2014
-          Gary Schools (Gary Community School Corporation) will be closed Tuesday, January 7, 2014
-          The 12-night revival is canceled for Monday, January 6 and Tuesday, January 7, 2014. Services will resume Wednesday, January 8, 2014. For more information, visit garybaptist.org...
 

Valparaiso Warming Shelters

Officials in Valparaiso say those in and around the city can seek warmth and shelter at Valparaiso’s Harre Union, 1509 Chapel Drive, on the Valparaiso University campus. People may stay there until at least midnight. In cases where people have nowhere to go to escape this dangerous cold, or if they’re unable to travel, please call on Valparaiso Police Department at 219-462-2135 or the Valparaiso Fire Department at 219-462-8325 during business hours. After business hours, heat emergencies may be directed to 911....
 

NW Indiana Snow Totals

The National Weather Service in Chicago has released snow fall totals from Saturday through early Monday, and parts of Valparaiso received anywhere from 18-point-3 to 8 inches of snow. Other areas in northwest Indiana receiving heavy snow fall was Porter, with 15.7 inches and Crown Point, with 15.6 inches of snow. 14 inches of snow fell in Portage, with 12.5 inches in parts of DeMotte and 12 inches in St. John....
   

All Dash Buses to Run on Tuesday

Officials in Valparaiso report that all Dash Buses will be running tomorrow. A State of Emergency remains in effect in Porter County until 6am tomorrow and county government offices will open at 10am. Indiana Government offices are closed until 10am local time tomorrow. ...
   

Lake County Lifts Emergency Driving Ban

A state of emergency driving ban has been lifted for unincorporated Lake County. Lake County Sheriff John Buncich continues to ask citizens to use caution on the roadways and to allow enough time to safely get to your destination as conditions remain treacherous. A State of Emergency remains in effect in Porter County until 6am tomorrow....
   

INDOT: Emergency Road Closures List

EMERGENCY CLOSURES:
SR 16 in Rensselaer, between U.S. 41 and U.S. 231
SR 114 in Rensselaer, to the Pulaski County line
U.S. 35, between U.S. 31 and SR 13. 
SR 16, from Monon to Royal Center
SR18, from SR 29 to U.S. 31
SR 218, from SR 25 to SR 29
SR 43, south of Chalmers
U.S. 41, south of SR 55
Other roads may be impassable and closed to all traffic, but a complete list is not available due to drifting snow forcing the closure of roadways so quickly.


Drivers in Northwest Indiana can monitor road closures, road conditions, and traffic alerts at any time via the District’s social media channels: www.Facebook.com/INDOTNorthwest or Twitter @INDOTNorthwest. Or visit  http://www.trafficwise.in.gov for INDOT’s TrafficWise Traveler Information Service....
   

State of Emergency Declared in Michigan City

Due to the severe conditions and ongoing snow removal efforts in the City of Michigan City, the State of Emergency declared by Mayor Ron Meer will stay in effect until Wednesday morning at 8:00 a.m. The City of Michigan City governmental offices will re-open to regular business hours tomorrow, Tuesday, January 7, 2014. The city is asking that residents please dig out and move their vehicles (according to the city snow removal declaration and parking ordinance) so snow plows can get into areas that still need to be plowed and cleaned up. The snow removal declaration and parking ordinance is: Snow removal conditions have been declared by the Mayor, the following traffic regulations shall be in effect:  1. No vehicle shall be parked on a designated “snow route.” 2. On even numbered days, no parking shall be permitted on that side of the street with even numbered addresses from 6:00 a.m. to midnight. 3. On odd numbered days, no parking shall be permitted on that side of the street with odd numbered addresses from 6:00 a.m. to midnight. The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) located on the lower level of City Hall is still staffed and activated. Until 4:30 pm Wednesday afternoon, Michigan City City Hall will be open as a 24-hour warming center. Any individuals needing a ride to a warming center may contact the Police Department at their non-emergency number: 874-3221. Other warming centers include: The Michigan City Police Department lobby (24 hours) The Michigan City Fire Administration Building (8am-4pm) If anyone is at Fire Administration Building at closing time, the Fire Department or Police Department will supply them with a ride to City Hall. Until further notice, the city is banning parking on posted SNOW ROUTES. Cars may not at any time be parked on a posted snow route. Effective immediately, the Michigan City Police Department will begin towing cars at a $165.00 minimum cost to the owner of a vehicle not moved from a posted snow route. Snow routes are main thoroughfares through the city and keeping them clear is vital for the travel of public health and safety vehicles in an emergency situation. Regular garbage pick-up will be one day late this week. Status of all Tuesday governmental meetings will be announced on Tuesday, January 7, 2014. Mayor Meer would like to thank the citizens for their cooperation. The Mayor would also like to remind citizens to check on and help their neighbors when possible, especially the elderly and to please take care of pets....
   

NB and SB I-65 from US 30 to Lafayette Closed Again

INDOT reopened I-80/94 and I-65 in northwest Indiana this afternoon, but officials now report both directions of I-65 are now closed again between US-30 and Lafayette. More snow is expected tonight with blowing and drifting snow and icy roads expected as well. ...
   

Porter County to Lift State of Emergency at 6am Tuesday

A State of Emergency remains in effect in Porter County until 6am tomorrow. Porter County Sheriff's Department Public Information officer Sgt. Larry LaFlower says the Porter County Board of Commissioners says county government offices will open at 10am. Indiana Government offices are closed until 10am local time tomorrow. The State of Emergency in Lake County is also expected to be lifted tomorrow.
Indiana Governor Mike Pence today has declared a state of disaster emergency for 29 counties affected by the severe weather that began on Sunday. Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Jasper, Newton, Starke and Pulaski Counties in northwest Indiana are among the 29 counties listed....

   

NWI Counties Included in State of Disaster Emergency

Indianapolis, IN - Governor Mike Pence has declared a state of disaster emergency for 29 counties affected by the severe weather that began on January 5.
“As a result of the severe snowstorms, extreme cold and dangerous wind conditions that have impacted counties across Indiana, I have declared a state of disaster emergency in the 29 counties that were most affected by the storm, and the State of Indiana stands ready to assist Hoosiers as needed,” said Governor Pence. “We will continue to respond to this serious winter storm and evaluate its impact on other Indiana counties going forward.”
The counties included in the declaration are: Clinton, Delaware, Elkhart, Fulton, Grant, Howard, Jasper, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Lake, LaPorte, Madison, Marshall, Montgomery, Newton, Noble, Porter, Pulaski, Rush, St. Joseph, Starke, Steuben, Sullivan, Tipton, Vermillion, Vigo, Wabash, White, and Whitley.
Assessments are ongoing and more counties may be added if needed....
   

S. Shore to Resume Regular Train Service Tuesday

NICTD reports South Shore train service between Michigan City and Chicago will resume tomorrow. Officials say service there will begin with westbound train 102, which is scheduled to arrive in Chicago at 5:43am. Meanwhile, between South Bend and Michigan City, officials say they plan to temporarily bus passengers starting tomorrow and due to low volume numbers they will not bus from Hudson Lake, so passengers are advised to drive to the Carroll Avenue Station in Michigan City. ...
   

Winter WX Ban to Expire Tonight for Indiana Toll Road

Officials with the Indiana Toll Road report their Winter Weather Ban will expire this evening at 7pm EST/6pm CST. The ban had been in effect for the entire length of the Toll Road since Saturday night for all triple, long-double and high profile oversize permit loads as well as low profile steel haulers. Meanwhile INDOT has reopened I-65 and I-80/94, but much of the state including northwest Indiana remains under a travel warning, which means individuals are being directed to refrain from traveling. ...
   

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