While SEI Only Cold, Much Of Ind. Also Has Snow
By Mike Perleberg
The Indiana National Guard’s highway assistance team mobilizes as a severe winter storm bears down on much of the state on Sunday, January 5.
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – The tri-state certainly dodged the worst of Winter Storm Ion, but most of southern, central and northern Indiana weren’t so lucky.
What we saw as rain Sunday was snow for places like Indianapolis, Muncie, and Fort Wayne, where temperatures were cooler. Many areas received in excess of 11 inches of snow accumulation. Throw in some of the coldest air temperatures in years and public safety officials are worried.
“This weather combination that we’re seeing with all the snow and the cold is unlike anything we’ve seen in decades. I can’t emphasize that enough. The cold really scares me,” said Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard during a Sunday press conference.
The Indiana Department of Transportation and the Indianapolis Department of Public Works are trying to clean up. IDPW spokeswoman Lori Miser said crews are out in full force.
“We could be out there plowing and with the winds and things, the streets could just get blown back over again so it makes it look like we haven’t been out there,” said Miser.
Governor Mike Pence has ordered 24 Highway Assistance Teams with the Indiana National Guard, consisting of 96 individuals, to rescue stranded motorists and assist local EMS in reaching individuals who need medical attention. INDOT has closed Interstate 94, both eastbound and westbound, between the Illinois state line and Michigan City. Also I-65 is closed, both northbound and southbound between Gary and Lafayette.
Pence has authorized all state government offices to remain closed on Monday. Essential personnel will report to work to ensure public safety and critical services are available. That decision also affects the Indiana Work One office in Lawrenceburg.
“We want to ensure that our employees are safe and that Hoosiers have access to critical public services,” said Pence. “I am limiting the number of employees who must report to work on Monday to help keep people off the roads and out of the extreme cold, even while we make sure that Hoosiers have access to necessary government services.”
The 2014 legislative session at the Indiana Statehouse was to start Monday, but that’s been postponed until at least Tuesday.