January 5, 2014 by Jerry Howard & AP
Indiana’s Department of Homeland Security is insisting that drivers take steps to avoid getting stuck when crashes or snow drifts close Hoosier roads, “With snow falling at a rate of an inch or more per hour, to be followed by blowing and drifting snow, your vehicle may not be able to move once the road is reopened.”
IDHS tells drivers to turn around if safe to do so, or find an alternate route to the closest, safe shelter.
Today, Governor Mike Pence activated National Guard members and Highway Assistance Teams to help stranded drivers. Visibility in Northwest Indiana and Greater Chicago was less than 1/4-mile as north winds blew snow across the area.
IDHS says the Indiana Department of Transportation has a full deployment of trucks plowing and treating the interstate highways, U.S. highways and state routes in places sustaining the most snow in Indiana, suggesting drivers be vigiliant, too, “While the trucks are effective in plowing accumulating and drifting snow, drivers need to do their part to keep the roads open so the plow trucks can do their job.”
Governor Pence activated 24 Highway Assistance Teams with the Indiana National Guard, consisting of 96 individuals, to rescue stranded motorists and to assist local emergency medical responders reach people who need medical attention, dispatched in teams of four individuals in two vehicles.
IDHS insists that drivers “not put themselves, local emergency medical services, the National Guard or other public safety professionals in harm’s way. Please listen to and follow county travel advisories to stay off the roads, both during the storm and during the blowing and drifting predicted to follow the storm.”
Indiana State Police and other law enforcement agencies encourage the public to keep phone lines open for emergencies, using other sources for road conditions information.
That information is available at http://indot.carsprogram.org/ or by dialing toll-free 800-261-ROAD (7623).
County-by-county travel statuses are at http://www.in.gov/dhs/traveladvisory/.
The Indiana Department of Homeland Security reports 30 counties in western and northern Indiana are asking residents to stay off of roads because of dangerous conditions.
The counties that have issued travel warnings that stretch from Newton to Sullivan counties along the Illinois state line and as far northeast as LaGrange County and as far southeast as Henry County.
Another 19 counties — ranging from Posey County in southwest Indiana to Steuben County in the northeast — have issued travel watches, meaning conditions are threatening to public safety. Residents in those counties are asked to use roads only for essential travel, such as for work or emergencies.
Another 22 counties have issued travel advisories, which means routine travel or activities may be restricted in areas because of a hazardous situation.