State Update: Seven Weather Related Deaths
January 8, 2014 by Jerry Howard
The State’s Joint Information Center (JIC) is increasing its Indiana casualty count for the current winter storm, saying seven Hoosier deaths are confirmed as related to the storm, with the causes of more deaths being evaluated.
It also says most of the State’s counties remain under a travel watch, and even though outside air temperatures are rising, they are not forecast to go above freezing until later this week.
While no Indiana counties remain in travel warning status, 41 counties are under a travel watch, with 51 counties under advisory or without travel restrictions. Regardless of county designations, the State warns that travel conditions still may not be safe for driving, so drivers are strongly urged to evaluate travel routes.
The Center says that although flights are beginning to depart from Indianapolis International Airport, some are delayed or cancelled, so travelers should check flight status with their airlines. Flight status information from the Indianapolis International Airport is at http://www.indianapolisairport.com/flightstatus.aspx.
The JIC reports that there are currently 2,848 power outages statewide, down from a peak of 71,162, with most power outages in the Indianapolis and South Central Indiana areas.
JIC also says six shelters remain open with a total occupancy of 53, against a total capacity of 3458.
The State says the Indiana National Guard has 26 Guardsmen deployed, down from 224 guardsmen deployed to help local emergency responders perform life-saving operations. It reports that as of 9:30 a.m. today, INNG had assisted 39 stranded motorists, 30 law enforcement agencies, transported 43 citizens, performed 31 route recons, and conducted 26 presence patrols, with teams now starting life safety patrols on state roads and US highways in Districts 1 through 8. Counties in each district can be found on the following map: http://www.in.gov/dhs/2797.htm.
Indiana State Police are patrolling roads, assisting people with trouble travelling or who are stranded, including slide-offs and jackknifed semis.
The Indiana Department of Transportation has 527 yellow plow trucks statewide clearing and treating the interstates, U.S. highways and state routes. Hoosier Helpers sponsored by State Farm in the Indianapolis, Northwest Indiana and Louisville urban areas are operating around-the-clock to assist stranded motorist during the dangerous cold temperatures.
S.R. 235 is closed between County Road 460 W and Mill Street in Jackson County due to high water.
Increased travel and warmer temperatures will make it easier for salt and other anti-icing chemicals to lower the temperature at which the snow and ice melt.
The State says Indiana Department of Natural Resources officers have responded to more than 100 slide-offs and several accidents, mostly in northern and west central Indiana, sometimes patrolling by snowmobile, “In one instance, an officer delivered medicine to a person’s home by use of snowmobile.”
Governor Mike Pence signed an executive order Monday to declares a state of disaster emergency for 29 counties affected by the severe winter weather that began last weekend. 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.
Some counties locally declared a state of disaster emergency, including: Allen*, Boone, Carroll*, Clay*, Clinton, DeKalb*, Delaware, Elkhart, Fountain*, Fulton, Grant, Henry*, Howard, Jasper, Johnson*, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Lake, LaPorte, Madison, Marshall, Miami*, Montgomery, Morgan*, Newton, Noble, Owen*, Perry*, Porter, Pulaski, Putnam*, 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.)
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.
The State Emergency Operations Center remains at an increased activation level, with approximately 20 personnel, including: 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.