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A woman walks back to her car in the long term parking lot at Indianapolis International Airport. (The Indianapolis Star | Joe Vitti)

Indiana winter storm update

Statement as issued Tuesday by the state of Indiana:

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 degrees forecasted for Indianapolis. The warm up is expected to continue overnight, with highs Wednesday approaching 30 degrees.

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.

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