Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

State News

January 7, 2014

Indiana residents warned to stay home amid freeze

(Continued)

The noontime temperature was also 12 below zero in Fort Wayne and Terre Haute, and it was even 2 below zero in Evansville in far southwestern Indiana.

Emergency officials in the northern two-thirds of the state warned people to stay off the roads, many of which were rendered impassable because of heavy snow and winds that drifted over some roadways. At least one person had died from a crash on snow-covered roads.

The weather service said the heaviest snowfall was 15 inches reported in the north-central Indiana town of Tipton, while the southern Indiana city of Bloomington, where much of the precipitation fell as rain, reported less than one inch of new snow.

Most counties in the northern two-thirds of the state issued warnings asking everyone except emergency workers to avoid travel.

Highway officials on Monday afternoon reopened two major highways in northwestern Indiana — Interstate 65 between Lafayette and Merrillville and I-80/94 from the Illinois state line to Michigan City — but warned drivers to use extreme caution. Numerous state and local roads remained closed.

Indiana Department of Homeland spokesman John Erickson said National Guard crews were contributing highway and roadside assistance and helping emergency medical services reach patients. Erickson said even some emergency vehicles were having trouble in the snow.

Indiana's major electricity providers reported more than 37,000 power outages around the state after Sunday's snowstorm. Indianapolis had the most outages, and power remained out for about 30,000 homes and businesses as of Monday afternoon.

About 75 Indianapolis residents whose homes and apartments had been plunged into icy darkness by outages sought shelter in the American Red Cross' local headquarters north of downtown, where they milled about following a breakfast of hot oatmeal, coffee and cookies.

Among them was Ronald G. Smith Sr., a 53-year-old auto mechanic who said he was thankful that he had a warm place to stay until his home's power was restored. He said he fell asleep while watching Sunday's playoff game between the San Francisco 49rs and Green Bay Packers, and that he awoke at around 10 p.m. to no power.

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