Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

January 4, 2014

County braces for winter storm

By Brent Brown Daily News
Greensburg Daily News

---- — GREENSBURG – City and county officials will meet with the Decatur County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Sunday to determine what local actions will be taken in response to a major winter storm expected to blanket much of the state this weekend.

The National Weather Service was predicting six inches – or more – of snow expected to begin early Sunday. Some reports indicate as much as 12 inches of snow are a possibility in the Decatur County area.

EMA director Rob Duckworth told the Daily News he thinks eight inches of snow accumulation throughout Greensburg and Decatur County isn’t out of the question.

But no matter what fury Mother Nature elects to send the Tree City’s way, local authorities are prepared for the worst.

Duckworth said the city and county are prepared to have “warming stations” in place should a number of individuals lose power or a means of heating their homes due to the pending inclement weather. In a worst-case scenario, emergency personnel are prepared to have shelters ready for those in need as well – should it come to that.

“We’ve planned for those stations regionally throughout the county because we know that travel will be difficult,” Duckworth said.

Exactly how difficult remains to be seen.

The EMA director said highway and street departments have planned to scrape as much of the remaining ice as possible prior to the weekend’s snowfall. During a conference call with local business representatives Friday afternoon, Duckworth said he expects snowfall to begin around 3 a.m. Sunday; accumulation is not anticipated to linger far into Monday.

When officials meet Sunday, they will assess the local weather situation and determine what winter weather advisory level will be designated for Decatur County.

The anticipated heavy snowfall and frigid temperatures – which could fall to as low as -15 – could potentially bring the need for raising the county’s advisory level to “red,” which calls for emergency travel only. At press time Friday, Decatur County was designated as being in the “yellow” advisory level, which calls for caution as road conditions may be hazardous.

“We’re preparing for actual temperatures of -10 to -15 and a wind chill of -30,” Duckworth said.

Such temperatures pose severe safety risks.

Duckworth said individuals who lose power due to the incoming winter storm should first contact their electric company for an estimate on how long the outage could last. The EMA director said individuals in such a situation should remain at home if they can do so safely. If the situation arises where one cannot be safe at home, those affected should contact their local fire department, township trustees or the EMA office.

Any necessary changes to the travel advisory level will be determined by Sunday afternoon.

Greensburg Fire Chief Scott Chasteen told the Daily News Friday that the American Red Cross has “bulk materials” at the ready if the need arises this weekend.

During Friday’s conference call, Rob Duckworth said individuals who may be traveling between counties for work can keep abreast of weather advisory developments by logging on to in.gov/dhs.

Signing up for NIXLE alerts is another way to stay informed of changing weather conditions, at all times of the year.

To sign up for NIXLE alerts, which are sent as text messages to cell phones, text decaturco to 888777.

The Daily News will have further information on developing weather conditions in future print editions as well as at www.greensburgdailynews.com.

Contact: Brent Brown 812-663-3111 x7056; brent.brown@greensburgdailynews.com