Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

January 25, 2014

Fierce winds, snow accumulation cause traffic havoc, road closures


Greensburg Daily News

Greensburg — GREENSBURG -- High winds and drifting snow led to multiple accidents and vehicle slide-offs throughout Decatur County Saturday.

The Decatur County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) issued a “Red” Emergency Travel Advisory Saturday morning following a night of blowing and drifting snow that was expected to only get worse into Sunday.

In spite of the travel warning, the Decatur County Sheriff’s Department and Greensburg Police Department responded to multiple reports of slide-offs and minor vehicle accidents throughout the day.

Speaking of the conditions Saturday, EMA director Rob Duckworth told the Daily News there was virtually no reason non-emergency personnel should be traveling in the present conditions.

Drivers traveling under a “Red” Emergency Travel Advisory can be cited for ignoring the travel ordinance.

Duckworth said a small amount of additional accumulation was expected overnight Saturday, though high winds -- gusting to as much as 25 to 40 miles per hour -- remained the main problem facing road crews.

Saturday evening, Duckworth said the majority of state routes were iced over with conditions expected to deteriorate further under the high winds and additional snow anticipated by weather forecasters.

To combat the latest dose of Mother Nature’s wintry fury, the county is seeking to acquire vehicle-mounted snow-blowing equipment. Duckworth said drifts on county roads are as deep as two feet. Highway Department trucks have pushed snow off to the side of county roads, but with those drifts measuring approximately three feet, there’s simply nowhere else for the snow to go.

The extra snow-blowing equipment will blow snow up and over the drifts on the side of the road. The county currently has one such vehicle available for use.

Facing wintry conditions among the worst seen in the county in nine years, Duckworth said he expected to see full closure of 12 primary routes in Decatur County overnight Saturday.

Some of the affected areas include Old U.S. Highway 421, County Road 300 North, County Road 700 South and County Road 1200 South.

“We’re expecting those to be drifted shut and closed by morning [Sunday],” Duckworth said. “And that’s after continuing to run five trucks overnight for emergency response.”

Duckworth said no power outages had been reported as of Saturday evening.

EMA, city and county officials planned to meet at 9 a.m. Sunday in order to reassess the weather situation.

In the meantime, Duckworth urged motorists to remain at home through the latest winter blast.

“Just don’t travel,” the EMA director said. “There’s really no good reason to be out.”

 

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