Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

December 26, 2012

Winter storm plows through Decatur County

Brent Brown
Greensburg Daily News

Greensburg — A significant winter storm blanketed much of Decatur County and surrounding areas with snow Wednesday, leading to numerous cancellations and difficult travel conditions.

Snow began falling in the early morning hours of Wednesday, as blizzard warnings issued by the National Weather Service warned of possible snow accumulation of six to 14 inches.

Precipitation continued into the afternoon, leading the Decatur County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) to issue a level red (warning) travel advisory shortly after 5 p.m.

Under those conditions, travel is restricted to emergency personnel only and motorists may be issued citations for travel during this time.

The Decatur County EMA met at 4 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the ongoing weather conditions, which led to the travel restrictions being formally put into place.

The storm, however, had long since done it’s part to make most travel unnecessary if not impossible.

A vast array of cancellations and closings took place throughout the county Wednesday. Businesses and banks closed early, manufacturing facilities canceled shifts into Friday, and many fast food restaurants shuttered their doors against the significant snowfall. The Decatur County Courthouse closed alongside county offices, and Greensburg City Hall shut down at noon. Additionally, several medical facilities were not operational Wednesday and schools canceled evening athletic events.

Traffic problems were fairly minimal throughout the county. Duckworth, who also serves as a Lieutenant with the Decatur County Sheriff’s Department, said only two slide-offs had been reported to county law enforcement officials by Wednesday afternoon. Indianapolis and some outlying areas were a different story, however, as a news release from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security said Indiana State Police had responded to more than 170 calls, 159 of which were in regards to vehicle crashes. The Indiana Department of Transportation deployed approximately 700 trucks to aid in snow removal throughout Wednesday.

Travel restrictions or no, Duckworth encouraged motorists to ensure cell phones are fully charged and plenty of water is readily available. The EMA director also encouraged drivers to pack blankets in their vehicles. “It may take us awhile to get to people with the current weather conditions,” Duckworth noted.

In the event of medical emergencies, ambulances were placed at the ready in Greensburg, Lake Santee and Letts.

Duckworth said zero electrical outages had been reported in Decatur County by press time Wednesday. Outages did occur in other areas affected by the storm.

Later in the day, the National Weather Service’s website indicated relief from the snow would soon be forthcoming.

Thursday’s weather outlook called for clouds and light winds.

Winds at different periods in Decatur County appeared to meet the qualifications necessary to be deemed a blizzard.

Duckworth explained that the definition of a blizzard is not based on snow accumulation; rather, sustained winds of more than 35 miles per hour and visibility reduced to that of a quarter of a mile or less are two of the prime factors used to determine blizzard conditions.

The blizzard warning itself gave way to a winter weather advisory Wednesday afternoon, though blowing and drifting conditions were anticipated to continue until about 7 p.m, Snowfall was expect to cease by 9 p.m.

Winter preparedness tips are available on the web at Residents may also sign up for free NIXLE travel status changes alerts (and other emergency texts) by texting 47240 to 888777.

Contact: Brent Brown 812-663-3111 x7056