GARY, Ind. – Snow hit residents of northwest Indiana hard on Wednesday as the winter storm continues.
Indiana State Police said they responded to multiple crashes throughout the day.
Earlier Wednesday in Indianapolis, Gov. Eric Holcomb said he is confident the state has the resources to respond to a winter storm that will affect the entire state, from the Lake Michigan region to the river. Ohio.
But he also asks Hoosiers to do their part by employing old-fashioned common sense and suggested the state is “overprepared” to respond to rapidly changing conditions.
He urged drivers to stay off the roads and asked them to be patient.
“(We) want to make sure that if you’re out, if you have to be out, that you don’t heel. Please don’t heel,” he said. “If you see a power line or trees falling, stay away from the power line. Report it, call 911. Do not bring generators inside.
Also very important for Holcomb: watch your neighbors. Holcomb asked Hoosiers to pay special attention and help those who live nearby, especially older residents.
The governor said it was the first significant statewide weather event he has faced since being sworn in in 2017.
He does not call for a state of emergency and said agencies would have all the resources necessary for an effective response. State offices will not close, and he relies on local businesses to make sound decisions based on local conditions.
INDOT Commissioner Joe McGuinness said INDOT has nearly 1,000 trucks in the midst of a response across the state. INDOT’s 1,500 employees will work 12-hour shifts for the duration of the storm.
The winter storm will affect all areas of the state over the next two to three days. Biggest Challenge: Varying conditions from north to central and south Indiana, each facing unique challenges and different times.
Since rain precedes ice and snow in many areas, INDOT will not be able to pre-treat roads. Those who must go out should expect snowy and icy roads.
“Snow, we can move. We can’t ice it,” McGuinness said.
“There’s no point in pretreating,” he added. “The rain will just wash this away.”
McGuinness, like Holcomb and others who spoke at the 30-minute briefing, urged people to stay home unless they absolutely have to go out. If they have to be on the roads, they will face tough road conditions.
“If you don’t have to drive, please don’t,” McGuinness said.
Indiana Department of Homeland Security Executive Director Steve Cox said his agency is coordinating with counties and other agencies to ensure emergency shelters are available. IDHS will have a statewide operations center with 24-hour crews for the duration of the storm.
The state has activated 60 National Guard teams. Cox said the Guard will be deployed to patrol the roads on Wednesday and throughout the weekend to help stranded drivers. About 240 National Guard soldiers will help.
FAI Superintendent Doug Cox said state troopers would help as much as they could. He noted that the state has some limitations on its ability to respond to 911 calls.
State police cars also have their own limitations. ISP cruisers will struggle to react in areas that receive 12 to 14 inches of snow. He said blowing snow and windblown snow could make the situation even more difficult and told drivers to stay in their cars if they slipped or got stuck.
“We’ll do anything to get to you, but we have to be able to, and that’s a big concern right now,” Carter said of the coming storm.
Carter said abandoned cars will need to be moved in order to help plows clear the roads.
“If you leave your vehicle and someone takes you home or takes you off the freeway or main road, that’s fine, but when we find it, we’ll remove it because we have to. open so INDOT can clear the road,” he said.
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