A winter storm warning, previously scheduled to end this morning, remains in effect until 4 p.m. EST this afternoon. In addition, a wind chill warning remains in effect until 8 p.m. EST Tuesday. There’s a link above to the full statement as of 6:59 a.m. but here are the highlights:
* MOST OF THE ACCUMULATING SNOW HAS ENDED BUT GUSTY NORTHWEST
WINDS OF 20 TO 35 MPH WITH OCCASIONAL GUSTS TO 40 MPH ARE
EXPECTED TODAY. THIS WILL CAUSE SIGNIFICANT BLOWING AND
DRIFTING SNOW WHICH WILL LIKELY KEEP MANY ROADS IMPASSABLE OR
RESTRICTED TO SINGLE LANES.
* TEMPERATURES WILL DROP DRASTICALLY THROUGH THE DAY WITH
READINGS DROPPING INTO THE TEENS BELOW ZERO. DEADLY WIND
CHILLS BETWEEN 30 BELOW AND 45 BELOW ZERO CAN BE EXPECTED
* ROADS ARE SNOW COVERED...SLICK AND HAZARDOUS. SIGNIFICANT
DRIFTING SNOW WILL CAUSE ROADWAYS TO BE PARTIALLY OR FULLY
IMPASSABLE FOR A PERIOD OF TIME.
* VISIBILITIES MAY BE REDUCED AT TIMES DUE TO THE BLOWING SNOW.
NEAR WHITEOUT CONDITIONS MAY OCCUR.
* FROST BITE AND HYPOTHERMIA WILL OCCUR IN A MATTER OF MINUTES
WITH THESE EXPECTED WIND CHILLS. DEATH WILL ALSO OCCUR IF
PRECAUTIONS ARE NOT TAKEN.
|Official conditions at Fort Wayne International Airport at 7:54 a.m. EST.|
As of 7:54 a.m. EST, the official temperature at Fort Wayne International Airport was -10 degrees Fahrenheit. The wind was 20 mph gusting to 30 mph, producing a wind chill factor of -35 degrees F.
|Indiana Michigan Power outage map as of 7:52 a.m. EST Jan. 6. Orange indicates 501 to 2,000 customers affected. Yellow indicates 100 to 500.|
Unfortunately, some homes are without electricity in this extreme cold. Indiana and Michigan Power reported nearly 1,000 Allen County customers without power as of 8 a.m. EST. It wouldn’t hurt to give friends and relatives a call to make sure they have power and sufficient heat. Personally, I’m also praying for all the utility workers who must be out in this dangerous cold today to restore power.
Allen County and all surrounding counties (except Wells County) all have travel “warnings” (code red) in effect, according to the website of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. According to state law, a “warning” level is the highest level of local travel advisory and means that travel may be restricted to emergency management workers only. During a “warning” local travel advisory, individuals are directed to:
- refrain from all travel;
- comply with necessary emergency measures;
- cooperate with public officials and disaster services forces in executing emergency operations plans; and
- obey and comply with the lawful directions of properly identified officers.
According to the website of the Wells County Sheriff Department, Wells County has declared a “level 3 snow emergency,” which, according to the website, means “only emergency personnel should be on the roadway.”
A representative of the Allen County Office of Homeland Security informed me yesterday that the Allen County Highway Department pulled its plows off the road overnight and did not resume planning until 4 a.m. EST. Apparently, the department lacks the budget for 24-hour operations.
The Indiana Department of Transportation reported on its Facebook page at 8:35 a.m. EST that drifting and stranded vehicles have closed many highways. Read the post for a complete list. DOT is also sending road closure updates on its Twitter feed, which you can read, even if you don’t have a Twitter account: @INDOT. For information more specific to northeastern Indiana, check out @INDOTNortheast, for tweets like this:
Alert: I-69 southbound – INDOT Traffic Mgt Ctr in Indy is reporting accidents at the 291 & 281 mile markers. All lanes closed. Up to 4 hours
— INDOT Northeast (@INDOTNortheast) January 6, 2014
Finally, if you must go outside today, take steps to protect yourself from hypothermia and frostbite. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend the following:
Adults and children should wear:
- a hat
- a scarf or knit mask to cover face and mouth
- sleeves that are snug at the wrist
- mittens (they are warmer than gloves)
- water-resistant coat and boots
- several layers of loose-fitting clothing
Be sure the outer layer of your clothing is tightly woven, preferably wind resistant, to reduce body-heat loss caused by wind. Wool, silk, or polypropylene inner layers of clothing will hold more body heat than cotton. Stay dry—wet clothing chills the body rapidly. Excess perspiration will increase heat loss, so remove extra layers of clothing whenever you feel too warm. Also, avoid getting gasoline or alcohol on your skin while de-icing and fueling your car or using a snow blower. These materials in contact with the skin greatly increase heat loss from the body. Do not ignore shivering. It’s an important first sign that the body is losing heat. Persistent shivering is a signal to return indoors.