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Breaking News: Snow emergency declared

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merle Pigg found himself with a big job shoveling outside Region's Bank in downtown Linton on Wednesday morning.
(By Niick Schneider) [Order this photo]
The Greene County area was blasted with a frigid winter blizzard early Wednesday that left upwards of 8-12 inches of snow on the ground with huge drifts fueled by high winds.

It was a day that local law enforcement agencies were highly recommending that all motorists stay off county and state roads.

Greene County officials declared a warning level road advisory on Wednesday morning, which essentially shut down all county roads to any motorists who are not considered essential, according to Greene County Emergency Management Agency Director Roger Axe.

Axe told the Greene County Daily World that Greene County Commissioners signed the emergency declaration at 10:15 a.m. Wednesday.

Later in the day at about 3:30 p.m., the commissioners declared a Snow Emergency which means all county roads are closed except to emergency vehicles.

Axe explained that under the Level 3 warning designation ---- which coincides with Indiana Homeland Security guidelines ---- travel is restricted to emergency workers, law enforcement and private health care workers.

The travel restrictions will be in place indefinitely.

Sheriff's department deputies have been instructed to limit the travel by those not in the allowable category, Axe said.

Sheriff Terry Pierce had some simple advice for anyone wanting to venture out on this dangerous day.

South Main Street in Linton.
(By Nick Schneider)
"People need to stay at home. The roads are dangerous," Pierce said while he was stuck in a very large snow drift on County Road 200S.

The sheriff had going to assist another motorist who was stuck in the 6-foot deep drift and found himself in position familiar to many motorists.

Pierce said his department has answered dozens of calls ---- mostly from stranded motorists.

There have been some slid-offs and a couple of wreck, but nothing serious, he said.

Pierce said all of his deputies not on regular duty are on stand-by, ready to be dispatched in the particular areas where they live.

He reported that the county highway department has been overwhelmed with slid-offs and several of their vehicles have also been stuck in snow drifts.

"They are going to have to give up for a while," he said.

The sheriff requests only emergency personnel to be on roads. Unless it is an emergency please stay off the roads.

Highway Superintendent Brent Murray says county roads are impassable.

The highway department has had three trucks wrecked and predicts the county roads will not be open until Friday.

The Greene County Courthouse remained open Wednesday, despite the emergency declaration.

Wednesday also proved to be a busy one for the Indiana Department of Transportation in the Vincennes District.

"We continue to be out with all trucks. Wind continues to blow snow back onto the roadway after plows go through," INDOT spokesperson Cher Elliott reports. "We have had several trucks slide off the roadway throughout our district. We will continue to be out in full force until the storm is complete and the roads, turn lanes an cross crossovers are all dry."

The Linton City Hall and utilities offices were closed along with the Linton Public Library.

Indiana State Police Post in Bloomington reports dangerous driving conditions.

The following counties in the Bloomington District have issued a Snow Emergency and have limited travel only for emergencies and public safety personnel;

"A Snow Emergency is declared when a major winter storm severely impacts a city or county in the United States. In a snow emergency, schools, universities, government offices and other public buildings may close. Typically, the

emergency is declared by the mayor or other high official. The declaration is usually issued before the storm hits, as drivers may be unable to move or even reach their cars after it has begun," according to ISP Public Information Officer Sgt. Curt Durnil.

At mid-morning Wednesday, ISP worked a 40-50 car standstill on State Road 37 in the southbound lane at the Morgan/Monroe County line.

This was not a crash, however traffic was not able to move until crews cleared the roadway, which was projected to take 1-2 hours.

About 9 a.m., the Linton Police Department issued a travel alert based on the forecast of several additional inches of snow on Wednesday afternoon and evening.

Dan Reynolds, with WTWO-TV in Terre Haute reports snow fall of about 12 inches near Switz City and near Bloomfield was 11.8 inches.

"We thought about 11 to 13 inches for your area, Greene and Monroe counties. It was pretty much spot on," he said. "We are still under a blizzard warning, but we are waiting for them to drop that. The storm has tapered off to the east. What's left is pretty much light stuff. You'll see cloudy skies though the evening."

He noted the roadways will be freezing over tonight due to the slush from people driving on it, but added, "The (storm) event is pretty much over,"

For up-to-date weather information the best source is your favorite TV or radio station or check the National Weather Service at http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ind/

* Visit www.TrafficWise.IN.gov or dial toll-free 1-800-261-ROAD (7623) for updated Indiana travel information, including road conditions, road closures, construction information, crashes and other traffic alerts.

Staff Writer Sabrina Westfall contributed to this report.

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The Greene County Courthouse remained open

Wednesday, despite the emergency declaration.


-- Posted by bmiller on Wed, Dec 26, 2012, at 5:28 PM

I can't understand how they have declared a snow emergency and no one is supposed to be driving other than emergency personnel but the courthouse is open? Are the commissioners providing transportation to and from work?

-- Posted by gdailey1628 on Wed, Dec 26, 2012, at 6:31 PM

My question is how are all the boys basketball teams getting to terre haute to play if emergency vehicles are only ones aloud on roads? Walmart and others places of business were open also.

-- Posted by Matt W Hockman on Wed, Dec 26, 2012, at 7:54 PM

It is not up to Axe to close the Courthouse. It is up to the County commissioners or the Judges. Wal-Mart makes enough money to afford a lawsuit our county does NOT. Plus our county official should care more about their employees. Remember this come next election.

-- Posted by myview on Wed, Dec 26, 2012, at 9:41 PM

He cannot control State or City/Town roads. I assume.

-- Posted by Equipmentguy on Wed, Dec 26, 2012, at 9:49 PM

Makes sense to me that you would have an emergency declaration at 3:30 in the afternoon where I can not travel on roads to go home FROM my job. It also makes real good sense to keep the Courthouse open since nobody was allowed on the roads and if they showed up they could write tickets at the Courthouse. Saves wear and tear on the Sheriff's cars and gas. I have to give it to our County officials for thinking out such a good plan of action.

-- Posted by greenetucky on Thu, Dec 27, 2012, at 3:01 PM

greenetucky, those were my thoughts exactly.

-- Posted by GreeneCoLady on Thu, Dec 27, 2012, at 6:37 PM

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