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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

First snow of the season is a big snow in Greene County

Friday, December 6, 2013

(By Sabrina Westfall) Linton Mayor John Wilkes was clearing the sidewalk for his Main Street business Mercury Cleaners. [Order this photo]
Most of the Greene County area is blanketed with about six inches of snow on Friday as road crews work to remove snow, ice and a freezing winter mixture from the roadways following the first major snow storm of the winter season.

Traffic has been slowed and Greene County Emergency Management Agency Director Roger Axe is advising motorists to say home, if travel is not absolutely necessary.

Axe said it appears the ice that some other areas of southern Indiana experienced missed Greene County for the most part.

However, he says the roads remain dangerous.

"What I am telling people is, if you don't have to get out, don't go unless it's an absolute emergency," Axe said. "If you don't have to go out, that is the thing to do...this is a good time to stay at home and enjoy your home."

Axe said the county commissioners and the county sheriff have not officially issued a travel advisory at this point and they are joining him in monitoring the weather situation.

Last year, the county instituted three levels of advisories that can be issued with regard to travel on county roads, but Axe said he doesn't want to intervene and ask officials to intervene unless it is absolutely necessary.

The first level is a road advisory -- where travel is authorized at the risk of the individual drivers.

A second level restricts traffic to emergency vehicles only. A final level is closing a road or several county roads to all traffic and penalties can be imposed for violating the directive.

Last year, a level three advisory was issued by the county commissioners on Dec. 26.

"The problem we have to worry about now is this re-freezing of the roads. Temperatures are going to plummet. There again, people need to be aware."

Jesse Walker, meteorologist for WTWO-TV in Terre Haute, says, "We've had reports of between 4-6 inches in the Greene County area so far."

He explained the reason for the snow by saying, "A very strong Arctic front came through Wednesday night. We hit 65 on Wednesday (just 4 degrees away from a record) and that front has stalled south of here. A couple of waves of low pressure are moving along that front and putting moisture up on top of the arctic air mass and this is causing the snow. The first wave was last night and the second now coming through with more snow. It will taper off toward evening."

He added, "Another weaker system will move south of here for Sunday - Sunday night. Right now, it looks like some light winter mix for Sunday - Sunday night but we are not thinking this will be anything major for this area."

All five county school districts canceled classes on Friday.

Highway crews from the county and Indiana Department of Transportation have been working hard to clear the roads as snow continues to fall.

INDOT's Vincennes District spokesperson Cher Elliott says this winter storm brings back reminders of last year's Christmas holiday storms.

"What we're seeing is that roads are snow covered and hard packed in some areas. We're (INDOT) working hard to keep the snow off the roads as well as breaking through the areas that have some ice. We're expecting a second round of storms coming through, but I'm wondering if this first one will even stop. We will continue with ALL trucks out for our entire district area and will do so until the snow has stopped and all the lanes are dry and clear," Elliott told the Greene County Daily World. "We've heard from NWS (National Weather Service) that we could potentially have up to 10 inches of snow when both storms are complete."

Motorist were urged by Elliott to check on road conditions before they go anywhere at www.trafficwise.in.gov

"They can also follow our social media as I will be updating there throughout the storm events. www.Facebook.com/VincennesDistrict and www.Twitter.com/INDOTSouthwest,\" Elliott added.

An INDOT snow plow truck did overturn early Friday morning in eastern Greene County while clearing icy roadways.

The INDOT owned 2003 Ford Sterling truck with a snow plow and driven by Rickey Laughlin, 58, of Odon, was traveling north on State Road 45 when it overturned near the intersection with Dotson Road about 12:19 a.m., according to a report from Greene County Sheriff's Department Deputy Jeff Brown.

Laughlin was trapped inside the truck from the seatbelt, but had no injuries.

"The truck did loose its load of salt from the rollover, Deputy Brown commented.

The Greene County Sheriff's Department reports several 'slide-offs' since Thursday evening, but said the INDOT truck is the only thing that would be considered to be major at this point.

Greene County Highway Department Supt. Brent Murray said his crews are working at the clearing the 1,032 miles of county roads in the county with no major problems.

The stockpile of salt and sand is very good -- with about 88 tons of salt at the west side garage and another 66 tons of salt expected to be delivered on Friday.

Murray says it looks like the snow accumulation is pretty consistent throughout the county with the removal task a little more difficult in the eastern part of the county because of its uneven terrain and 'larger hills'.

Murray said the department's fleet of 11 trucks with snow plows and two graders has been busy since early Friday morning.

"Right now we've only got one truck down (and out of service) so that is good."

Totals are expected to remain between seven and nine inches before this first wave of a winter storm ends.

Murray reminds residents who use or live on county roads to be patient and give the crews time to clean the roadways.

"We've got 1,032 miles of roads and take that times two with the two lanes and traveling on it at about 15 miles an hour just doesn't get it very quick," Murray explained in saying forecasts that he's heard says the storm will be out of the area by about 7 p.m. Friday.

Murray has plans to work his crew until about dark on Friday and then they'll be back on the road at 7 a.m. on Saturday.

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Greene county travel status - NORMAL


-- Posted by Hoosier4Life on Fri, Dec 6, 2013, at 12:34 PM

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