The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for Hamilton County effective Saturday night through 1 a.m. Monday morning. A significant winter storm is likely to develop bringing with it snow, wind and cold temperatures. The latest models indicate more than 8 inches of snow for Hamilton County with some forecasts of up to 12 inches.
The heaviest snow is predicted to fall during the day Sunday. High winds will move in along with the snow creating dangerous wind chills as well as blowing and drifting snow. Wind chills of 30-40 degrees below zero are expected. Blizzard or near blizzard conditions are expected as winds increase during the storm.
Hamilton County Emergency Management and the Sheriff’s Office urge area residents to prepare for this weather event now. Conditions may not allow for a response once the storm has arrived due to treacherous roads.
Blizzard conditions may accompany this storm creating additional dangerous circumstances. Since loss of utilities is a possibility, all residents are encouraged to have an emergency kit prepared ahead of the storm.
During the snow event, stay home if at all possible. Travel should only be undertaken for emergency reasons. Check local news as well as Sheriff’s Office social media for further travel restrictions. Staying off the roads helps keep everyone safer as well as allows county highway workers time and space to clear streets.
Advice for staying safe:
- Walk carefully on snow covered or icy walkways
- Avoid overexertion when shoveling of working in snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack, a leading cause of snow-related deaths
- Keep dry to avoid a loss of body heat. Dressing in layers helps trap body heat. Cotton is not a good choice of clothing material as it does not insulate well.
- Drive only if absolutely necessary. Let someone know your travel plans and times. Make sure you have an emergency kit in your vehicle
- Clear your vehicle of snow and ice, especially windows, headlights and tail lights, before driving
- If your vehicle becomes stranded, stay with it unless shelter is less than 100 yards away. Run your car periodically for heat but make sure the exhaust pipe is clear of snow
- Keep cell phones charged and accessible
- Don’t eat snow as it lowers the body temperature
If power goes out during a storm:
- Know where control valves are for all utilities. Shut off water at the main valve if pipes freeze
- Check gas pilot lights when power is restored
- Open cabinet doors and open faucets to help prevent freezing
- Do not use gas or charcoal grills inside
- Make sure kerosene and other heaters have adequate ventilation
- Huddle with others to conserve body heat
- Close off unneeded rooms. Stuff towels or papers around doors
- Eat high energy foods
- Hang blankets over windows at night
- Check for the availability of shelters in the area. During a widespread extended power outage, shelters may be established by county officials
Also know that the Indiana State Police are in preparation for whatever Mother Nature has in store. Extra manpower will available as needed to patrol the major roadways to ensure stranded motorists will receive assistance as soon as possible and to respond to other weather related incidents.
Citizens are encouraged to avoid unnecessary travel during the winter storm and bitter cold temperatures. Due to the severe nature of this storm, depending upon conditions in various parts of the state, vehicles left abandoned along the roadways, especially along the interstates, may be towed immediately.
Citizens are also urged to avoid calling state, county, and local law enforcement dispatch centers for updates on road and weather conditions. To receive the latest road and weather information tune into your favorite radio station, TV news station, or call the statewide road and weather line at 800-261-ROAD (7623) or visit the INDOT website at www.trafficwise.in.gov.
The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) offers the following information as well.
Have a Plan
- Food and water for three days (includes three gallons of water per person, per day)
- Battery operated or hand crank all hazards radio
- Extra batteries for radio and flashlight
- Extra clothing, warm blankets, sleeping bags for staying warm in your home if you lose power
- Special items (baby formula, insulin, medications)
Families should also take the time to check with neighbors and see if there’s anything they can do for each other before, during or after the storm.
The Indiana Board of Animal Health reminds pet owners to be especially sensitive to their animals’ limits when outside. Most pets cannot tolerate more than 20 minutes outside when the temperature drops below zero. Be sure to provide a sheltered place for outdoor pets and make sure they have fresh water. Use a heater for water or change the supply frequently.