You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.


  • Veterans give medical staff piece of their mind in forum
    Not long into Wednesday night’s Listening Post for military veterans, an audience member complained about another person’s lengthy gripe that had interrupted a speaker.
  • EACS estimates tax rate, budget decrease
    East Allen County Schools officials are estimating that next year’s school tax rate will dip by about a penny per $100 assessed value, while the general budget will decrease by about 1.4 percent.
  • Eagle Marsh project gets 1 bid
    The Indiana Department of Natural Resources received a single bid Wednesday for a construction project aimed at preventing Asian carp from migrating through Fort Wayne and reaching the Great Lakes.Fleming Excavating Inc.
At a glance
Here are the four emergency levels and corresponding colors:
Caution (white): A condition may develop that limits or hinders travel. No restrictions, but people should be alert to changing conditions.
Level 3 Watch (yellow):Routine travel may be restricted and people should use caution or avoid these areas.
Level 2 Warning (orange):Conditions are threatening to the safety of the public. Only essential travel is recommended.
Level 1 Declared Emergency (red): State of emergency declared, and travel may be restricted to emergency personnel only.

Statewide codes created for snow

System replaces county-specific emergency levels

Adams County will no longer have any code-black emergencies, and Level 3 emergencies in Allen County might become more common.

Nine months after a blizzard buried much of Indiana in snow, leaving residents confused by myriad emergency levels, the state announced a uniform emergency reporting system Friday.

Unlike Ohio, where state law details a uniform weather emergency system, Indiana previously allowed counties and cities to determine their own procedures. This led to a patchwork of systems across northeast Indiana with neighboring counties using vastly different methods and rules when declaring a snow emergency.

The hodgepodge of systems created a situation where one county has an emergency, the one next to it has something called Level 2 and a third with no emergency at all.

Adams County, for example, used a four-tiered, color-coded emergency system that ranged from green to black.

John Erickson, spokesman for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, said February’s blizzard prompted the state to begin examining a uniform system.

“There were obviously issues with communication and consistency,” he said. “It’s very important everybody is on the same page.”

The new statewide system offers four tiers ranging from a caution to a declared emergency. It might initially cause some confusion for Allen County residents, as the numbers are the opposite of the county’s old system.

Under the new state system, a Level 1 emergency is the most severe. It will be coded red and could limit travel to emergency personnel only.

The statewide map showing different counties and their emergency levels would be posted online to allow people to see potential danger before traveling.

Erickson said he didn’t know specifics why a Level 1 was worse than a Level 3, the opposite of how emergencies work in Ohio, but he said people in many levels of emergency response were involved in the decision.

He said all counties have been informed about the new reporting system and should begin using it immediately, even for this weekend’s pending snowstorm. The spokeswoman for the Allen County commissioners, however, hadn’t yet heard about the new system, although she said the commissioners could be aware.

Even with the new reporting system, local emergency declarations still rest with each county. The county emergency management director is in charge of determining which level of emergency is appropriate. The county commissioners then have the power to determine what types of restrictions are in place under each level of emergency.

Source: Indiana Department of Homeland Security