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Prep for Indiana winter storm

Indiana officials issued the following statement Thursday:

INDIANAPOLIS – With National Weather Service winter weather advisories in various parts of the state beginning later today through Friday morning, state officials are advising Hoosiers to evaluate whether they need to travel, or, if they need to travel, to leave more time.

Leaving extra time and having a mindset of courtesy and defensive driving will help make roadways safer for everyone.

State of Indiana agencies, including the Indiana State Police, Indiana Department of Transportation, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security have been monitoring impending weather and are increasing staffing levels as needed.

DO NOT call city, county or state police to check on road conditions – police agencies across the state want to keep phone lines open for emergency phone calls. Dial toll-free 1-800-261-ROAD (7623) for updated Indiana travel information, including road conditions, road closures, crashes and other traffic alerts.

Get a kit for your car with basic items (see the list below). Charge cell phones and other items in case power is interrupted. Evaluate whether driving is necessary, taking your time if you decide to drive, and gather items for home in case they’re needed.

Weather predictions indicate about an inch of snow and sleet accumulation is possible along the Interstate 70 corridor, with 2-inch amounts possible north of that area. Accumulation will be less to the south, where more rain will fall.

Travel Advisories

Go to Getprepared.in.gov and click on "Indiana Travel Advisory Map" at the top of the page. The map is updated with information from counties and describes the conditions for a travel warning, watch, advisory and caution. The page also has links to the Indiana Department of Transportation’s Traffic Wise information (http://www.trafficwise.in.gov).

Winter Driving Safety

ISP and INDOT advise those considering going out onto the roads to check the weather forecast and traffic information before leaving, and allow extra time if you decide driving is necessary. If you must drive during any period of the storm, make sure you have a fully charged and functioning cell phone. IDHS also recommends carrying blankets, extra water, a small shovel and other items which may be helpful if you find yourself in trouble on the road.

If you become stranded:

• Make sure you have at least a quarter tank of gas in your vehicle before you leave. This will help prevent the fuel line from freezing.

• Do not leave your vehicle. It will provide you with the best protection, unless there is a building immediately nearby.

• Keep the overhead light on when the engine is running so you can be seen (remember to keep the windows cracked).

• Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna for rescuers to see.

• Run the engine for 10 minutes every hour to stay warm. Remember, an idling car uses only one gallon of gas per hour.

• Keep the exhaust pipe free of blockage to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

• If involved in a crash and no one is injured and the involved vehicles are still drivable, move to a safe area to exchange names, vehicle and license plate information, along with driver license number and insurance agent name and phone number with the other driver

• During severe weather conditions law enforcement will be busy responding to emergency calls and will not be able to take reports of crashes where there is only damage to property

• Vehicles left abandoned along interstate and state road right-of-ways are subject to immediate removal during inclement weather events

Power Outages

With weather systems like this it’s not uncommon to see widespread power outages. While utility companies will be working to quickly repair any outages, storms of this size and magnitude often make it very difficult to restore power immediately. If you do lose power, it is recommended that you call utility company’s outage reporting line so that they can track where loss has occurred.

Essential supplies to gather ahead of time in case utilities are disrupted:

• Food and water for three days (includes three (3) gallons of water per person, per day)

• Battery operated or hand crank, all hazards radio

• Flashlight

• 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)

If you can’t stay in your home due to cold temperatures, call your local authorities to find the location of a shelter. Charge cell phones, laptops and other devices now so that if power goes out, you will have a maximum charge on electronic devices.

For more information on winter travel safety, visit Getprepared.in.gov.

Send items for The Scoop to jgnews@jg.net.

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