Weather forecasters have predicted all week that central Indiana would be hit with severe weather and this time they got it right.
As of 4:30 a.m. Sunday there was no snow, by 6 a.m. it had began to fall and by 9 a.m. it had become dangerous. As of noon Sunday, the National Weather Service had recorded 5 inches of snow in the Indianapolis area and slightly further West — in Jamestown — snow had already measured at 11 inches. When the snow finally stopped, most of the state was covered with at least a foot of snow.
Indianapolis Power and Light and Duke Energy reported tens of thousands of power outages as a result of a heavy, wet snow.
Duke Energy spokesperson Angeline Protégé said that heavy snow is causing branches and trees to fall onto power lines. She added the shear weight of the snow has caused some lines to sag and snap.
Officials say it may be Thursday before some IPL customers have power restored.
People throughout central and northern Indiana have been asked to remain off the road to make way for emergency and snow removal vehicles.
Travel conditions have been described by experts to be “life threatening.”
Governor Mike Pence directed the Indiana National Guard to stage “highway assistance teams.”
24 teams, consisting of 96 guardsmen, were deployed across the state to assist in life saving and rescue operations.
The teams rescued stranded motorists, moved people to shelters and assisted EMS crews.
The City of Indianapolis, along with the state, opened emergency shelters in park buildings, the fairgrounds and other areas.
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard asked that all schools remain closed on Monday and Tuesday and asked businesses to do the same on Monday.
Throughout the duration of these storms, Ballard said IMPD officers would be responding to only emergency calls. He said they would not respond to accidents or slide offs unless there are fatalities or serious injuries.
While the snow is making travel nearly impossible and interfering with power, the threat now is temperatures plummeting to dangerously low levels.
“This storm is a killer,” Ballard said. “In ten minutes you could be dead without the proper clothing.”
Ballard lifted the “red warning” to an “orange watch” at noon Monday, but asked that people still refrain from driving except in emergency situations.
He said main roads had mostly been plowed but many secondary and side streets had not.
Debbie Calder, a spokesperson for the Indiana Department of Transportation, said portions of I-65, I-70, U.S. 41, State Road 39, and S.R. 75 were intermittently closed, along with numerous smaller roads.
“This is a dangerous situation and all are advised to stay home until roadways can be safely cleared,” Calder said.
Weather experts say it should warm up slightly by Tuesday and quite a bit by Wednesday and Thursday, although more snow is predicated later in the week.