Boone County — Boone County was declared to be in a disaster emergency at 2 p.m. Sunday as snow continued to fall and temperatures plummeted. That snow emergency has been extended until 10 p.m.Tuesday as travel on many county roads remains nearly impossible.
The disaster declaration by the commissioners put Boone County into "warning" travel status, restricting travel to emergency personnel only. Warning is the highest level of local travel advisory, means that travel is restricted to emergency management workers only.
Local officials are urging residents to stay inside and off the streets.
Lance Lantz, Zionsville superintendent of streets and stormwater, said his crew has cleared many of the roads, but the conditions are still very slick.
“It is bitterly cold, and the roadways are acting like it,” he said Monday. “We have access to pretty much everybody with a plow. Everybody has seen a plow a couple of times on their streets. The extreme cold temperatures will not allow salt to work effectively; so all we can do is plow.”
Lantz said if residents do decide to go out on the roads, they should be prepared to drive on snowy, slick roads.
“There’s a lot of wide spread drifting,” he said. “Many of the county roads are impassable. Most everything in Zionsville is at least passable, but people should expect a very slippery commute. We always urge people to heed the no travel advisory.”
Lantz said prior to the storm, the department had a lot of discussions with the police and fire departments about possible scenarios including opening an emergency operations center, power outages and lined up extra equipment and staffing through contractors. Lantz said they began plowing the streets as soon as snow began to fall around 7 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 5.
“We’ve been at it ever since,” he said. “We are trying to get the business districts opened up. We are continuing to go around and clean up as needed.”
The American Red Cross has set up a shelter at Traders Point Christian Church. There are also 12 National Guardsman on standby at the Lebanon Armory.
Boone County Emergency Management Director Mike Martin said plowing in the country will be discountinued due to blowing snow. "V" plows will be used in an emergency.
Residents are asked to stay off the roads, which are snow-covered and slick. The sheriff's department reports white out conditions on Indiana 32, which has been closed in Boone County.
All three county school systems are closed Tuesday. County and municipal offices were closed Monday. Gov. Mike Pence has also closed state offices Monday.
The Boone County Emergency Management Agency also advises residents to take the appropriate precautions for the extremely cold temperatures forecasted for this evening and tomorrow.
As much as a foot of snow fell Sunday, and the area remains under a winter storm warning until 1 a.m. Monday and a wind chill warning until 7 p.m. Tuesday with wind chills of 25 to 40 degrees below zero expected. Monday's high temperature is predicted at -12 degrees. With gusts up to 40 mph, drifting snow will also reduce visibility.