Ballard, Pence provide update on weather response, conditions

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INDIANAPOLIS (Jan. 6, 2014) – State and local officials gave updates Monday on the response to the winter storm.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard moved Marion County’s travel advisory from “red” to “orange” at noon. He emphasized that no one should go out unless absolutely necessary. Department of Public Works crews and city contractors are still working to get streets and neighborhoods cleared. Ballard estimated that 60-65 percent of neighborhoods had been plowed and said there was still a lot of work to be done. Main roads are clear but ice remains a major issue.

He asked businesses and schools to shut down Tuesday and told businesses to “reconsider” forcing employees to come to work. Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Lewis Ferebee said IPS would close on Tuesday.

“We’ve had a lot of calls today, ‘My boss says I have to come to work.’ We’ve asked them not to come into work, officially,” Ballard said. “We don’t want them to be outside in the cold, and we have a dangerous situation.

“The sun’s out and it looks nice, but it’s still minus 40. Deadly temperatures. Deadly temperatures.”

Ballard told residents to call the Mayor’s Action Center at (317) 327-4MAC if they need shelter or help. 211 operations were down for several hours, but are now back up. IPL customers can call 261-8111 to see if their power is back on. He said there was quite a bit of shelter space available for people who were without power.

The Marion County Sheriff’s 911 Center asked residents to call 327-3811 if they’re in need of a ride to a shelter. Dispatchers asked that people refrain from calling 911 unless it’s an emergency.

From 8 a.m. Sunday to 8 a.m. Monday, there were 925 fire or EMS runs, a number that is usually around 500 runs over the same period. There were 93 calls related to downed power lines, the mayor said. Animal Care and Control is operational, and animals can be brought there.

pence2Gov. Mike Pence and other state officials held their own news conference late Monday morning to update Hoosiers on efforts statewide.

“If you can stay in today, stay in all day today,” he urged.

Pence asked for patience and said he was pleased with the state’s response, adding that “we’re not there yet” when it comes to getting a grip on the storm. He referred to Indiana’s first responders as “heroes.”

Pence told reporters he was declaring a state of emergency in 29 counties via an executive order.

The counties are:

  • Clinton
  • Delaware
  • Elkhart
  • Fulton
  • Grant
  • Howard
  • Jasper
  • Kosciusko
  • LaGrange
  • Lake
  • LaPorte
  • Madison
  • Marshall
  • Montgomery
  • Newton
  • Noble
  • Porter
  • Pulaski
  • Rush
  • St. Joseph
  • Starke
  • Steuben
  • Sullivan
  • Tipton
  • Vermillion
  • Vigo
  • Wabash
  • White
  • Whitley

Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter said there have been thousands of calls for service since the storm came through. He also said some drivers were going around barriers meant to keep people off of roads that have been closed by drifting snow. About 250 National Guard members are helping with the emergency response across the state.

Pence said a decision would be made later Monday to determine whether government offices would open Tuesday. The House and Senate offices were closed Monday because of the weather.