Mayor warns against dangerously cold temperatures overnight

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Jan. 7, 2015)-- Mayor Greg Ballard said of all the weather challenges he faces as the leader of Indianapolis, sub-zero cold is most dangerous of all.

"We are facing some very dangerous cold temperatures beginning this evening and extending into at least Thursday of this week," said the mayor during a briefing at the Regional Operations Center. "24 hours straight of at minus 20 or below is what we're looking at."

Facing potential slush and plowed snow turning to glacier ice, DPW crews are working 12-hour shifts to plow and salt before the mercury plummets.

"That's why we have both our first shift and second shift working twelve hours overnight tonight through eleven am tomorrow to address the intersections and the slush," said DPW chief Andy Lutz.  "Also laying salt on the roads to help eliminate that refreeze so there'll be a lot of that clean up over the next 12-14 hours."

Ballard said the elderly and asthma sufferers are at risk in below freezing temperatures, as are the homeless and pets left outside.

The Mayor said children facing exposure in the cold are his greatest concern.

"I do not want to see children standing outside for any length of time," said Ballard.  "When they get outside to get on the school bus they should only be out there for a couple minutes at most if that. We do not want to see children out early on Wednesday morning or on Thursday morning waiting for a bus for any length of time."

Ballard compared this cold snap to those when he was growing up on the city's east side.

"That's the scenario that scares me the most. 'Lets go on out. it's okay.' We forget when we went outside and played it was five or ten or fifteen degrees. This is 30 to 40 degrees colder and I don't want parents out there saying it's okay to go out and play when it's minus 20 and below. They should not be doing that and that's what scares me the most."

Ballard almost reminded drivers to fill their tanks with gas and lay in some water and snacks and blankets before venturing out.

The city will face a yellow travel advisory meaning that events and traffic could be changed due to the cold weather. Trash collection will be postponed Wednesday. IMPD will step up its efforts to remove homeless persons from the streets.