INDIANAPOLIS — Authorities provided a briefing Wednesday about the forecasted winter storm that could bring blizzard-like conditions to central Indiana.

A Winter storm Warning has been issued for all of central Indiana from Thursday afternoon until Friday night. Slick and hazardous travel is likely.

Ahead of the winter storm, Mayor Joe Hogsett is joining representatives from the National Weather Service, Department of Public Works, Indy Parks, Metropolitan Emergency Services Agency, Marion County Public Health Department, AES Indiana, and AFSCME. During the news conference, they talked about the upcoming severe weather and dangerously cold temperatures.

Road safety

During the height of the winter storm, temperatures could drop to -20 degrees Fahrenheit with wind chill.

“That kind of cold requires all residents to take precaution ahead of the holidays,” said Mayor Hogsett.

City and public health officials are encouraging people to stay indoors whenever possible. If people do plan to travel, they should plan ahead.

Rain is expected at the start of the weather event. This will prevent road crews from pre-treating the roads until mid-Thursday afternoon.

When crews can get out, 76 trucks with more than 100 team members will be out on the roads.

People should also take efforts to prevent their pipes from freezing. This includes removing any exterior pipes and emptying them. They should also keep a slop drip on faucets.

Officials also encourage people not to be the reason why first responders have to make a trip.

“Our city’s heroic first responders and emergency personnel will continue keeping our residents safe 24/7 throughout the weekend. But don’t be the reason they have to make a trip,” said Mayor Hogsett. “Stay safe and avoid all unnecessary travel.”

Due to the adverse weather, solid waste collection will not operate on Friday. Those who usually receive trash collection that day should expect double collection the following week.

“With it being exceptionally cold, we just guess that you look out for your neighbors, look out for one another,” said Brandon Hergett, director of the Department of Public Works. “Look out for our DPW drivers. They want to get home for the holidays just like everybody else this weekend.”

Home safety

Indy Parks will operate warming centers at three locations for people who lose heat to their homes. This includes Washington Park Family Center, Garfield Park Burrello Family Center, and Thatcher Park Family Center.

Washington Park Family Center will be open continuously from 8:00 p.m. Thursday, December 22 through 8:00 a.m. Sunday, December 25. Cots and other basic supplies will be available for those staying overnight.

Garfield Park Burrello Family Center and Thatcher Park Family Center will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Friday, December 23; and from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 24.

The city reminds people to never use ovens or stove tops to heat their home. If people use space heaters, they should follow manufacturer instructions and keep a three-foot perimeter away from combustibles such as clothing, furniture and curtains.

People should also avoid using candles to heat homes and never leave them unattended. Don’t burn things in your fireplace that aren’t intended to be burned indoors.

The city also reminds people that by ordinance, animals should be brought inside when temperatures are at or below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, or if a wind chill advisory has been issued. 

Homeless safety

The city has a contingency plan in place to ensure the safety of individuals experiencing homelessness during the winter months; these additional precautions will be active through March 31, 2023. The plan specifically accounts for alternative measures if current shelters reach capacity.

“Just to make it clear, 20 below 0 isn’t only cold, it’s extremely dangerous at these temperatures,” said Lauren Rodriguez, deputy mayor for Public Health and Safety. “Frostbite can occur in just minutes, but there are plenty of easy ways we can help each other avoid the worst.”

Single men in need of shelter should check in at the Wheeler Mission Shelter for Men at 520 E. Market St. If it is at capacity, the city says people will be directed to overflow locations.

Women and families can contact the Wheeler Mission Center for Women and Children at 317-687-3630.

Horizon House will stay open as a warming center for individuals experiencing homelessness between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Hours on Wednesdays are 7:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Horizon House is located at 1033 E. Washington Street. This option is available if the air temperature falls below 10 degrees or the wind chill temperature falls below zero

Outreach Inc. will be open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. as a warming center for those between the ages of 14 and 24 who are experiencing housing instability.

Outreach Inc. is located at 2416 E New York St. This option is available if the air temperature is at zero degrees or below.