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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

County braces for 2nd round of storm

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

GREENCASTLE -- The first wave of the current winter storm coated Putnam County in ice overnight Monday, with uncertainty remaining over was the second wave would bring.

As of 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, the county is under a level three travel advisory. A level three watch is when routine travel or activities may be restricted in an area because of a hazardous situation. The public should use caution or avoid these areas. Schools and businesses may implement their emergency action plans.

"I would like to see businesses and industry enact their emergency plans," county emergency management director Kim Hyten said.

All primary, secondary and postsecondary schools in the county were closed Tuesday.

Although the travel advisory does not apply to state highways or municipalities, Greencastle Mayor Sue Murray said Monday she would advise city residents to abide by whatever advisories the county commissioners enact.

"I think it makes sense to follow what the county is doing," she said.

Thus far, traffic incidents have been minimal from the weather. County 911 director Dave Costin said there were two jackknifed semis on I-70 overnight. However, there had only been a few slideoffs and on collisions.

"We've had nothing since 6 a.m. this morning," Costin said.

The most pressing issue facing residents is the loss of power due to ice on the lines. Costin reported "sporadic" outages throughout the county Tuesday morning.

Shortly before noon Tuesday, Duke Energy reported 453 outages in Putnam County. In a number of areas, power had been out overnight, but was restored Tuesday morning.

Duke Energy area manager Steve Bahr said the hardest hit areas Monday night were Terre Haute, Brazil and Greencastle.

"So we've deployed crews from our other districts within Indiana to those locations to get the power restored as quickly and safely as possible," Bahr said. "In anticipation of this second wave, we have additional resources coming into our service territory. We have crews coming from the Carolinas to Indiana.

"We will deploy them once they get here and we see where the need is."

Bahr said it remains to be seen where the crews from out of state will need to go.

"We're closely monitoring the weather that's supposed to come later (Tuesday) afternoon," he said. "We already have crews in Greencastle from other Duke Energy districts. We have contractors and we are also having crews from the Carolinas."

Duke also requested that all customers follow certain safety guidelines during these weather conditions.

The entrance to Robe-Ann Park in Greencastle was ice-covered Tuesday morning. As of 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Putnam County was under a level three travel advisory.
* We encourage customers to prepare for severe winter storms by checking their supply of flashlights, batteries, bottled water, non-perishable foods, medicines, etc. Also, ensure a portable, battery operated radio, TV or NOAA radio is on hand.

* Families who have special medical needs or elderly members should closely monitor weather forecasts and make plans for potential alternate arrangements should an extended outage occur.

* Stay away from power lines that have fallen or are sagging. Consider all lines energized as well as trees or limbs in contact with lines. Please report downed power lines to Duke Energy at 800-343-3525.

* If a power line falls across a car that you're in, stay in the car. If you must get out of the car due to a fire or other immediate life-threatening situation, do your best to jump clear of the car and land on both feet. Be sure that no part of your body is touching the car when your feet touch the ground.

Customers of other power providers may report outages at the following numbers:

* Hendricks Power Cooperative (800) 876-5473

* Parke County REMC 800-537-3913

* Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC (800) 489-7362

* South Central Indiana REMC (800) 264-7362

While no evacuations have been ordered at this time, Hyten said families should use their discretion in assessing when to take shelter elsewhere and how to secure their homes.

"Everybody should put their home action plans in place. We don't know what the second round is going to be," Hyten said.

Citizens should keep in mind that some of the outages could be lengthy, especially in sparsely populated areas. Power companies will focus first on higher population areas and emergency buildings.

The Putnam County Courthouse closed at noon Tuesday. Hyten said the commissioners were initially trying to act in accordance with the actions of neighboring counties. Seeing the conditions and what was likely coming, they decided to act.

"At this point in time, the commissioners feel we should be proactive," Hyten said.

Greencastle City Hall also closed at noon.

In addressing ice on the roadways, the Putnam County Highway Department spent Tuesday morning addressing main routes. From there, Hyten said they would assess where things stood and how much product needed to be conserved for the second wave of the storm.

While police, fire and emergency personnel are needed to respond to the storm, they are reminded to make sure their families are taken care of so their minds can be fully on their work.

"Take care of your house and your family," Hyten said. "Make sure you have that taken care of because this is going to be a long one. This isn't going to take three or four hours."

As of late Tuesday morning Emergency Operations Center was operating at level 4, meaning it is not technically active, but responders were prepared.

Costin said they were prepared to upgrade to a level three as early as Tuesday afternoon. Level three is a partial activation, with at least one individual manning the center 24 hours. The workers would monitor weather conditions, power outages and road closures.

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Have to give INDOT credit for working hard and getting out there on the highway late last night and this morning! US40 is not bad, but thankful I can be home from work to be with my family!

-- Posted by justducky on Tue, Feb 1, 2011, at 12:19 PM

Today's pictures in the Banner Graphic of the present ice storm bring back memories of a similar storm in the late '70s when lengthy power outages and persistenty glazed gravel roads made it seem as if Putnam County was on the very frontier of the middle-west!

-- Posted by first affirmative on Tue, Feb 1, 2011, at 2:45 PM

Much respect to Depauw for having their workers stay home and safe. I can't say that for the factories...corporate greed over the safety of their workers. Be safe everyone!

-- Posted by sad_but_true on Tue, Feb 1, 2011, at 2:53 PM

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