County to drop travel restriction to advisory status

Friday, January 10, 2014

With most county roads now plowed and temperatures above freezing for much of Friday, Putnam County's travel restriction status will be dropped to advisory level at 6 p.m.

Emergency Management Director Tom Helmer informed the Banner Graphic of the change late Friday afternoon.

The lowest level of local travel advisory (Level 3) means that routine travel or activities may be restricted in areas because of a hazardous situation, and individuals should use caution or avoid those areas.

"The roads are in pretty good shape," Helmer said.

Helmer praised INDOT for the help it lent to the Putnam County Highway Department in clearing the roads. The county had requested assistance, and INDOT sent three trucks for the effort.

"The state came through for Putnam County," Helmer said of the efforts of various state agencies this week. "Between the State Police keeping the interstate clear, the National Guard coming in and then INDOT today, they came through big time."

Authorities are also advising that as the snow melts and rain moves into the area on Friday night and Saturday, motorists should continue to be aware of slick road conditions.

"Be careful because even though it's warmed up, there are still some slick spots," Helmer said.

While the warmup is being welcome by many people, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security is warning Hoosiers that higher temperatures coupled with rainfall will pose their own set of risks.

Between the melting and the new precipitation, areas of localized flooding can be expected.

So far, National Weather Service forecasts do not predict the significant flooding that some parts of the state experienced last month. However, some localized flooding, especially in low lying areas.

Residents can help prevent street flooding by making sure storm drains are not blocked by snow or debris.

Residents residing near bodies of water should take the following precautions:

* Be aware that water levels can change rapidly and flooding can begin with little or no warning.

* Monitor local weather and river forecasts and keep an eye on any waterways along roads near your residence.

* Consider evacuating in advance of flooding if you think rising water may cut off your access routes to and from home.

Motorists should also use caution:

* Never attempt to cross a flooded road, even if it seems shallow. Water can conceal dips, or worse, flood waters can damage roadways, washing away the entire road surface and a significant amount of ground.

* Do not drive around barricades at water crossings. They are there to protect the public. Disregarding warning signs and attempting to cross flooded roads endangers everyone in the vehicle as well as the first responders who may need to come to the aid of those that are stranded.

* Remember, just a few inches of moving water is enough to carry away most vehicles including SUVs and pick-up trucks.

* Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize high water danger.

For more flood safety tips, visit

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