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UPDATE: Pence considers emergency in 29 counties

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence plans to sign an executive order declaring a state emergency in 29 counties – a number that’s could increase – because of snow and cold temperatures.

However, the governor said state government operations will resume at 10 a.m. Tuesday. The General Assembly plans to return at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Senate committees originally scheduled for earlier that day are postponed and will take place after the Senate adjourns Tuesday or in the coming days. Lawmakers who are not able to make it to Indianapolis will be excused from the session, said House Republican spokeswoman Tory Flynn.

The session is scheduled to last through mid-March. In that time, lawmakers are expected to consider business tax cuts, a state-funded preschool and state school curriculum standards.

Pence said the emergency declaration “lays a foundation for us to seek federal assistance and a federal emergency declaration.”

He said it’s not clear yet whether Indiana would qualify for federal help but he said snow totals are approaching record levels in some communities.

“It continues to be a dangerous winter storm, despite the sunshine,” Pence said. “We are talking about the kind of temperatures and travel conditions that represent real peril to Hoosiers who venture out in the next 24 to 36 hours.”

Northern and central Indiana have been hit hardest by the storms – which brought as much as 14 inches of snow – and Pence said he was moving highway and other personnel from southern Indiana to the Fort Wayne and LaPorte areas to help.

The counties  on the list: 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, and Whitley.

Meanwhile, 250 members of the Indiana National Guard are now on active duty and spread throughout the state to assist motorists and local law enforcement. State Adjutant General Martin Umbarger said the soldiers have used their Humvees to help local emergency officials power through snow-covered roads to get to people that need help. They’ve also taken individuals who need medical assistance to area hospitals.

State officials said at least one death – the victim of a car accident in Henry County – has been attributed to the storm.

Pence said the 29 counties included in the emergency declaration are those that had declared local emergencies. But the governor said he’s ordered Indiana Department of Homeland Security officials to evaluate conditions in additional communities to determine whether they should be added to the declaration, which he plans to sign later today.

“There is a broad range of concerns” in the counties, he said. They include power outages, drifting snow, impassable roads and other issues.

Interstate 65 remains closed from Lafayette north to Gary and a section of I-80/I-94 is also closed, as are a number of state and local roads.

Pence closed state government on Monday out of what he called an “abundance of concern” for state employees and as a way to keep tens of thousands of people off the roads while crews were working to clear snow.

Leaders in the legislative and judicial branches also closed their offices and canceled operations on Monday.

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  1. John, unfortunately CTRWD wants to put the tank(s) right next to a nature preserve and at the southern entrance to Carmel off of Keystone. Not exactly the kind of message you want to send to residents and visitors (come see our tanks as you enter our city and we build stuff in nature preserves...

  2. 85 feet for an ambitious project? I could shoot ej*culate farther than that.

  3. I tried, can't take it anymore. Untill Katz is replaced I can't listen anymore.

  4. Perhaps, but they've had a very active program to reduce rainwater/sump pump inflows for a number of years. But you are correct that controlling these peak flows will require spending more money - surge tanks, lines or removing storm water inflow at the source.

  5. All sewage goes to the Carmel treatment plant on the White River at 96th St. Rainfall should not affect sewage flows, but somehow it does - and the increased rate is more than the plant can handle a few times each year. One big source is typically homeowners who have their sump pumps connect into the sanitary sewer line rather than to the storm sewer line or yard. So we (Carmel and Clay Twp) need someway to hold the excess flow for a few days until the plant can process this material. Carmel wants the surge tank located at the treatment plant but than means an expensive underground line has to be installed through residential areas while CTRWD wants the surge tank located further 'upstream' from the treatment plant which costs less. Either solution works from an environmental control perspective. The less expensive solution means some people would likely have an unsightly tank near them. Carmel wants the more expensive solution - surprise!

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