State braces for second wave of ice, snow

Keywords Public Safety / Travel

Indiana residents are facing an icy trek to work as the second wave of a winter storm that brought freezing rain, snow and sleet overnight approaches the state.

Roads across central Indiana are glazed with a thick coating of ice, and more is expected to arrive by early Tuesday afternoon.

The National Weather Service is forecasting that up to one inch of ice will fall through Wednesday along the Interstate 70 corridor, while up to a foot of snow is expected north of a line running from about Crawfordsville to Elwood.

On Monday, Hoosiers stocked up on emergency generators, groceries and other provisions. Gov. Mitch Daniels and other state leaders said Indiana State Police, highway crews and other agencies were prepared for the storm.

The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for five northwestern Indiana counties — Lake, Porter, Newton, Jasper and Benton, including the cities of Gary, Valparaiso and Rensselaer — for a 24-hour period beginning at 3 p.m. CST Tuesday. Forecasters said up to 18 inches of snow could fall there.

A winter storm warning covered most of the rest of Indiana. Freezing rain began falling during the Monday evening rush hour in Indianapolis while snow began to dust areas farther north.

Indianapolis International Airport said some flights that were due to arrive Monday night were canceled, as were some early departures Tuesday.

Co-owner Jack Runyon of Runyon Equipment Rental in Carmel said he had run out of small emergency generators snapped up by a crush of customers bracing for the prospect of ice-related power outages.

"I've never seen a prediction of what have you — rain, snow, ice, whatever — where people reacted so quickly to it," Runyon said.

Kyle Decker of DailyMed pharmaceutical services carted a 25-kilowatt generator away from in case it was needed to operate packaging machines and computer programs.

"If the power goes out, that's a pretty big issue for us because we have to stick pretty close to a production line schedule just to make sure the patients get their medication in good time," Decker said.

Forecasters predicted an inch or more of ice would glaze the state's midsection. Rain was forecast for southern Indiana.

Power companies assured state utility regulators they had extra repair crews on standby to respond to downed lines and outages, Daniels and Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman said.

Gasoline was sold out at several Muncie service stations, The Star Press reported.

IUPUI, DePauw University, Butler University and Purdue University were among the schools to cancel Tuesday classes.

The storm also led to cancellation of a planned funeral procession Tuesday for Indianapolis police Officer David Moore, who was fatally shot during a traffic stop Jan. 23. Funeral services still are planned for 10 a.m. at Conseco Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis.

In South Bend, where nearly 75 inches of snow already has fallen this winter, people were resigned to digging out again.

"My back is still recovering from shoveling out from the last one," said retiree Mel Goralski.

Daniels, Skillman and Indiana Homeland Security Director Joe Wainscott told reporters the Indiana National Guard was on alert to help with rescues and debris removal.

They said backup generators were available to power part of the Statehouse and an Emergency Operations Center nearby if electricity service is lost.

Some state police post commanders canceled days off to have more troopers working Tuesday and Wednesday.

State highway department districts in northern and central Indiana planned to have trucks constantly on the road, with front-end loaders in typical high-drift areas in northern Indiana.

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