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COLUMBIA CITY â The snow storm this week put everyone in Whitley County and across much of the country on high-alert.
There were some who couldnât take shelter at home and wait out the blizzard in pajamas with a cup of hot cocoa.
âThere were so many stranded motorists,â said Cathy Broxon-Ball of the Whitley County Emergency Management/Department of Homeland Security.
âI guess everybody figures that police and emergency vehicles can just get to them in a matter of minutes, but we had so many responders that were getting stuck that, well, thatâs why we have these levels.â
The agency worked with the Whitley County Board of Commissioners in issuing snow emergencies this week as the area prepared for this winterâs biggest snow storm.
The Level 1 emergency was upgraded to a Level 2 this morning.
Broxon-Ball has been at work since 7 a.m. Monday.
âItâs not just me here,â she said. âMy deputy has been in and out and weâve had volunteer radio people here and most have spent the night.â
At the Whitley County Sheriffâs office, Sheriff Mark Hodges spent the night at his office Tuesday, finally making it home by Wednesday evening.
âEverything last night remained pretty calm,â he said, âbut Tuesday night was pretty hectic with two of our officers getting stuck.â
Hodges said one was stuck in a snowdrift on his way to rescue three people stranded in a car in the south part of the county.
âThe other got stuck trying to take an employee home who had crashed with their sugar levels,â he said.
Hodges said the effects of the storm could have been worse and touted the efforts of county agencies for getting the word out before the first snowflake fell.
âI would have to hope that all the emergency agencies being ready for it and the commissioners issuing the snow emergency levels, that all in all, it wasnât too bad,â he said.
Broxon-Ball said this morning there were some who could have made the situation easier by abiding by the snow emergency declarations
âWe donât just do it because,â she said.
And some motorists, Broxon-Ball said, were flirting with disaster in the winter weather and when things went bad, resorted to dishonesty in order to secure a rescue.
âWe got a call that a couple of girls were stranded in their car with a baby and their gas was running low,â she said.
âWhen we got there, it was just a couple of teenagers. I guess they figured if they said there was a baby, weâd hurry up and get there.â
Broxon-Ball said her office expects the Level 2 to remain for the rest of Thursday.
âWeâre going to keep this at Level Two throughout today,â she said. âWe always evaluate between 5 and 7 a.m. and between noon and 4 p.m. Today we changed the level at 8 a.m. because we wanted to make sure people had to light to see where they were driving.â