No matter what your source of weather information, the potential for a major winter storm exists.
National Weather Service officials have issued a winter storm watch from tonight through Wednesday night. During that period, the area could be blanketed with heavy snow, maybe some sleet or freezing rain and pummeled by gusty winds.
While the storm’s track could shift and miss the area or dump far less snow than expected, the key is preparation, Sheriff Mark Hodges said.
Hodges recommended if residents absolutely have to go out in a winter storm they carry an extra blanket with them, a cell phone, a little food and some water and, if room, a shovel. A snowbrush or ice scraper, along with making sure a vehicle has a full supply of undiluted windshield washer fluid, and keeping the gas tank filled were additional tips.
Should a driver wind up in a snowbank or ditch, Hodges said to call the sheriff’s department. He also recommended making sure the exhaust pipe was clear of snow, or cracking a window to prevent carbon monoxide from getting back into the car.
The best advice, Hodges said, is “if travel is not a necessity, play it safe and stay in.”
In the event of snow emergencies, Whitley County operates under a level system, which is shown at far right.
Hodges, Emergency Management Director Cathy Broxon Ball and a representative from the county commissioners determine what emergency level is appropriate for the existing conditions.
Residents were also preparing to stay out of the elements by picking up needed groceries, prescriptions and filling vehicles up with gasoline.
Paula Schaffer, manager of the local Kroger store, said her store was much busier than usual for a Monday.
“They’re pouring in,” Schaffer said, adding that mostly people were buying the staples of bread, eggs, milk and canned vegetables.
Dee Ellenberger, manager of the Marathon station on Connexion Way, said her Monday was much busier than usual with people filling up vehicles.
“(The storm is) all everybody’s talking about when they come in,” she said.