HANCOCK COUNTY, Ind. — Wet, heavy snow is expected to blanket parts of central Indiana Wednesday morning, and crews have already begun to prepare.
”They’re working 12-hour shifts starting at 4 o’clock this afternoon,” said Tom Ecker with the Madison County Emergency Management Agency.
Ecker said crews will begin by salting the roads. There is some rain expected before the snow, but they’re hopeful the rain won’t wash away all of their hard work. Ecker said the ground being above freezing will be on their side.
”We also think it’s so wet, and the road temperature is right there at 33 degrees or so, a lot of that is going to melt, which will help us out,” Ecker said.
Ecker said this snow is expected to be heavy and wet, which will put strain on the plows.
”It’s going to be a heavy snow to push, which is harder on the equipment,” Ecker said. “Heavy, wet snow sticks in the trees until the limbs break. When the limbs break, it brings down power lines in the road or power outages, so we’re preparing for that, too.”
Ecker said snow plows can run into trouble on narrow county roads.
”It takes our guys a lot of extra work,” he said. “One, to put a path down the road, but then they have to make the intersections extra wide just for the busses.”
Ecker said schools likely will not be in session Wednesday, but they’ll be back eventually, and they want the roads to be safe.
Greg Duda with the Hancock County 911 Center is advising folks to stay home if you can Wednesday morning.
”The morning commute is probably going to be the toughest for everyone,” Duda said.
Snow plows will be out in Hancock County starting at 4 a.m. Crews are hoping to take care of the snow as it falls before a bulk of the morning rush starts.
If you do need to go out, Duda said leave 911 for emergencies.
”We will get some people asking about road conditions, and we are stuck inside of a building. We’re not able to tell you,” he said.
Duda said a big key is going to be the wind and drifting snow. If winds are high, you can sometimes lose sight of a county road.
”Where actually is the road?” he said. “Because if it is between two fields, you need to make sure you’re on the road. It could easily land you in a ditch.”
If you do slide off the road, be prepared to be there for awhile. Duda said preference is given to emergencies with injuries.
”Just like police, just like fire and EMS during snow events, tow trucks will be very busy,” he said. “So, you’re probably going to be waiting for quite awhile.”
Ecker said one thing to make sure you have in your emergency kit is a cellphone charger. He said they have had problems before finding people who slid off, called 911, but then their phone died before crews had an exact location.