Disaster emergency issued for most of viewing area

By: NewsCenter16 Email
By: NewsCenter16 Email
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Much of NewsCenter16's viewing area is now under the highest level of local travel advisory. It advises that travel be restricted to emergency management workers only.

Click here for the latest information from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security to see if your county is under a warning, watch or advisory.

Lagrange County has a Travel Warning in effect and as of 5:30 pm, any person that law enforcement has contact with on the road will be ticketed. Violation of travel warning is $100.

Marshall County has also issued a Travel Advisory for all citizens. Violations can result in fines up to $500.

The Elkhart County Board of Commissioners declared a snow emergency for Elkhart County and has officially closed offices tomorrow.

Capt. James Bradberry of the Elkhart County Sheriff's department says people can be ticketed for non-emergency travel.

"The county has issued a state of emergency to keep people safe," Capt. Bradberry told NewsCenter16. "We can't tell employers to close thier businesses but we are urging them to take this emergency warning seriously."

Cities like South Bend, in conjunction with the St. Joseph County Emergency Management Agency, have issued a Disaster Emergency Declaration through Tuesday, January 7. The county and city have shifted the area’s travel advisory to a warning.

According to St. Joe County Sheriff Department Lt. Matt Blank, travel is restricted to emergency vehicles only.

"At this point, we are not stopping or ticketing vehicles," Lt. Blank told NewsCenter16 Sunday evening. "If it becomes a problem, we will re-evaluate but we should only be seeing emergency vehicles on the road at this time."

The St. Joseph County Emergency Management Agency also said in a statement that travel is restricted to emergency personnell only.

“Citizens are directed to refrain from all travel, comply with necessary emergency measures, cooperate with public officials and disaster service forces in executing emergency operations plans, and comply with the directions of properly identified officers,” the statement said.

South Bend has also issued an amnesty on snow shoveling, temporarily not enforcing an ordinance that residents must clear their sidewalks of snow within 24 hours of a snowfall.

Berrien County is urging folks to stay off the roads tonight, but have not issued an official snow or disaster warning at this time. They are currently monitoring the situation.

INDOT has released a similar warning to stay off the roads tonight and tomorrow.

“This is a dangerous situation we're not in the business of scaring anyone and no one should be scared of storm like this, but you should be planning ahead,” said INDOT Spokesman Matt Deitchley. “You should be well aware of what’s out there. If you absolutely have to be on these roads then you have to have all the information you can before you head out there.”

You can check INDOT's Twitter and Facebook feeds to stay updated on road conditions in Northwest Indiana.


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