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St. Joseph County sees frigid temperatures, high winds and travel warnings

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Accidents have been minimized, but road conditions remain dangerous

Update: December 24th 11:50 AM:

St. Joseph County is under a red travel warning as road conditions are made even more dangerous by an arctic blast that has plunged much of the country into frigid weather since Thursday afternoon. A winter storm that brought record-freezing temperatures prompted AEP/Indiana Michigan Power on Saturday to ask customers to reduce electricity use wherever possible without compromising safety. .

As part of the county’s red travel warning issued Friday night by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, individuals should:

● Refrain from all travel.

● Follow necessary emergency measures.

● Collaborate with civil servants and disaster service forces in the execution of contingency operational plans.When

● Follow the lawful direction of properly identified officers.

For more information, please visit https://www.in.gov/dhs/traveladvisory/.

AEP/Indiana Michigan Power recommends that customers reduce their power usage by:

• If your health permits, set your thermostat lower than normal.

• Postpone use of major appliances such as stoves, dishwashers and clothes dryers.

• Turn off unnecessary lights, fixtures and appliances.

This request is valid until Sunday, December 25th at 10am.

We will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

December 23rd:

Snowstorm conditions have hit Michiana in full force as snow, high winds and dangerously low temperatures from the lake’s influence are expected to continue through Friday, prompting closures and travel warnings from authorities.

Friday morning temperatures were below zero, with the National Weather Service showing wind chills in the -20 to -25 range. Wind gusts of up to 45 miles per hour have also been documented, blowing snow away and causing dangerous road conditions and poor visibility.

On Friday afternoon, the St. Joseph County Police Department announced the closure of several thoroughfares in Granger. Bittersweet Road between Anderson and Douglas, Cleveland Road between Capital and Bittersweet, and Douglas Road between Capital and Bittersweet. County police said a decision on reopening the road will be made in the morning after the worst winds have died down.

As of Friday morning, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security issued a St. Joseph County Travel Watch. It recommends only essential travel and encourages businesses to implement contingency plans. Authorities had already announced that County City buildings downtown had closed Friday. announced.

The South Shore Line has also canceled all trains from South Bend International Airport.

Indiana State Police Sergeant Ted Boehner said, “The roads are bad to bad depending on where exactly you are.

The Arctic system, dubbed Winter Storm Elliott, is affecting holiday travel across the country as freezing temperatures shift from Rocky Mountain states to the East Coast by the end of the weekend.

In South Bend, police responded to eight crashes between Thursday night and Friday noon, about the same number that would occur in normal weather. already cultivated.

Al Karshits, head of the St. Joseph County Emergency Management Agency, said emergency calls had been cut off, indicating that residents were largely heeding authorities’ advice to stay off public roads. said to show Police have yet to find a case of a car stranded in a skid crash, but the risk remains until Saturday, he said.

“People are listening to advice, but I’d like to repeat: It’s dangerous out there. We’re just trying to get through until Christmas,” Karshits said.

Thursday night’s snowfall varied, with the NWS reporting 3 to 4 inches for most of Michiana. Forecasters expect 6 to 10 inches of snowfall in most of the South Bend area by Saturday morning, with intermittent snow for residents north of US 6 through Saturday.

Local officials plan to clear major roads first, making it more dangerous to cross residential areas and minor roads, they said.

As of Friday morning, Indiana Michigan Power was reporting only a handful of customers without power.

“Thursday through Friday, things are going to get worse. If you don’t need to be somewhere else, stay home,” South Bend Public Works Director Eric Horvath said this week.

Temperatures are forecast to warm slightly on Saturday, with wind chills in the range of -10 to -20 degrees.

Email Marek Mazurek at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @marek_mazurek

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