Hoosiers prepare for blizzard conditions expected in central Ind. Wednesday

City offices, agencies close Wednesday

INDIANAPOLIS - Agencies all over central Indiana are preparing for a massive amount of snowfall that's expected on Wednesday.

The city of Indianapolis had 118 snowplow drivers scheduled to report for work at 11 p.m. Christmas night, and another 350 contracted plowing units on standby.

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Several cities and counties across the state have closed some or all of their offices Wednesday. Beech Grove, Fishers, Franklin, Greenwood, Hamilton County, Henry County, Lawrence, Noblesville, Shelbyville and Westfield all announced city- or county-wide closures for Wednesday.

In Indianapolis, Mayor Greg Ballard announced that all non-essential city workers would have the day off. Marion County courts will also be closed Wednesday.

Firefighters and police officers in Indianapolis will still be working Wednesday, and have taken steps to prepare.

"The fire department and police personnel are currently topping off gas tanks and getting all four-wheel vehicles put into the fleet for 24 hours service," said Public Safety Director Troy Riggs. "Fire and police leadership have been granted the authority to hold personnel for extra hours if needed."

The ice isn't melted from the last snowfall, as emergency room workers at Wishard Health Services get ready for the aftermath of the Wednesday's winter storm. 

"We are constantly staffed and prepared for any stuff like this," said Wishard Resident Physician Ben Petty. "We have to be ready for any unthinkable incident."

With the snow, ice and rain come slips, falls and fractures.

"We see a lot of cold-related injuries, a lot of frost bite and things along those lines," Petty said. "Occasionally we'll see some falls, some car accidents."

In an effort to avoid a trip the ER, some people around central Indiana spent Christmas stocking up on supplies.

"I got a shovel for the car, just in case it gets stuck and for the driveway and sidewalk," said shopper Joe Adams.

With a blizzard warning in effect for much of Wednesday, officials ask people to stay off the road and prepare for the possibility of power outages. 

“The thing I would worry about it transportation, being able to get out where you need to go," said parent Julie Minor. "That part stinks about it -- being stuck inside, but you can't do anything if it happens."

“In case you can’t cook, you want to be a step ahead of it, but most people sometimes don’t plan ahead or don’t have money to get extra stuff,” said shopper James Lawrence.

Emergency officials say even if the storm turns out to pack less of a bite than initially thought, getting prepared is still time well spent.

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