Hoosiers Urged To Stay Off Roads

Road Conditions Expected To Worsen As Winds Pick Up

Hoosiers were urged to stay off the roads except in of cases of emergency as a winter storm expected to lash parts of Indiana with up to 2 feet of snow or more than an inch of ice bore down Tuesday night.

Nearly a dozen central Indiana counties, including Marion, Hamilton, Johnson, Hendricks and Morgan, were under a traffic watch, limiting travel to emergencies and to and from work. Shelby and Clinton counties, along with some others along the state's eastern border, were under traffic warnings, restricting travel to emergency personnel only.

Check: Traffic Map | Traffic Cams Watch: | County Travel Status Map

Six counties -- Boone, Fayette, Jasper, LaPorte, Newton and Porter -- declared a state of emergency due to the storm.

"Accumulating amounts of ice and snow, coupled with high winds will be creating extremely hazardous travel conditions across most of central and northern Indiana," said Indiana Department of Homeland Security Executive Director Joe Wainscott. "The best advice right now is to stay inside unless you have a true emergency. If it is absolutely essential that you leave home, it's vitally important that you take every precaution to ensure your safety on the road."

In Indianapolis, Mayor Greg Ballard issued a travel advisory, asking motorists to only travel to and from work and in emergency situations.

All nonessential city workers were set sent home at noon, while nonessential state workers were released at 3 p.m.

State police asked drivers to stay home.

"I know they are making monumental efforts to keep the roads clear, but there's only so much man can do to combat Mother Nature. And, ultimately, Mother Nature will always win," said 1st Sgt. Dave Bursten.

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security is coordinating storm response for the state, with help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers.

"We took the steps last evening and this morning to pre-position about 850 of our Indiana National Guard soldiers in a variety of places around the state," Wainscott said. "Their primary mission will be what we call highway assistance teams, and their job is to help coordinate with the Indiana State Police and the Indiana Department of Transportation to help with problems out on our highways and certain emergency transportation needs."

The American Red Cross has set up several warming centers along Indiana highways so motorists can stop, rest and get warm, if needed. Twenty-six shelters are on standby ready for action, if needed.

The Indianapolis Department of Public Works and Indiana Department of Transportation have dozens of crews working the roads in central Indiana, but they will have their work cut out for them later in the day.

INDOT said it planned to move crews from the far southern part of the state to central and northern Indiana to battle an anticipated onslaught of freezing rain and heavy snow.

Indianapolis International Airport said many airlines had canceled flights to and from the city ahead of the second blast from the winter storm and that one runway is operating without issues.

Stay with Storm Team 6 and TheIndyChannel.com for the latest winter storm information.