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County adopts state’s emergency weather alerts

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Bartholomew County and Columbus have adopted the same snow emergency category system as the state.

Before the recent snowstorms, the highest county level was a “snow emergency,” which meant only emergency travel was allowed.

However, the county and city have now adopted the three tiered-system used by the state:

  • Advisory — Routine travel or activities may be restricted.
  • Watch — Conditions are threatening and only essential travel is recommended.
  • Warning — Travel is restricted to emergency personnel only. The public is directed to refrain from all travel.

County Commissioner Larry Kleinhenz and Mayor Kristen Brown reviewed conditions Dec. 26 during the recent snowstorms at the Bartholomew County Emergency Operations Center when 6½ to 8 inches of snow fell in various parts of the county.

They met that day with Dennis Moats, Bartholomew

County’s emergency management director, and Ed Reuter, director of the Emergency Operations Center, to review the snow accumulations and to evaluate how the snowplows were doing.

Based on that information, that morning they decided to bump the county up from a snow advisory to a snow watch, Brown said.

Moving the county to a snow warning requires written approval from the mayor and County Board of Commissioners.

“What that effectively does is shut down every business in the county,” Brown said.

“That is for us to declare when the roads are impassable, and we never got to that point.”

Danny Hollander, the county engineer, said the county used about 2,000 tons of its salt and sand mixture and just shy of 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel last week.

One of the county snowplows slid off the roadway and had to be pulled out, but it was not seriously damaged and was soon back on the roads, he said.

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