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Winter storm aftermath: Motorists urged to be cautious


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Snow from Wednesday's blizzard collapsed part of the roof of Edmundson's RV in Edinburgh. No one was in the building at the time, said Edinburgh Police Chief David Mann. Photo submitted by Mann.
Snow from Wednesday's blizzard collapsed part of the roof of Edmundson's RV in Edinburgh. No one was in the building at the time, said Edinburgh Police Chief David Mann. Photo submitted by Mann.


• Travel advisory map.

4:25 p.m.: Most weather accidents not serious

 

Since 6 a.m. Wednesday through this afternoon, the Bartholomew County Sheriff's Department responded to nearly 40 accidents, mostly from slide-offs. Two involved minor injuries. Columbus Police Department, too, reported no major accidents.

"Traffic was extremely light. That was a huge plus," said Major Todd Noblitt, the sheriff's department's chief deputy.

4:15 p.m.: Edinburgh business roof collapses

The roof of an Edinburgh business partially collapsed during Wednesday's snow storm. Additionally, a four-inch water main and a gas line at Edmundson RV sales also ruptured.

No injuries were reported, as the building at 14501 N. U.S 31 was not occupied at the time of the collapse, said Edinburgh Police Chief David Mann.

Edinburgh and Camp Atterbury received a foot of snow Wednesday, giving it the highest snowfall totals in the Columbus area, according to the National Weather Service in Indianapolis.

4 p.m. Columbus' main streets cleared

All main streets in Columbus were cleared of Wednesday's 6-5-inch snowfall by mid-afternoon Thursday, and crews were working on side streets, said Bryan Burton, manager of Columbus City Garage.

He expected all of the city streets to be plowed by mid-day Friday. Once that is finished, Burton said workers can begin widening streets and corners and cleaning up areas where they had to pile snow to get it out of the way. 

Jeff Whittington, Bartholomew County's assistant highway superintendent, said the county's major roads and many secondary roads were clear and open by this afternoon. He said crews had made it into some subdivisions by late in the afternoon and expected to finish all of them Friday.

3:45 p.m.: Travel restrictions continue

A travel warning was still in effect this afternoon for Brown, Johnson, Shelby, Decatur and Jennings counties, according to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

Under a traffic watch, conditions are considered threatening to the safety of the public. Only essential travel is recommended, such as going to and from work or emergency situations.

Bartholomew County was under a travel advisory. Routine travel or activities may be restricted in areas. Citizens should use caution or avoid these areas.

9 a.m.: Road conditions improve

Road and street conditions in Columbus and Bartholomew County have improved considerably since Wednesday’s snowstorm.

There are no posted road closures or travel hazards, other than several remaining slick spots that road crews are now trying treat, according to Bartholomew County 911 dispatcher Belinda Quillen.

But she warned that most side roads and residential streets in Bartholomew County have still not been cleared. Quillen added street and highway workers are still focusing their efforts on main thoroughfares throughout the city and county.

Side and neighborhood roads in Columbus are still considered snow-covered, slick and hazardous, according to Columbus Police spokesman Lt. Matt Myers.

Nevertheless, Myers said city police only had two accidents of significant consequence during the day on Wednesday, and that all overnight accidents were minor in nature.

“But now is the time you really have to be careful,” said. “People are geared up when it snows. But as a few days go by, they think they are used to it. They are no longer diligent, and that’s a mistake.”

Myers credited the long hours put in by street and highway crews for the improved travel conditions.

8:30 a.m.: Travel warning exists

A travel warning is still in effect for Brown, Johnson and Decatur Counties, according to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. Travel in these counties may be restricted to emergency personnel only.

Residents are directed to refrain from all travel, comply with necessary emergency measures, cooperate with public officials and disaster services personnel in carrying out emergency operations plans, and comply with the directions of properly identified officers.

Bartholomew, Shelby and Jennings counties remain under a travel watch. Conditions are still considered threatening to the safety of the public. Only essential travel is recommended, such as going to and from work or emergency situations. Emergency action plans have been or should now be implemented by various organizations such as businesses and government agencies.

Jackson County is under a travel advisory. Routine travel or activities may be restricted in areas. Citizens should use caution or avoid these areas. Businesses may begin to implement their emergency action plans.

7 a.m. Take it easy out there

From the Indiana Department of Transportation: Indiana Department of Transportation crews worked through the night and will continue today cleaning interstates, U.S. highways and state routes.

Road conditions have improved since yesterday afternoon, but there is still work to do. The snow accumulation and strong winds left slush and areas of hard-pack snow on some roadways. Motorists are encouraged to remain cautious as plow crews continue clearing roadways.

Pavement temperatures are expected to rise above freezing for a short time today, which combined with the hard work from INDOT crews will greatly help road conditions to continue improving through the day.

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