By Valerie Werkmeister
The blizzard of 2012 came a day late to make it in time for a white Christmas, but it still made quite an impression once it did arrive. Posey County residents, as well as most of the tri-state area, woke up the day after Christmas to substantial snowfall. Many reported as much as nine and one-half to ten inches of snowfall. Areas in Evansville received just slightly less in the six to seven-inch range. On Friday evening, Mother Nature added another four to six inches over the area, just for good measure.
While the snow came at an ideal time for those enjoying Christmas break from school or time off from work, it still made travel difficult for those who had to get out. Police officers and other first responders were deluged with calls for help from people stranded in vehicles that had become stuck in the snow. Conditions were severe enough for Posey County to declare a state of emergency that remained in effect until Thursday, December 27, at noon. All county government offices were closed and citizens were encouraged to only travel if absolutely necessary.
To make matters worse, Poseyville residents lost power around 2 p.m. Wednesday afternoon. It was the second time this month residents endured a power outage in cold weather. The first outage was caused due to an accident at the substation north of town and lasted more than 12 hours. Duke Energy reported 1,344 customers were without power for more than four hours Wednesday. Fortunately, the power was restored around 6 p.m.that evening. Vectren only reported 58 customers without power Wednesday.
When customers experience a power outage, they are encouraged to report it to their electric utility company directly. It is often difficult for utility companies to restore power quickly during snowstorms of this size and magnitude.
A few other common sense tips that will help in preparing for emergency situations is to stock a minimum of three days food and water for each member of the household, including pets. Ensure that an ample supply of prescription medicine is also on hand. A battery operated weather radio, hand-crank flashlights, extra batteries and additional warm blankets are also beneficial.
If travel is absolutely necessary during a state of emergency, citizens should consult the Indiana Travel Advisory Map at getprepared.in.gov. As the storm moves out of the state, many roads and interstate exit and on ramps, are still slick and hazardous. Hoosiers should plan accordingly and allow extra time for travel to their destination. In addition, drivers should allow additional space between vehicles on roadways. Following too closely behind a vehicle that begins to slide may put your own vehicle in danger of an accident.
Drivers should also carry additional blankets and warm clothes, boots, extra water, a small shovel, and any other item that could be helpful if you do become stranded in your vehicle in the snow.
The ten Indiana National Guard Highway Assistance Teams (HAT) that were deployed Wednesday morning were recalled as of that evening. Each HAT consisted of four personnel and two humvees. Teams were deployed around the state, two each in Evansville, Vincennes, Terre Haute, and Indianapolis, with one team in Muncie and one team in Richmond, to assist in rescuing stranded motorists and taking them to shelters. The National Guard also had two command and control units deployed to assist Indiana Department of Homeland Security efforts around the state. In total, over 100 Indiana National Guard Personnel responded to the storm.