Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

January 27, 2014

Snow emergency to expire at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Elkhart County

GOSHEN — The snow emergency for Elkhart County will be lifted at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

“Based on what we know now, we are going to lift the emergency status at 10 a.m. tomorrow morning,” county Commissioner Mike Yoder said. “... What that means is we expect roads to drift shut again tonight.”

The 10 a.m. emergency expiration will allow road crews to open those drifted roads, according to Yoder, so people can get to work by mid-morning or so. County offices will re-open at noon.

He said it is up to each business to decide if they want workers to work second and third shifts today and tonight. Sheriff’s officers will not ticket drivers who are going to and from work, according to Yoder.

“The only thing is, can they get home in the morning,” Yoder said.

According to Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Capt. James Bradberry, “Elkhart County Highway crews will be working overnight and into the early morning hours to continue clearing roads and subdivisions. Motorists are cautioned that the roadways will be covered in snow and ice and drifting on north and south routes may occur. Those intending on traveling during the watch advisory should use caution, leave early, drive slow and be prepared for areas that are limited to one lane.”

After 10 a.m. Tuesday the county will be under a “watch travel advisory,” Bradberry said.  He said that under such a watch “... conditions are threatening to the safety of the public,” and only emergency travel is recommended.

The emergency

The commissioners declared a snow emergency at 7:30 a.m. Monday, and the timing of that declaration aggravated some county residents, according to Yoder.

He said he toured county roads at 9 p.m. Sunday and they were in good shape.

“But apparently sometime after 10 the snow and wind moved in,” Yoder said. “This morning it was just nuts and it created a lot of problems for everybody.”

He said county highway crews went out at 4 a.m. to begin clearing roads for the morning commuters and the plow drivers began running into large snowdrifts.

“We had a lot of cars stuck in drifts and stuck in roads and that just stalls our our entire cleaning process,” Yoder said. “Jeff Taylor (county highway superintendent) called me and said we have a big problem.”

Yoder said it took about an hour to then contact all the commissioners and other county personnel involved in the emergency declaration process and discuss what action to take.

He said once the emergency was declared, traffic thinned on roads within 20 minutes and plow drivers were able to get a lot of work done.

By late afternoon, Yoder estimated that about 85 percent of county roads were in good shape. The only ones closed were on the edges of the county and in open areas where there are few houses.

Yoder said surrounding counties may not lift their own emergency declarations for a while. He said St. Joseph County’s declaration is in effect until 6 p.m. Tuesday. That means workers who drive into Elkhart County from surrounding counties may still not be able to get to work Tuesday morning.

The emergency declaration was not well received by some local business owners and employees, Yoder admitted.

“I have heard from businesses and employees. Oh man. I would give this job away for a buck today,” he said.

He said the timing of today’s declaration seemed to be the big issue because by the time many residents heard about it they had already made it to work.

“I have also discovered today that many businesses are relying on the county to determine if they allow their employees to come in,” Yoder said.

He said school officials do not rely on the commissioners to make their decisions about closings and he said the commissioners will be contacting local Chambers of Commerce to see about better coordinating closings with businesses.

Text Only
Local News

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.

With military action and tensions escalating between Russia and Ukraine, as well as Israel and Palestine, are you worried that the U.S. and other nations may get drawn into these conflicts?

Yes, it is a great concern of mine
I’m a little worried, but not too much
No, I’m not worried at all
     View Results
AP Video
Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground