Elkhart County Commissioners have now officially declared a state of emergency for Elkhart County following Tuesday night’s blizzard-like conditions.
If a county has been declared in a "state of emergency," that means the county board of commissioners has determined that conditions are so bad that they can no longer be assured of providing emergency services to the public in a timely fashion.
Also, Goshen Mayor Allan Kauffman has declared a general state of emergency for the city. Local police are asking motorists to stay off the roads if at all possible.
According to the county declaration, significant snow accumulation and excessive high winds resulting in the blowing and drifting of snow on roadways countywide warranted the call, which could be in effect for the next seven days unless terminated by the president of the Board of Commissioners.
Emergency response times may be significantly delayed due to travel conditions. A county emergency declaration initiates county emergency plans, and allows additional resources to be provided by the state to assist local response efforts.
Under the declaration, all Elkhart County offices, with the exception of essential 24 hour offices, will remain closed until the declaration has been terminated.
Currently, 16 additional counties have also made emergency declarations, including: Boone, Dekalb, Fayette, Jasper, LaGrange, LaPorte, Marshal, Newton, Noble, Porter, Pulaski, Starke, Tipton, Wells, White and Whitley.
According to the National Weather Service, Goshen Municipal Airport reported a top sustained wind of 32 mph shortly before 10 p.m. Tuesday, with wind gusts at that time reported at 47 mph.
From about 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., winds were consistently blowing between 20 and 32 mph.
Winds Wednesday morning were between 10 and 12 mph.
Local weather observers reported that 5.2 inches of snow fell in the Goshen area overnight. That included some sleet, resulting in a heavy, wet snow.