Storm paralyzes county

    A major winter storm brought Adams County and most of Indiana to its knees, dumping more than 9 inches of snow on the region throughout the day Sunday. High winds and temperatures which fell to near-record lows kept most residents at home Monday.
    The Adams County Sheriff’s Department issued a Level Red travel advisory Sunday afternoon, limiting travel to emergency responders and law enforcement officers only.
    All city and county offices were closed Monday, and area schools — which had been scheduled to resume classes after the Christmas holiday break — also were closed. Many local businesses and industries were also closed Monday.
    The snowfall ended late Sunday evening, but howling winds and plummeting temperatures had most area roadways closed until Monday morning.
    By late Sunday afternoon, milk and other food staples were in short supply, if not impossible to find in Decatur, according to some accounts.
    Indiana Michgan Power’s website Monday morning noted that 111 customers in Adams County were without electrical service. Nearly 250 outages were reported in Wells County.
    No official weather statistics were available Monday from the Decatur wastewater treatment plant because all city offices were closed.
    According to the Journal Gazette, by 6 p.m. Sunday more than 8 inches had fallen in parts of northeast Indiana and snow was continuing to fall at nearly 2 inches per hour.
    Temperatures were expected to dip, bottoming out between minus 10 and minus 15 degrees Monday morning.  Monday night and Tuesday morning temperatures were expected to drop to minus 15 to minus 20 degrees.
    Governor Mike Pence on Sunday directed the Indiana National Guard to stage additional Highway Assistance Teams in response to the heavy snow and low
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temperatures forecasted across the state.
     In addition to the 24 Highway Assistance Teams deployed earlier, 24 more teams  were deployed to armories in Fort Wayne, Bluffton, Winchester, Muncie, Kokomo, Evansville, Gary, Valparaiso, Plymouth, Elkhart, and Remington.  Four of the teams were dispatched to Fort Wayne. All other locations will have two teams each.
     Highway Assistance Teams assist local agencies with life-saving measures. Tasks include rescuing stranded motorists, moving individuals to shelters, and assisting local emergency medical services in reaching individuals who need medical attention. Teams consist of two vehicles, with two guardsmen in each.
    Pence also authorized all state government offices to remain closed Monday.    “We want to ensure that our employees are safe and that Hoosiers have access to critical public services,” said Pence. “I am limiting the number of employees who must report to work on Monday to help keep people off the roads and out of the extreme cold, even while we make sure that Hoosiers have access to necessary government services.”

    Highway officials closed two major highways in northwestern Indiana — Interstate 65 between Lafayette and Merrillville and I-80/94 from the Illinois state line to Michigan City.
    The Indiana Department of Homeland Security reported early Monday that most counties in the northern two-thirds of the state have issued travel warnings asking everyone except emergency workers to avoid travel.
    State police say 41-year-old Christopher Hutchings of Richmond died in a crash at U.S. 40 and Indiana 3 in eastern Indiana’s Henry County. Police say Hutchings’ car slid into the path of a pickup truck.