By Amie Sites Pharos-Tribune
---- — A snowstorm coming today may leave wind chills of 40 below zero, a negative 15-degree temperature and more than half a foot of snow in its wake, according to Katie Gross, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in northern Indiana.
The weather service office in northern Indiana on Saturday forecast 10 to 14 inches of snow to blanket Cass County and counties to the north, east and west. The heaviest snowfall is expected today.
A winter storm watch went into effect in the area Saturday evening and remains in effect tonight. The storm is expected to leave behind artic air.
Temperatures will dip starting Monday, when the high is expected to be around negative 15 degrees with 40-below-zero wind child and 25 mph wind gusts.
There will be a slight temperature increase Tuesday, with a high of about negative 4 degrees and 20 mph wind gusts.
Extra caution should be taken when traveling during the winter storm, Cass County Sheriff Randy Pryor said. Drivers should keep fuel in the car and carry a fully charged cell phone and alert authorities if there is car trouble, he said.
Miami County Sheriff Tim Miller also shared information about the potential severe weather that has been predicted. In addition to having necessary items in vehicles during a severe storm, items like medication, food, water and heating fuel should be kept in households, Miller said.
With cold temperatures, extra items should be kept in the vehicle, too like blankets, fuel-line deicer, an ice scraper, a snow shovel and extra clothes.
If a vehicle gets stuck, a driver should turn on hazard lights and check to make sure the exhaust pipe is uncovered.
Deputies from the Cass and Miami sheriffs' departments will be patrolling in the designated counties looking for vehicles in distress.
“When temperature gets down, any amount of snow on the roadway will make traveling dangerous,” Pryor said. “These are pretty severe temperatures and people should say close to home and take it easy.”
Along with insuring the safety of families, pets also need to be cared for during the storm.
If pets can come inside for a couple of evenings they should be allowed, Ralph Anderson, a local veterinarian, said. If left outside, pets will need food, water since it will freeze rapidly, and a shelter.
A shelter or dog house shouldn’t be over-sized and should be insulated with hay and straw or even blankets between the bottom of the shelter and the ground, he said.
If animals are not accustomed to being outside, they shouldn’t be left outside during the storm, he said.
“Although it’s not my area of focus, if your car breaks down, you're most likely underdressed,” Anderson said. “Throw extra clothes in your car. You can’t take care of your pet if you’re not there.”
Because heating equipment will be working extra hard with the drop of temperatures, equipment should be inspected to make sure it’s up to code, Logansport Fire Chief Mark Strong said.
Adequate ventilation must be given to fireplaces, space heaters and furnaces.
Extension cords shouldn't be used on any space heater and users should make sure fuses are not being overloaded, he said.
If someone notices a funny smell or has questions on something overheating or if a cord looks okay, they can call the Logansport Fire Department at 574-753-3102. If an emergency arises, they should call 911, Strong said.
NIPSCO recently sent out a release reminding those who smell natural gas in the household to evacuate immediately, avoid using anything that could cause a spark and call 1-800-464-7726 or 911.
As the temperature drops immensely, Emmaus Mission Center will be open to people as well, shelter director Diane Hurtt said. Although there won't be availability overnight at the shelter, 805 Spencer St., the center will be open during the day for meals.
The temperature is expected to rise 20 to 30 degrees Thursday and Friday.
Amie Sites is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5117 or amie.sitespharostribune.com. Follow her: PharosAES.
Keep safe at home • Make sure heating equipment is operating accurately and has adequate ventilation. • A space heater should be plugged in to a wall outlet instead of an extension cord • Special attention should be given to insure the proper fuel for a kerosene heater is used • If a furnace is located in a closet, Items should not be stored next to it • Have a fire extinguisher available • Call NIPSCO at 1-800-464-7726 or visit www.NIPSCO.com/StaySafe for more tips on staying safe around natural gas appliances • Call the Logansport Fire Department at 574-753-3102 for information or 911 in an emergency Keep safe while traveling • Keep fuel tank full and alert authorities in case of car trouble • Carry a fully-charged cell phone, extra clothes, a snow shovel, blankets and an ice scraper • If a vehicle is stuck, check to make sure exhaust pipe is clear of snow Refer w/a little snow logo? like weather? Turn to page A8 for the complete weather forecast