INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana authorities had a simple message Monday for anyone considering braving the state's icy roads, biting winds and subzero temperatures: Stay home.
Many of the state's schools, businesses and municipal offices remained closed with much of the state blanketed in about a foot of snow that fell Sunday and with wind chills through Tuesday that could reach a deadly 45 degrees below zero, according to the National Weather Service.
"I know the roads look clear, the sun's out and it all looks nice," Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard said Monday. "But it's still minus 40 in wind chill — deadly temperatures. So we want to be very, very careful."
Emergency officials warned people to stay off the roads, many of which were rendered impassable because of the snow and wind. At least one person has died from a crash on snow-covered roads.
Highway officials have 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 — along with many state and local roads.
Indiana Department of Homeland spokesman John Erickson said National Guard crews were contributing highway and roadside assistance and helping emergency medical services reach patients.
Most counties in the northern two-thirds of the state issued warnings asking everyone except emergency workers to avoid travel.
Erickson said even some emergency vehicles were having trouble in the snow.
"If you have to be out today, use common sense," he said.
Temperatures reached 14 below zero in Indianapolis with a wind chill of minus-39 Monday morning. It reached 12 below zero in Fort Wayne and Terre Haute — and even 2 below zero in Evansville in far southern Indiana.
Indiana's major electricity providers reported more than 40,000 power outages around the state after Sunday's snowstorm, which packed 35 mph wind gusts and caused many tree limbs to fall on power lines.