ELKHART COUNTY – Early Saturday morning, the National Weather Service of Northern Indiana issued a winter storm warning that will last through Monday morning and a winter chill warning for Monday and Tuesday.
The winter storm warning, released at 4:49 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 4, was issued in response to what the weather service called a, "…dangerous winter storm with historic cold air and wind chills…" The winter storm warning will be in effect until 1 a.m. Monday, Jan. 6, the weather service said.
In addition to the winter storm warning, the weather service issued a winter chill warning that will last from 1 a.m. Monday, Jan. 6, until 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7. Temperatures are expected to drop between minus five and minus 15, with wind chills between minus 30 and minus 45.
The weather service said snow should begin to fall late Saturday afternoon and increase through the evening. Between six and nine inches of snow are expected to accumulate through Sunday night.
The weather service warns driving conditions will be hazardous – especially on Sunday. It also warns frost bite and hypothermia could occur in minutes due to the expected wind chill.
Winter Storm Safety Tips from the American Red Cross and Governor Pence's office
1. General winter storm safety
- Avoid driving in sleet, freezing rain, snow or heavy fog.
- Have plenty of non-perishable food and water in your home.
- Fill any necessary prescriptions before the storm.
- If you have to travel, have an emergency kit in your car that includes a shovel, blanket, flashlight, water, snacks, first aid kit, batteries and a bag of sand or cat litter.
- Keep your gas tank full to keep your fuel line from freezing.
- Use caution when doing strenuous tasks, like shoveling snow. Take your physical state and the weather into consideration before taking on these tasks, and take frequent breaks if you must engage in them.
- Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, layered clothing to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia. Stay inside as much as you can.
- Bring your pets inside.
- Eat regular meals, stay hydrated and avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages.
- If you can do it safely, check on friends and neighbors who may be in need of assistance.
2. Home heating safety
- Keep flammable items like paper, clothing, bedding and rugs at least three feet away from space heaters, stoves or fireplaces.
- Never leave portable heaters or fireplaces unattended.
- Place space heaters on level, hard, nonflammable surfaces and keep children and pets away from them.
3. In case of a power outage
- Use flashlights instead of candles to cut down on fire risks.
- Keep your refrigerator and freezer closed as much as possible. Your refrigerator will stay cold on its own for four hours and the freezer will keep its temperature for about 48 hours.
- Avoid unnecessary travel, as street and traffic lights could be out.