Mayor Ballard: Upcoming winter storm “scares all of us”

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A wicked combination of snow, wind, and negative temperatures will soon hit central Indiana for the second time this month.

Up to 3" of snow is likely Sunday, but Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard is more alarmed about what happens after that.

"Monday and Tuesday looks very difficult," Mayor Ballard said. "We are going to get close to those -30 and -40 wind chill numbers again, which scares all of us."

Mayor Ballard urges everyone to go the grocery store, get gas, stock emergency supplies in your vehicle, and to shovel your sidewalk before Sunday night, when a bitter cold snap blankets the region.

The extreme cold is also expected to take a toll on the roads. Earlier this month, we saw an uneven frozen tundra of snow, slush, and ice on the roads which made for a bumpy ride. That's expected to return.

"The slush will refreeze in certain spots and it will be very difficult to get off in the -30 to -40 degree weather, it just will be. You can salt it all day long, but the salt does not work when you get to that sort of temperature if the clumps have refrozen so what we're going to try to do is make the roads passable, but we're telling people those clumps could happen again," Mayor Ballard said.

Mayor Ballard and his staff also said Saturday that snow removal costs now stand at $9.9 million, which does not include the weekend.

"Budgets are always dynamic, there's always some reserve out there," Mayor Ballard said.

There's not enough cushion for the extra costs, but Mayor Ballard says it's too soon to say what may have to be slashed to make ends meet.

"I'm hoping that the federal government comes into play here because we think we might have met the standards for an extraordinary emergency," Mayor Ballard said.

The extreme cold also takes a toll on the machines used to clear the roads.

"We had as many as 10 or 15 trucks down at one time," said DPW Director Lori Miser. She added that crews were quickly able to repair the trucks.

DPW has nearly 180 salt truck drivers who work 12 hour shifts. Mayor Ballard said many of them have not had a day off in weeks.

"They're missing their kids games and recitals and birthdays and time with family," he said.

The Indiana Pacers decided to reward them, offering each driver two tickets to a game. The drivers get to select the date, in case of bad weather.

Check road conditions here.

You can also call: 800-261-ROAD (7623).

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