Snowstorm prompts county emergency, I-65 standstill, closure - News, Weather & Sports

Snowstorm prompts county emergency, I-65 standstill, closure

The winter scene near the Scott County Courthouse. The winter scene near the Scott County Courthouse.
Tammy Davis Tammy Davis
David Murphy David Murphy
Brittany Walls Brittany Walls
Jason Vandynhoeven Jason Vandynhoeven

SCOTTSBURG, IN (WAVE) - After an eight inch snowfall hours earlier Downtown Scottsburg looked more like the Winter Beauty than Polar Beast. But oh, what the plowed paths hide.

"There are places where you cannot tell where the road ditches and where the road is," said Tammy Davis, public information officer for the Scott County Emergency Management Agency. "We're getting lots of slide offs because of it."

Drifting snow and black ice offered reasons enough to close the Courthouse, schools and prompted County Commissioners to declare a Local Disaster Emergency. Emergency responders asked residents to stay off of the roads, but they conceded they had no power to enforce it.

"The employers are gonna have to, probably, pay for any decisions they make as far as people going home or staying home," EMA director David Murphy said.

"That's the difference between a local and statewide emergency - employers discretion," Davis explained. "So if the employers say ‘business as usual', you have to get there."

That's why police and sheriff's deputies won't cite anybody simply for driving in such conditions, even though Commissioners worry that it may recreate the scenario that closed Interstate 65 in both directions between Memphis and Taylorsville much of Tuesday morning.

"We sat in traffic on the road and didn't move for about 45 minutes," said Brittany Walls, an Orlando native traveling to Green Bay to meet her fiance's parents.

We found Walls, husband-to-be Jason Vandynhoeven, and Lilo, their 1-year-old Labrador Retriever, at Loves Truck Stop off of the Memphis exit shortly before noon.

"She (Lilo) was very antsy, we actually had to get out and walk her a little bit on the highway," Walls said.

But snow and Lilo seemed to agree with each other, at least while Mom and Dad plotted the rest of their journey.

"When we first started they told us it was gonna be a 21 hour trip, but it's turning out to be about 24-25 hours," Walls said.

"Most of the drivers are pretty good," Vandynhoeven said. "The roads are a bit rough right now - so it's ‘take it slow' and when we get there, we get there."

Patience appeared to be managing both puppy and nature. Didn't hurt that Walls packed for the journey with a nod to endurance.

"With my Florida blood, I definitely have a couple of blankets," Walls rattled down the list. "We have a cooler full of sandwiches, bottled water and have a case of food for her, so we're good to go."

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