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By Bennett Haeberle WDRB-TV Fox 41 News
Crippled with snow-covered roads, snow drifts and high winds, authorities in Orange County, Ind. have declared a "level 1" snow emergency, urging drivers that they "must" stay off the roads after 6 p.m. Monday evening.
In Paoli, Ind., a town about an hour west of Louisville, KY, roads remained wet and snow-covered after the area saw between 5 to 6 inches of snow overnight.
Orange County Sheriff Richard Dixon says a "level 2" snow emergency was declared early Monday, meaning road travel should be limited to "essential traffic only." He classified "essential traffic" to mean commuters traveling to and from work, those requiring doctor, pharmacy or hospital visits, and trips to the grocery to get necessary goods.
Dixon said anyone who violates these restrictions could face a traffic citation and a $115 fine, though he added that police understand that some drivers don't know about the restrictions and may only receive a verbal warning.
The change to a "level 1" snow emergency would limit traffic to emergency vehicles only and comes as a reaction to snow and strong winds.
Earlier in the day, snow drifts and winds were blamed for causing several slide-off accidents and collisions, according to Josh Babcock, Chief Deputy with the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
The Level 1 Snow Emergency will be in effect beginning at 6:00 p.m. Monday evening through 8:00 a.m. Tuesday, or later, depending on conditions.
The big concerns include additional snowfall, snowdrifts, and the wind. Snowplows on Monday had trouble keeping up with the constant snow. Officials in Orange County plan to reassess the roads after 8 a.m. Tuesday morning. They will look at whether the snow emergency should be lifted. It all depends on the snowplows, which have had a difficult time keeping ahead of the snow.
Oddly enough, Paoli Peaks ski resort was hurt by the snow, with poor road conditions hurting attendance. Vickie Lincks, a spokesperson for Paoli Peaks, said the park was "ready to go," and a lot of people were there but no as many as there may have been otherwise, especially for a holiday weekend.