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Last updated: Mon. Jan. 06, 2014 - 08:48 am EDT

Storm information: cancellations and safety tips

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Allen County: essential travel only

A state of emergency has been declared by The Board of Commissioners for the city of Fort Wayne and Allen County, while New Haven has issued a winter weather travel warning. Both the emergency order, which means travel is restricted to emergency workers only, and the travel warning are in effect until 6 p.m., Monday, according to a news release.

Allen County, including New Haven and Fort Wayne, has declared a winter travel watch beginning at 1 p.m. Sunday. Essential travel to and from work only is allowed on city streets.

City trucks continue plowing and salting to battle the latest winter storm. Crews will stay on the main arterial streets as long as it keeps snowing, the city announced.

Residents are encouraged to clear snow away from fire hydrants to keep them visible and not allow them to get buried by piles of snow. Also, if possible, the US Postal Service is asking customers to clear a path to their mailboxes. It will make every effort to deliver mail Monday, according to a news release.

A water main break has closed Calhoun Street between Pettit Avenue and Maple Grove. City Utilities crews are working on the break and water service has been interrupted in the area.

In addition to 24 Highway Assistance Teams deployed earlier, 24 more teams are being deployed, according to Gov. Mike Pence office. These additional teams will go to armories in Fort Wayne, Bluffton, and other northeast Indiana cities to assist with weather-related emergencies. The additional units will be activated at 10 p.m. Sunday. Pence's office said Sunday that Pence has directed the Guard to stage Highway Assistance Teams in response to the heavy snow and low temperatures forecasted across the state. The teams will assist in life-saving and rescue operations. The response will total 48 Highway Assistance Teams deployed across the state, consisting of nearly 200 Guardsmen and 96 vehicles.

Shelters open

The city of Fort Wayne has opened two shelter locations:

*Salvation Army, 2901 N. Clinton St.

*Public Safety Academy, 7602 Patriot Crossing, led by the American Red Cross

In addition, the City's Parks & Recreation Department will open four warming stations beginning on Monday for individuals in need of a location to stay warm for a shorter period of time. It's expected the warming stations will be open through Tuesday. Plans could change as needed.

Warming station locations:

*Community Center, 233 W. Main St., 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

*Jennings Center, 1330 McCulloch St., noon-8 p.m.

*Weisser Center, 802 Eckart St., noon-8 p.m.

*Cooper Center, 2300 Clinton/Lafayette streets, noon-8 p.m.

On Saturday Pence had directed the Indiana Department of Transportation to ready itself for a full callout across most of the state as dangerous winter weather approaches. The agency was readying its plows but also its fleet of pickups to deliver parts to stalled vehicles or rescue drivers if necessary. INDOT maintains a small amount of older, “spare” plow trucks to ensure that all routes are plowed.

The Indiana Toll Road Concessions Company issued a winter weather ban for triple, long double, high profile oversize permit loads, and low profile steel haulers. The ban is in effect through noon Monday.

With bitterly cold temperatures forecast for this week, Indiana Michigan Power was urging its customers to prepare for temperatures of well below zero.

If customers lose power, they should first check their circuit breakers, then Indiana customers should report the outage to I&M at 1-800-311-4634 or at its website, www.IndianaMichiganPower.com/outages.

I&M has sufficient capacity to meet the expected increase in demand for power usage, it said in a news release.

It offered these tips:

PREPARATION

Public safety agencies and organizations strongly encourage all residents to have an emergency kit with flashlights, extra batteries, blankets, prescription medications and first aid supplies. Other useful items include a battery-powered radio or TV.

Stock up on nonperishable foods.

Keep cell phones charged.

If you plan to use a portable generator, make sure it is placed outside and consult a licensed electrician for proper installation.

If someone in your home depends on electricity for medical reasons, make plans for alternate lodging should the power be out for an extended period of time.

SAFETY

Be extremely careful if using space heaters. Make sure they are at least 3 feet away from anything that could burn, including walls.

Use caution and follow manufacturers' ventilation and other safety instructions if using other home heating sources such as wood stoves, kerosene heaters or fireplaces.

Do not use stoves or other appliances not made for home heating as a heat source.

USE ENERGY WISELY

Keep doors and windows closed. Keep fireplace dampers closed when not in use.

Set your thermostat to the desired temperature; setting it higher than desired will not heat your home any faster.

Turn down your thermostat before leaving your home for extended periods.

Keep curtains and shades closed – except for those facing the sun, which should be open.

For other energy-saving tips visit www.ElectricIdeas.com.

Home and vehicle tips from GetPrepared.IN.gov

Purchase a weather radio with a backup hand crank or battery power option to keep updated in the event of a power outage. Weather radios are commonly found at local hardware, home improvement or discount stores.

Purchase non-perishable food items and bottled water for both the home and any vehicles. Food that does not need to be cooked can go a long way in a power outage. Check all medications and consider filling prescriptions, if possible. Travel to a pharmacy once snow, wind and low temperatures arrive may be hazardous.

Just like the home, it is important to prepare vehicles for severe winter weather conditions.

Fill the gas tanks of all vehicles you own. Low temperatures can quickly freeze gas lines, especially if the tank is near empty.

If necessary, run the vehicle's engine for a few minutes as needed throughout the day. This helps keep the engine and fuel lines warm and prevents freezing.

Gather preparedness supplies for vehicles in case travel is necessary. Such supplies should include bottled water, extra blankets, a flashlight with extra batteries, and chargers for cell phones and mobile devices.

For more winter weather and vehicle preparedness tips, visit GetPrepared.IN.gov.

Cancellations

Embassy Theatre and its box office will be closed Monday.

Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne's campus will be closed Monday.

Fort Wayne Community Schools announced school is canceled Monday. A makeup day is scheduled for Friday.

The National Military History Center and Kruse Automotive and Carriage Museum (Dean V. Kruse Foundation) will be closed Sunday.

Sunday's Komet home game against the Kalamazoo Wings has been postponed until 7 p.m. Wednesday. All tickets for Sunday's game (Komet home game No. 17) will be honored for Wednesday night's game.

The business offices of WFWA PBS39 will be closed Monday. PBS39 will still be operating and broadcasting our normal program schedules for channels 39-1, 39-2, 39-3 and 39-4 during this time. Unless the weather and conditions warrant another day of closure, PBS39 will be open for business as usual at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

All RediMed urgent care clinics will close at 3 p.m. Sunday for the remainder of the day.

Parkview Physicians Group's Allen and Noble County FirstCare walk-in clinics are closed.

There will be no Monday collection of garbage and recycling. The city is monitoring the storm to determine the adjusted schedule for the remainder of the week. Pickups will be on a one-day delay. Customers should place their trash and recycling carts out early and leave them out until work is completed.

Taylor University, Upland, has cancelled classes and closed offices for Monday. The decision delays by one day the start of Taylor's January Interterm to Tuesday. In addition, office will reopen on Tuesday. There will be no classes at Ball State University or the Indiana Academy on Monday. Burris Laboratory School will be closed Monday.

Ball State University will be closed from 11:30 p.m. Sunday until 7 a.m. Tuesday. All university offices will be closed, however, all essential personnel should report as scheduled or needed during this time. Residence Halls, Dining, University Police, and other essential areas will be open as usual. The shuttle buses will run until 11 p.m. Sunday. Buses will not run during the campus closure. They will resume normal operations at 7 a.m. Tuesday. Visit www.bsu.edu for more information about schedule changes, preparedness information, and other communication.

All branches of the Allen County Public Library are closed Sunday and Monday.

Open mic at C2G Music Hall is canceled Monday.

Sunday's Komets hockey game against Kalamazoo is rescheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday.

The Allergy and Asthma Center is closed Monday.

Thomas Hoffman, D.D.D., is closed Monday.

For road conditions

Monitor road conditions from the Indiana State Police on Facebook, Twitter (@indstatepolice), and Nixle (www.nixle.com). A new web page is specifically dedicated to the winter storm and will be updated through Monday or later as needed. This website can be found at http://www.in.gov/isp/3096.htm. To receive the latest road and weather information call the statewide road and weather line at 1-800-261-ROAD (7623) or visit the INDOT website at www.trafficwise.in.gov.

Protect your water pipes

City Utilities suggested you prevent water pipe breaks with these tips:

• Insulate pipes or faucets in unheated areas

Wrapping pipes that run through unheated garages or crawl spaces can help prevent freezing. Use insulating tape and wrap it over the entire length of exposed pipe. You can also use molded flexible pipe sleeves. Cover all valves, joints, etc. with insulating tape of fiberglass insulation. You can find the supplies you need at a hardware or discount store.

• Protect your water meter

If you have an outdoor meter located in a pit, be sure the lid is not broken or missing. Indoor meters located in an unheated area should be protected with an insulated box that is clearly marked. If the meter is in an unheated garage, keep the garage door closed to hold in as much warmth as possible. The meter is your responsibility and replacements start at $130 if the meter is damaged.

• Eliminate drafts

Close off crawl space vents and openings. Repair broken or cracked windows. Make sure basement doors and windows close tightly. Many of the green techniques that help to reduce your heating bill will also help to reduce the possibility that your pipes will freeze in cold weather. For example, caulk around door frames, windows and around pipes where they enter the house to reduce incoming cold.

• Locate the main water shut-off valve

Most homes have a master valve or a main water shut-off that will allow you to turn off all the water coming into the house. The valve is usually located in a spot near where the main water line enters the house. If a pipe breaks somewhere in the house, you can turn off the water at this main valve. In preparing for cold weather, you may want to paint the shut off a bright color or tag it so that it's easy to locate in an emergency. Show other family members where the main water shut-off is located.

• Disconnect and drain outdoor hoses

This will allow the pipe that feeds the outdoor spigot to drain and can help to prevent a hard freeze from bursting the outdoor faucet or the pipe leading to it. Some homes have a shut-off valve for the outside faucet in addition to the main shut-off valve for the whole house. If there is a separate valve, shut off the water supply to the outside faucet. Drain and coil the hose, then store it in the garage or basement to prevent damage to it.

• Drain in-ground sprinkling systems

Check the manufacturer's instructions or call your installer for information on the best way to do this.

When cold weather arrives

• Open doors below sinks

Especially if the sink is located against an exterior wall, opening the cabinet doors will allow warm air to reach the pipes.

• Let the water run

Especially if you have pipes located in an exterior wall or under a slab, let a small stream of lukewarm water run from each faucet – don't forget the bathtub and shower. This will keep water moving through the pipes and will keep the pipes from freezing. A stream of water about the size of a pencil lead is sufficient. While this may increase your water bill slightly, it can help you avoid costly repairs if a pipe freezes and bursts.

• Keep the garage door closed

If your water meter is located in the garage or if you have exposed pipes in the garage, keeping the garage door closed will hold in some warmth and may help keep the pipes form freezing.

If a pipe freezes despite your precautions

• Thaw the pipe

If you know where the freeze-up is located and the pipe is exposed, you may be able to thaw the pipe with a hair dryer set on a low setting. Wave the stream of warm air back and forth along the pipe until water will flow through the pipe. Never use a torch or open flame to thaw a pipe.

If the frozen pipe is not exposed, shut off the main water valve and set up a portable heater where the pipes enter the house. It may take some time, but eventually all the pipes in the house will warm up. If you are using this method, do not leave the space heater unattended. You'll know it's OK when you switch on the main valve, turn on the faucet and water runs out.

Always use caution when using electricity near a thawing pipe.

• If a pipe leaks or breaks

Once a pipe has frozen, there is a very good chance that it will break or leak. If this happens, the first thing to do is shut off the water at the master shut-off valve as quickly as possible to prevent flooding and water damage. Unless you are an experienced do-it-yourselfer, you may need to call a plumber to repair the break or leak.


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