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January 6, 2014

AN INSIDE JOB: EMA official, others, say people are hiding out indoors from the cold

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — Terry Herthel said his office wasn’t hearing much on a brutally cold Monday, and he considered that a good thing.

“It’s been quiet,” Floyd County’s Emergency Management Director said on a day where the high temperature barely topped zero degrees. “Everybody is staying inside. It’s too cold outside. If you don’t need to get out stay in until it warms up in a couple of days.”

Herthel said the area was lucky to not receive the heavy snow forecasted to fall Sunday. Still, icy roads were a concern.

“Crews were out all night putting gravel down and I don’t think I’ve heard one call on a slide off. I am glad we didn’t get the snow. We have been preparing for two or three days.”

That wasn’t the case for areas to our north.

Gov. Mike Pence repeated calls for Hoosiers in hard-hit areas to remain at home and off roadways, sheltering from dangerous sub-zero temperatures gripping much of the state, during a Monday press conference.

 “This is a very serious time in the life of our state — a very serious time for the communities in our state,” said Pence, who held the briefing in a basement room in Statehouse with emergency officials. “We are still in the midst of a very dangerous winter storm.”

Schools in much of the state were canceled Monday. Portions of several interstates remained closed because of wind gusts that made them hazardous. Another 22 state highways were closed. All four public school corporations in Clark and Floyd counties were closed Monday and Tuesday, as well as private schools and some government offices and businesses.

Walsh Construction announced it was suspending work on the new downtown bridge Monday and Tuesday because of the cold.

A wind chill advisory was in effect until 10 a.m. Tuesday, with readings expect to be nearly 30 below zero with the wind factored in. The high Tuesday is forecasted at 11 degrees. Wednesday’s high is expected to climb to 30.

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Floyd Memorial Hospital and Health Services is pictured on Friday afternoon in New Albany. Floyd County is considering the idea of selling the hospital to help relieve some financial pressure.

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