Icy road conditions and downed power lines made for a tough commute for workers in and around Kosciusko County this morning, and ultimately triggered school closings throughout the region.

Ed Rock, Kosciusko County Emergency Management director, said the weather forecast predicting the freezing rain, which covered the county by 10 p.m. Monday night, was correct and the county was ready.





“The highway department was out pre-treating roads, and we were ready for the forecasted weather,” he said.

Rock made the call to put the county under a travel watch around 5 a.m. today. A travel watch, according to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security’s website, “Means that conditions are threatening to the safety of the public.” During a "watch" local travel advisory, “only essential travel, such as to and from work or in emergency situations, is recommended, and emergency action plans should be implemented by businesses, schools, government agencies, and other organizations.”

Marshall and Noble counties were also under a watch, while Elkhart, Wabash, Whitley and Miami counties opted for a travel advisory. The DHS website said that level of alert “means that routine travel or activities may be restricted in areas because of a hazardous situation, and individuals should use caution or avoid those areas.”

The website is at in.gov/dhs/traveladvisory.

Scattered power outages were reported in different parts of the area. Jennifer Barger, communications specialist for Kosciusko REMC, said that company had 85 reported power outages, mostly in the southern half of the county, caused by falling tree limbs.

Rock said he had a report of about 100 NIPSCO customers in the Syracuse area without power. NIPSCO’s website indicated 198 customers were without electricity in the Barbee Lake area, while other outages in the region were isolated, affecting five or fewer customers in Milford, Pierceton and Warsaw.

School officials opted to avoid the risk of school buses on the roads; all schools in the county were closed for the day.

Sarah Lancaster, Kosciusko County Central Dispatch director, reported about 50 slideoff accidents between 6:30 p.m. Monday and 9 a.m. today.

The sleet was to change to rain by this afternoon, then snow between 7 p.m. and 1 a.m. Wednesday, with accumulation of 1 to 2 inches, according to the National Weather Service website. Thursday’s forecasted high is 43 degrees, then a chance of snow Thursday night into Friday.