Many areas still under disaster emergency - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Many areas still under disaster emergency


The weather is downright dangerous.

Windchills at 30 below zero mean it doesn't take long to suffer from hypothermia or frostbite, if you're not dressed appropriately.

It's part of the reason why many places are still under a disaster emergency.

"It's entirely possible that someone can be exposed for a brief period of time and suffer frostbite," says Emergency Room doctor at Elkhart General Hospital, David VanRyn.

Dr. VanRyn encourages anyone who has to be out to dress in layers, cover your skin, and stay dry.

Frostbite isn't his only concern in these sub-zero temps: "People are outdoors and become confused, that's one of the early signs of hypothermia," says VanRyn.
First responders with Clay Fire Territory say, luckily they haven't come across any frostbite or hypothermia emergencies, but battalion chief Chris Schmitt says folks should be prepared for the worst.

"Always have a kit with you. Some extra clothes, hat and stuff like that. Have extra gloves in your car, if you were to get stuck," says Schmitt.
It's situations like that many cities and counties in Michiana are trying to avoid.

South Bend and St. Joseph County have extended a disaster emergency until noon on Tuesday.

The St. Joseph County Sheriff's Department says, bottom line--only drive if it's an emergency.

"If you go out and you cause a problem by getting stuck, or you cause an accident, you could face a citation and hefty fine for that," says Lieutenant Matt Blank with the St. Joseph County Sheriff's Department.

That could be up to $2,500 for a first offense, depending on what a judge decides.

You can also find yourself in trouble for driving too fast for conditions or causing problems for workers trying to clear the roads.

"Just take it for what it is, and if you can, enjoy the day off and stay indoors, and stay out of the nasty weather," says Blank.

St. Joseph County has ticketed some drivers for being out when they're not supposed to.

Lieutenant Blank says  they understand you many need to get to and from work, so that's ok.

The same is true in Elkhart County. The snow emergency has been downgraded so folks can drive to work.

In LaGrange County, officers have started pulling over and ticketing drivers who aren't supposed to be out because they've encountered too many dangerous situations.

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