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Weather state of emergency in effect for most of Northwest Indiana

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On Sunday, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security announced a winter storm state of emergency for several Northwest Indiana counties, effective at 6 p.m. on Sunday evening.

The entire Chicago area is under a wind chill advisory as temperatures plunge to dangerously cold conditions. The wind chill advisory is expected to last through 12 p.m. Tuesday for Lake, Lee, DeKalb, Kane, DuPage, Cook, La Salle, Kendall, Grundy and Will counties in Illinois.

A map displayed on the Indiana Department of Homeland Security's website shows the highest level of local travel advisory, meaning that travel may be restricted to emergency management workers only for most of Northwest Indiana, including Lake, Jasper and Porter Counties.

The Lake County, Indiana Sheriff's Department issued a state of emergency for all unincorporated areas of Lake County until further notice due to extreme weather conditions, according to an alert.

"During this period, only emergency vehicles, law enforcement, medical and highway department vehicles are to be on the roads," the alert said. "We are urging citizens to adhere to this order."

Porter and Jasper Counties officials confirmed that a state of emergency will begin at 6 p.m. Sunday and will remain in effect until further notice. All county roads will be closed.

On Sunday, Indiana Governor, Mike Pence announced the deployment of 24 Indiana National Guard Highway Assistance Teams to aid state and local emergency crews with rescue operations for the duration of the winter storm emergency.

Among the Indiana National Guard Armories deploying the 96 guardsmen for the Highway Assistance Teams include Lebanon, Johnson County, Shelbyville, Indianapolis, Richmond, Brazil, Columbus, Seymour, Scottsburg, New Albany, and Terre Haute.

Despite warnings from weather and public safety experts that the extreme low temperatures Chicago is currently experiencing is especially dangerous to children, the elderly and family pets, it was not until late on Sunday afternoon that Chicago Public School officials announced that all city schools will be closed on Monday. In a news statement, Chicago Public Schools CEO, Barbara Byrd-Bennett said:

"The safety and well-being of our students is paramount," said Bennett in the statement. "Given, the dangerously cold temperatures and high-winds, it is in the best interest of our students for schools to be closed on Monday."

Monday's high temperature is expected to reach approximately 7 degrees below zero, with many parts of the Chicago area getting no warmer than 15 degrees below, and wind chills are predicted to range from minus-30 to minus-50 degrees.

One National Weather Service meteorologist, Edward Fenelon called Chicago's extreme weather conditions "life-threatening."

Interestingly, as of 8 p.m. on Sunday night, the Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management website posted no weather warnings or updates in 2014.



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