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Arctic cold: Indy mayor issues travel warning, making driving illegal

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA (BNO NEWS) -- The mayor of Indianapolis, the capital of the U.S. state of Indiana, issued a travel warning on late Sunday evening, making it illegal for anyone except emergency personnel to drive on the city's roads as a powerful winter blast continues to cripple parts of the country.

The move by Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard to upgrade the city's travel emergency level to "red" is the first time since the blizzard of 1978 that killed more than 100 people. The order makes it illegal for anyone to drive on the city's roads except for emergency personnel, emergency purposes or to seek shelter.

"Today's heavy snow and the rapidly falling temperatures make it unsafe for anyone to drive in Marion County," said Ballard. Temperatures had reached 9 degrees Fahrenheit (-12.7 degrees Celsius) by 11 p.m. local time, but meteorologists expect the temperature to drop to -17 degrees Fahrenheit (-27.2 degrees Celsius) on Monday.

The extreme cold, in combination with a warning of prolonged power outages by Indianapolis Power & Light (IPL), also prompted Ballard to open emergency shelter locations at 17 Indy Parks as quickly as possible and the Mayor's Action Center (MAC) for residents to call if they require assistance to reach a shelter.

"IPL says people who have lost power should not expect it to be restored in the next 24 to 48 hours. People without a safe alternative source of heat need to seek alternative shelter with a friend, family member, neighbor or make your way to one of our City shelter facilities," the mayor said.

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