Just before midnight on Tuesday, Washington County Sheriff Claude Combs and the Washington County Commissioners issued a State of Emergency in Washington County.

There are only two other Indiana Counties who have thus far issued a State of Emergency – Parke and Marshall counties. Most of the rest of the state is under a Travel Advisory or a Travel Watch, which is the second of three status indications.


A State of Emergency effectively closes all roadways to travel except in emergency situations.

Commissioner Phil Marshall contacted WSLM earlier Tuesday and informed us that he would be using WSLM as the official media source with which to announce closings and other weather information.

Marshall said all Washington County Government agencies would be closed on Wednesday, including those in the courthouse.

Earlier in the evening, a web post from a Louisville TV Station indicated Mayor David Bower had issued a state of emergency and closed roads in Washington County. This created a lot of buzz on social media regarding whether or not many factory workers could or should try to get to work last night.

Calls to Salem Police Chief Troy Merry indicated that there was no state of emergency issued at that time.

Bower only has the authority to issue that statement for the City of Salem, not the county, although he would have insight in making a county determination.

According to the Indiana State Emergency Management Department, a State of Emergency indicates the following:

A State of Emergency is the highest level of local travel advisory, means that travel may be restricted to emergency management workers only. During a “warning” local travel advisory, individuals are directed to:

  • (A) refrain from all travel;
  • (B) comply with necessary emergency measures;
  • (C) cooperate with public officials and disaster services forces in executing emergency operations plans; and
  • (D) obey and comply with the lawful directions of properly identified officers


Here is a link to the State page where you can get up to the minute information on road conditions and traffic information from around the state –