Joey's Battle with the Elements is Front Page News

Our host brazed Indianapolis's Snowpocalypse and Deep Freeze without power. Check out this front page Indy Star article to see how he coped. (His interview starts in paragraph five.)


Indianapolis Star 01/06/2014, Page A01


 Some might be without power 24-48 hours. 

BRRRR: Possible wind-chill tempera ture: -50 

Weather shutting down Indy

By Marisa Kwiatkowski and Jill Disis 

Dozens of school districts, businesses and government offices made plans to close today in the aftermath of what Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard called a storm “unlike anything we’ve seen in decades.” 

More than 11 inches of snow pelted the city Sunday, breaking the daily record for Jan. 5 that was set in 1977, according to the National Weather Service. Surrounding areas recorded as much as 12 inches of snow. The heavy snowfall prompted travel warnings in 52 Indiana counties, including Marion, Boone, Hamilton, Hendricks, Johnson and Morgan. Travel in those areas could be restricted to emergency management workers only while the warning, the highest level of travel advisory, was in effect, according to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. 

Nearly 25,200 Indianapolis Power & Light customers were without power as of 9:21 p.m. Sunday, according to the utility’s website. Nearly 9,500 Duke Energy customers across the state were without power at that time, including 526 in Hamilton County, 468 in Johnson County and 91 in Hendricks. 

Ballard warned people to be careful around power lines because they could break under the heavy snow. Police reported receiving numerous calls about downed power lines Sunday. 

Indianapolis resident Joey Gufreda and his wife,  Katherin Chi, lost power around 3 p.m. Sunday. They lit candles and gathered firewood from the backyard before the sun went down. 

When their power wasn’t back on by late Sunday, the couple improvised for dinner. 

Chi seasoned potatoes with salt and pepper, wrapped them in foil, then put them on the fire for three hours. She later added seasoning, cheese and spinach. 

“It was a good, hot meal,” Chi said. 

The couple plan to make the most of what they have. 

“It’s probably the longest and coldest it’s been since the power went out,” Gufreda said. “We’re having fun. Candles, fire, it could be worse.” 

Numerous Indianapolis-area school districts will be closed today because of the storm, including Indianapolis Public Schools, Perry Township, Center Grove Schools, Warren Township, Franklin Township, Wayne Township, Carmel Clay Schools and Zionsville Schools. 

I-65 was closed between Lafayette and Merrillville. 

The Indiana General Assembly canceled what would have been the first day of its legislative session. City-County offices will be closed, and the mayor asked businesses not to open today or to wait until noon. 

The storms, which affected much of the Midwest, also resulted in mass flight cancellations at Indianapolis International Airport. Carlo Bertolini, an airport spokesman, said Sunday there have been roughly 250 cancellations across the airport’s inbound and outbound flights. 

“You have cascading problems throughout the system,” he said. “Chicago O’Hare has several hundred cancellations both ways. Everything’s tied together in that respect.” 

While officials contended with treacherous conditions and some homeowners coped with outages, some residents enjoyed the lighter side of the snowfall. 

About 50 people participated in a snowball fight Sunday afternoon Monument Circle. Indianapolis resident Josh Baker, 26, who organized the event using Twitter, said he was shocked by the turnout. 

“I wore my arm out, so that should give you an indication,” Baker said. 

Brownsburg resident Michael Dowden, 35, built an 11-foot snowman with his wife and two kids. He said he needed a step ladder to reach the top of it. 

“This is the most snow I can remember getting in one day in the Indianapolis area,” he said. 

Call Star reporter Marisa Kwiatkowski at (317) 444-6135. Follow her on Twitter:@IndyMarisaK.