INDIANAPOLIS — Northwest Indiana residents required to travel during Friday's snowstorm can check county travel advisories before leaving home by asking their Amazon Alexa device.

The Indiana Office of Technology announced Thursday that county travel statuses compiled by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security now are available — after adding the state of Indiana skill — by saying, "Alexa, ask Indiana for travel advisories," and specifying the county or counties of interest.

The travel statuses, from least to most severe, are: normal, advisory, watch and warning.

Under a watch, only essential travel, such as to and from work, is recommended. A warning means local officials are asking residents to refrain from all travel on roadways.

"Access to information is a key component of preparedness," said Bryan Langley, IDHS executive director. "This important step will allow Hoosiers yet another way to rapidly access information and make informed decisions to keep themselves and their family safe."

Hoosiers lacking an Alexa device can download the free Alexa app from Amazon.com to any smartphone.

Travel advisories also are posted online at in.gov/dhs/traveladvisory.

In addition to travel status updates, Hoosiers who add the state of Indiana skill to their Alexa device can obtain contact information for state agencies and state employees simply by saying, "Ask Indiana."