Kentucky Officials Report Measured Response To Winter Storm
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear went live on Facebook early this afternoon to address the current weather system reportedly carrying the potential to be the worst ice storm in the past two to three years. He reports state agencies are activating measures to respond.
Beshear indicated Kentucky Emergency Management (KYEM) activated its State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) at 7 a.m. at level 4 operations, which consists of KYEM personnel monitoring the weather system and damage reports from affected counties.
“We ask Kentuckians to be cautious of roadway conditions that will be hazardous in some areas. Please stay off roadways unless necessary,” he added.
KYEM Executive Director Michael Dossett expounded upon the magnitude and the potential of this weather system stressing, “This is a major, major stormfront.” He said this front will be accompanied by a combination of fog, ice, sleet, snow, and rain.
The greatest impact is expected in the south central area of Kentucky but the threat is serious in all the surrounding areas, officials reported. Forecasters project the current weather event and precipitation will move out of the region between late Thursday evening and early Friday morning, but the lasting below-freezing temperatures will prolong its effects. This is especially true with lows expected between 0 and 10 degrees Sunday morning.
Jim Gray, secretary of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC), reported more than 2,000 workers and 1,024 pieces of equipment as well as more than 400 contractor plow operators all ready to clear the roads of ice and downed foliage.
Gray stressed that despite the salt and calcium chloride mixture pretreatments on roadways, the prolonged below-freezing temperatures will mitigate the effectiveness of those measures. He urged all people to stay home and eliminate travel unless absolutely necessary. In the event travel is a must, Gray advised keeping an emergency kit in the vehicle to assist in the event of a breakdown. Travelers should expect delays and road blockages.
Beshear said the current winter storm also resulted in cancellations for COVID-19 vaccine sites in the coming days. He said all Kroger locations scheduled tomorrow will be rescheduled for the same time and place next Thursday. He expressed sincere condolences to those who have long awaited the chance to receive the vaccine.
The governor also noted those who have appointments at other locations throughout the remainder of the week should keep a careful watch for notification of vaccine appointment rescheduling attempts.
KYEM issued a press release Wednesday which asks motorists to limit travel as “black ice and icing on overpasses will occur.” Those who must travel are advised to check road conditions via the KYTC website and tools.
The release stated in addition to dangerous travel conditions, the ice storm has potential to down power lines and cause power outages. Among the recommendations: think ahead and prepare backup heating solutions to serve in the case temporarily left without power.
The KYEM also advised considering dangers affiliated with alternative forms of heat in the case of lost power including carbon monoxide poisoning and never using a gas top stove to heat a home. In the case of a power outage, call the local utility provider.