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Kentucky State Of Emergency Escalates

Jeremy McKeel of Murray State University

  Governor Andy Beshear addressed the commonwealth this morning warning citizens of the oncoming weather events and officials’ plans to move to a level 3 state emergency at noon today. Beshear was fast to inform the roads have already become dangerous and will continue to do so at an accelerated rate throughout the day, as well as this week with yet another extreme weather event forecast to follow today’s winter storm. 


“If you have to be out this morning, I hope you are taking extra time, I hope you have reduced your speed and I hope you are being very, very careful,” he advised. 


The second winter weather event Monday afternoon is expected to bring more ice as well as six to eight inches of snow with the heaviest fall around rush hour this afternoon. The accumulation is expected to reach at least 1 inch per hour with the potential to fall at rates exceeding 2 inches per hour in some places throughout the commonwealth. Beshear said this rate is far beyond the transportation cabinet’s abilities to keep roads clear. 


Effects of the storm arriving today will be complemented by another winter storm expected to arrive Wednesday night and continue into Thursday night, as reported by weather experts. The third event is expected to bring an additional three to six inches of snow. 


Beshear said the National Guard is prepared and ready to act. One unit is already activated in Ashland where some areas are reporting power outages. Their work includes going door-to-door to ensure residents are safe and warm. Beshear said if necessary, they are prepared to transport people to warming stations. 


Officials maintained warnings regarding alternative methods of heat during power outages. Beshear reminded Kentuckians of the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning, which claims lives in almost every severe winter storm. Additionally, he advised citizens to report downed trees and powerlines to local utility providers. 


Despite this extreme winter weather, Beshear stressed that there is no need to lose any person or any loved ones due to these conditions. 


“We did not make it through almost a year of pandemic to lose people to an ice storm. You have more ability to work remotely. We have more ways to connect to one another and get done the things we need to get done. And you know we're looking at coming out of this pandemic by the summer,” he said. “Please don't let the next couple days or this week be what injures you or ultimately causes the loss of a loved one.”


Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray reported due to the accelerated rate of accumulation, road clearing services will be focused on interstates and parkways as well as other roads which service high traffic or emergency locations such as hospitals. 


Gray noted the commonwealth is facing three winter storms in seven days. He stressed the number one priority is keeping everyone safe. He said the best thing citizens can do to assist officials is to stay off the roadways to avoid risk, and make room for public services to continue to do their jobs. 


“We've experienced an extremely unusual dynamic for severe weather here in the state, that of three severe weather events in close proximity,” Kentucky Division of Emergency Management executive director Michael Dossett added. He describes the system as “huge,” reaching from New Mexico up to Canada. 


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