Final Wave Of Winter Mess Followed By Above-Freezing Temperatures
Governor Andy Beshear reports that although above-freezing temperatures are in the forecast for the weekend, Kentucky residents are not yet out of the woods. The third winter weather system, forecast as the final for this extreme weather event, is expected to take place tonight and continue into Friday.
This final round is expected to bring snow, sleet, and freezing rain. However, according to Kentucky Division of Emergency Management Executive Director Michael Dossett, some of the rain accompanying the wintery mix may fall without freezing in some areas. He reported this could be an asset in melting off some snow and ice accumulations in those areas lucky enough to receive it.
Power outages have been reported throughout the country this week, notably those the Texans are currently combatting. Beshear discussed Kentucky’s power outage situation in this morning's weather briefing.
“As of this morning there are about 96,000 outages for Kentucky Utility customers. The maximum outage during this severe weather was more than 150,000 Kentucky customers,” he said.
A large portion of these outages have been reported in the eastern regions of Kentucky. Beshear said due to the economic state of the region, repairs are difficult for the utility providers to afford.
The Kentucky National Guard as well as the KY Division of Forestry are working alongside these providers to assist in restoring lost infrastructure. Beshear said despite the hard work of those trying to restore Eastern Kentucky’s power, it is likely that some areas may be without through the end of the week due to the broad scope and sheer number of outages.
Beshear said during a meeting with President Biden and other state governors regarding the states impacted by the recent winter weather hazards, discussions began of plans to assist the Eastern Kentucky economy. He said the discussion included encouraging creation of jobs in the area, especially in energy to replace lost coal-related positions. This would serve to help utility companies be better able to afford updating aged infrastructure as well as helping locals be better able to pay for utilities, he added.
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray encouraged Kentucky’s citizens with news that the road clearing crews, admirably dubbed “Snow Fighters,” are still working to clear roads of snow, ice, and debris. Thanks to what he and Beshear referred to as ‘a relatively quiet night last night,’ road crews were able to focus on replenishing salt and repairing equipment. Gray reported some progress was made on less travelled roadways last night, also.
Beshear said regardless of weather conditions tonight and tomorrow morning, regional vaccination centers will remain open for service tomorrow. He said it’s easier than ever to reschedule the appointments for those who feel they cannot safely make it, but for those who can, service will be available. Officials report road clearing crews are working especially hard to ensure safe passage to the vaccination sites.