UPDATE, Feb. 17, 2015
Winter Storm Day 2: Transportation Cabinet road crews gaining traction with snow removal
Kentucky Press News Service
FRANKFORT – Kentucky Transportation Cabinet road crews have continued plowing and treating roads to keep interstates and main routes open after a deep snow and a deep freeze Monday. Sun and temperatures in the 20s helped crews on Tuesday as they were able to clear most roadways.
Some roads remain snow-covered with a few slick spots, particularly in shaded areas, but most are passable. As crews finish the first round, many are gearing up for a second, lighter round of snow expected to make its way through the state beginning tonight and into Wednesday. The National Weather Service cautions that the additional snow may create slick conditions all over again, a state news release said.
Gov. Steve Beshear on Monday declared a statewide emergency because of the storm, which blanketed the Bluegrass State with up to a foot of snow. It fell at such a rate that plowed roadways quickly became covered again.
As with any significant snowfall, citizens should be aware that plowing may result in snow piles that block driveways, subdivision entrances and side streets. It is regrettable but unavoidable when plow crews must clear deep snow.
Road crews will continue to work 12-hour shifts tonight and into Wednesday to maintain passable roadways throughout the state.
The Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) can deploy 1,000 snow plows and 385 contractors with plows, but has responsibility for 63,000 lane miles of roadway. Some districts supplemented the plow fleet with road graders.
The cabinet also deployed 17 SAFE Patrol trucks – Safety Assistance for Freeway Emergencies – whose drivers are trained to render emergency assistance. SAFE Patrol units operate along interstate routes, parkways, U.S. 23 and KY 80.
“It has been a major challenge to keep our interstates and other main routes passable,” Kentucky Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock said.
If travel cannot be avoided, motorists are advised to slow down, buckle up, rid themselves of distractions such as cell phones and keep extra distance – at least 500 feet – between themselves and other vehicles.
Snow removal efforts have been focused on the interstates and other major routes. Secondary and rural roads will be salted and plowed once main routes have been cleared. To view the priority network for snow removal, go to http://transportation.ky.gov/Maintenance/Pages/Snow-and-Ice-Priority-Maps.aspx and select a county.
Beshear declares state of emergency
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 16, 2015) – In response to heavy snows and bitter cold across the Commonwealth in the past 12 hours, Gov. Steve Beshear declared a statewide emergency to allow local officials immediate access to state resources to assist in public safety and recovery efforts.
“This storm system is still dumping snow across much of the state and temperatures are forecast to drop further. Some areas may see accumulation of up to 16 inches, making it one of the worst storms in recent memory,” said Gov. Beshear. “By declaring a state of emergency now for the entire state, we can deploy any needed state assistance, including National Guard troops if necessary, without delay.”
Gov. Beshear and state officials remind drivers that it is extremely important to avoid travel if possible so road crews can salt and plow interstates and major highways. He again encouraged citizens to check on elderly neighbors.
So far, the snow has been dry and powdery; this has limited accumulation on power lines and tree limbs. That’s good news, as that likely means little impact on power lines for this storm.
The Commonwealth Emergency Operations Center (CEOC), located in Frankfort, remains activated with additional staffing from Kentucky Emergency Management (KYEM), KYNG, state cabinets and volunteer organizations monitoring the situation, fielding calls and responding to requests for assistance.
Weather safety tips can be found on the Kentucky Emergency Management (KYEM) website at www.kyem.ky.gov