LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The arctic blast is coming to town Wednesday, bringing along plenty of ice and snow, but Lexington is ready, Mayor Linda Gorton said.
“We’ve loaded up our salt barn, pre-treated roads where we can, and we’re ready to clear limbs if needed,” Gorton said. “Our police officers and firefighters are prepared to respond to emergencies. We’re as ready as we can be.”
Gorton said the city’s top priority is to keep the public safe, especially in the event of power outages and ice-covered streets.
“We will assess the conditions and do what we need to do to protect the public,” Gorton said. “I have checked in with Kentucky Utilities, and they have crews standing by, ready to work around the clock.”
Gorton held a briefing this morning to update citizens on preparations for the storm.
STREETS AND ROADS
Rob Allen, Director of Streets and Roads, said the City has filled its two salt barns, recently buying 3,000 tons of salt. The City has bought 8,000 tons this year. “We have plenty of salt, and continue to accept delivery of our most recent order,” he said.
Roads are in good condition, with most precipitation so far being rain, Allen said. “Crews are pre-treating ranked roads with salt, and are working 12-hour shifts for the duration of the storm.”
Police Chief Lawrence Weathers said police are prepared for the storm.
“The Bureau of Patrol will have Neighborhood Resource Officers working to assist stranded motorists and homeless notifications for pick-ups / transport to shelters during the day. We will also have officers placed on special assignment to monitor the roadways for stranded motorists,” Weathers said.
Second and Third shifts will have special assignments doing both tasks alongside CLEAR Officers, who usually monitor the interstate and roadways during their shifts.
Each sector should have five portable inverters in case of intersection power outages. The Bureau of Patrol also has several police cruisers that are outfitted with inverters.
The Bureau of Special Operations will deploy the barricade truck and snow plow as needed. The Bureau of Special Operations also has 5 portable inverters within the traffic section and 2 light towers that can be moved to be used as needed. All traffic units have built in car inverters, or carry a portable.
“Units will be able to work beyond their shift or come in early if requested by the Duty Commander,” Weathers said.
The Fire Department has 159 line personnel on duty, with all front line units currently staffed and operational. “We are monitoring the current and forecasted weather conditions, and are prepared to request and surge additional resources as needed,” said Robert Larkin, Assistant Chief, Operations.
Our personnel are aware of and fully support the Community Emergency Weather Plan to assist our homeless and at need community. We have internally prepared and tested equipment such as portable generators, chainsaws, light and heating units.”
PARKS AND RECREATION
“Parks employees will back up Streets and Roads crews, as needed,” said Chris Cooperrider, Parks Deputy Director.
Parks snow removal operations will focus on facilities that get the most use, including downtown sidewalks along parks, LexTran bus stops within parks, Community Centers, the Senior Center and facilities where employees work.
HOMELESSNESS PREVENTION AND INTERVENTION
“The Office of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention’s Community Emergency Winter Weather plan remains active through the morning of Feb. 12,” said Director Polly Ruddick.
If you know of, or see someone who appears to be in need of emergency shelter, call (859) 533-9199. Between the hours of 10 p.m. and 8 a.m., call (859) 494-0470. For a list of all available shelters and transportation services, as well as other resources, visit www.uwbg211.org .
LEXINGTON HUMANE SOCIETY
In preparation for the impending winter storm, the Lexington Humane Society, 1600 Old Frankfort Pike, will be closed to the public Thursday, February 11. If you have an animal-related emergency, please call 859-255-9033 to speak with a dispatch officer.
Citizens are encouraged to bring pets indoors during severe weather. While local ordinances always require shelter for pets during extreme weather, most outdoor shelter will be insufficient. To report abuse or neglect call the Humane Society at 859-255-9033.
Current plans call for city crews to pick up their normal garbage routes on Thursday and Friday. Pick up may occur later in the day because of the weather. Friday collection area is the southern part of the county where the weather may be the worst so we will coordinate with Streets and Roads as needed. Other services may be suspended such as e-waste, the landfill and yard waste. We will monitor conditions and make decisions and announcements later today.
City offices will close at 2 p.m. today in advance of the storm. Employees who are working from home will continue to follow their normal schedule.
Here are winter storm preparedness resources from Lexington Emergency Management to help residents prepare for and deal with the severe winter weather event over the next several days.
Lexington Police recommend avoiding any travel until the storm has passed and roads are clear. If you must drive, check out these safe driving tips before heading out.
An extreme cold weather system will arrive in Lexington over the weekend. Here’s how to plan for those near-zero temperature outdoor conditions.