UPDATE: District 9 state crews make slow progress, see days of work ahead

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UPDATE 4:30 P.M. THURSDAY, FEB. 18, 2021

FLEMINGSBURG, Ky. (WTVQ) – District 9 state highways crews in the northeastern counties made progress Thursday clearing snow, ice, and fallen trees from roads across northeast Kentucky.

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As of 4 p.m., main priority A routes were clear, and priority B and C back roads were mostly clear in many counties but with scattered slush and ice still possible.

In Boyd, Carter, and Elliott counties, which were hardest hit by this week’s ice storms, some back roads remain partly to mostly snow covered and chainsaw crews continue to cut trees to make all routes accessible to snow plows and utility trucks. Access remains restricted along several routes.

Crews in all counties will work into the night – a chance of a wintry mix remains in the forecast – then both shifts will work Friday to try to wrap up road-clearing operations. Tree removal, debris cleanup, and plow work could continue into the weekend in some areas.

Motorists should remain diligent if traveling, even in areas where roads are cleared as wet pavement and frigid overnight temperatures could create icy conditions. Highway crews will remain on alert to treat roads as needed.

ONLINE INFORMATION

For real-time traffic information, to view traffic cams, or to keep up with state snowfighters in your county, visit http://GoKY.ky.gov.

During winter storms, Kentucky Department of Highways snow plow crews work 12-hour shifts to keep highways passable using a priority route system based on traffic volume and connectivity to hospitals and other critical services. Crews focus first on high-priority routes such as interstates and critical roadways, then heavily traveled state routes before turning to lower-volume routes. Snow priority maps for each county can be viewed online at http://SnowKY.ky.gov.

Follow District 9 updates on Twitter and Facebook at http://twitter.com/KYTCDistrict9 or http://facebook.com/KYTCDistrict9.

UPDATE POSTED 8 A.M. THURSDAY, FEB. 18, 2021

FLEMINGSBURG, Ky. (WTVQ) – After a third winter storm moved across northeast Kentucky, more than 70 District 9 Kentucky Department of Highways trucks are on roads – and have been all night – plowing and treating all accessible routes.

At 8 a.m., state highways are mostly covered. Crews have made progress on main priority A routes such as I-64, which are only partly covered in some areas or with some pavement or wheel tracks showing.

Air temperatures average 23-25 degrees, and pavement 30 degrees. Slick conditions are likely on all roads.

In many areas, snow has fallen on top of packed ice and snow from previous storms.

In Elliott, Carter, and Boyd counties, more than 30 roads remain impacted by fallen trees, with portions blocked, preventing access by plow trucks and utility trucks trying to restore electricity. Chainsaw crews will continue working today.

Motorists are advised to restrict travel unless absolutely necessary – it keeps you safe, and gives plow trucks more room to work. If you must be out, please buckle up, take it slow, avoid distractions, leave plenty of space between vehicles for safe maneuverability, and stay back from plows.

Motorists and residents should be aware that while crews in all counties will remain on duty clearing roads through the week, the large amount of downed trees, additional snow expected, and low temperatures will hamper efforts. Snow cover on roads could remain for several days.

ONLINE INFORMATION

For real-time traffic information, to view traffic cams, or to keep up with state snowfighters in your county, visit http://GoKY.ky.gov.

During winter storms, Kentucky Department of Highways snow plow crews work 12-hour shifts to keep highways passable using a priority route system based on traffic volume and connectivity to hospitals and other critical services. Crews focus first on high-priority routes such as interstates and critical roadways, then heavily traveled state routes before turning to lower-volume routes. Snow priority maps for each county can be viewed online at http://SnowKY.ky.gov.

Follow District 9 updates on Twitter and Facebook at http://twitter.com/KYTCDistrict9 or http://facebook.com/KYTCDistrict9.

POSTED WEDNESDAY 3 P.M. FEB. 17, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The state continues to push shelters, road safety, help from the National Guard and other agencies as another weather front arrives.

Wellness Support
Kentucky National Guardsmen are currently providing assistance in Boyd, Carter, Crittenden, Elliott, Floyd, Greenup, Jackson, Laurel, Lawrence, Leslie, Magoffin, Menifee, Owsley and Rockcastle counties.

Guardsmen are assisting with wellness checks, transporting those in need to warming stations and shelters, providing crews to transport medical staff and providing debris removal teams to assist the Kentucky Division of Forestry.

There are currently 23 warming centers open, with another 16 on standby. There are six emergency shelters open, with one on standby.

KSP troopers are also responding to wellness checks and helping Kentuckians as needed. If you need help, please contact a KSP post directly. KSP is requesting Kentuckians only utilize 911 for emergencies.

  • Multiple rounds of wintry weather are likely to impact the region starting Wednesday afternoon through early Friday morning.
  • Snow, sleet, freezing rain and a cold rain will be possible across the region.
  • The best potential for snow accumulations is expected to be across Central and Eastern Kentucky. Ice accumulations under a quarter inch will be possible across Southern and Eastern Kentucky.
  • Frostbite and hypothermia can occur if people are outdoors for extended periods of time, especially in single-digit temperatures.
  • Winter storm warnings and advisories have been issued for Kentucky. To learn more, click here.
  • Click here to view the National Weather Service forecast provided at 11 a.m. EST.

Power Outages

  • There are widespread outages across Eastern and Southeastern Kentucky.
  • Work crews in Eastern Kentucky – especially the Jackson and Pikeville highway districts – are still dealing with falling trees and downed power lines.
  • Department of Highways maintenance facilities are still without power in five counties – Boyd, Floyd, Lawrence, Magoffin and Martin.
  • One consequence of power outages is that gas pumps can’t operate. Yesterday, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) began hauling motor fuel into the area so crews can refuel equipment, and those efforts will continue today.
  • Power outages have also impacted traffic signals. Treat any dark signals as a four-way stop.
  • Clearing downed trees will be a major task in impacted areas. Division of Forestry crews are out in high impact areas. Kentucky National Guard teams are on standby to assist the Forestry crews to remove cut debris.
  • Kentuckians experiencing a downed power line or power outage should contact their local utility company. If possible, use an alternate source of heat but be aware of the dangers of alternate heat sources and carbon monoxide poisoning. Generators, camp stoves or charcoal grills always should be used outdoors and at least 20 feet away from windows. Never use a gas stovetop or oven to heat your home. Visit http://www.cdc.gov/co/guidelines.htm for more information.

“During this event, the weather created physical damage to the infrastructure that transmits and delivers the electricity to households. Electric companies must respond safely, swiftly and efficiently to restore service to large numbers of affected customers,” said Kentucky Division of Emergency Management Director Michael Dossett.

Director Dossett said there are four steps necessary to restore power:

  • Assess the extent, locations and severity of damage to the electricity system;
  • Provide the physical and human resources required for repairs;
  • Prioritize sites/components for repair based on factors including the criticality of the load and the availability of resources to complete the needed repairs;
  • Implement the needed repairs and reassess system state.

“As such, households may experience times of intermittent or extended outages as the electric utilities create a safe environment for work to move through the phases of restoration,” said Director Dossett. “Electric utilities are implementing their mutual aid agreements to ensure everyone is working together to have the resources. Utilities are cooperating and some aid is coming from out of state.”

Road Conditions

  • KYTC crews are treating and plowing statewide and report most highly traveled priority A routes are passable. Plows are making headway on secondary, lower-volume routes.
  • Several areas are severely affected, especially eastern and northeastern counties.
  • At this time, Kentucky State Police (KSP) reports no interstate closures. However, the situation is fluid and KSP may have to close an interstate in the event of a collision or additional winter weather that is expected to arrive later this evening.
  • All 16 KSP posts located throughout the commonwealth continue to report slick and hazardous road conditions. Beginning Monday evening and into this morning, KSP has responded to multiple vehicle collisions throughout the state with several resulting in fatalities. The hazardous, icy roadway conditions are believed to be a contributing factor.
  • Kentuckians should refrain from traveling if at all possible. Please stay home and allow emergency responders to do their work during this winter storm.
  • Kentuckians are urged to tune in to local media for information on weather, and visit snowky.ky.gov for snow and ice resources and goky.ky.gov to check road conditions.

“Our front-line snow-fighters are still out there: from Lyon to Lawrence, Paducah to Pikeville, Hickman to Harlan, Clinton to Campbell and all parts in between. More than 2,000 employee team members plus contractors across the commonwealth are working hard to keep our people safe,” said KYTC Secretary Jim Gray. “I also want to commend the state Division of Forestry, which has provided chainsaw crews to help us clear downed trees in a number of eastern counties. They’ve been a tremendous help. Please limit your travel, drive very carefully and allow extra time to get where you’re going.”