UPDATE: Road crews continue to work, four accidents in Fayette overnight

UPDATE POSTED 9 A.M. SATURDAY, JAN. 16, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Snow crews treated roads into Saturday morning as about half an inch of snow fell overnight in Lexington. A winter weather advisory remains in effect until Saturday afternoon with the expectation of additional snow showers and some accumulation.

Lexington Police reported four traffic collisions and one motorist assistance in the early morning hours. Motorists are urged to drive with caution as temperatures stay below freezing this weekend. Watch for slick areas, especially on overpasses and untreated roadways.

With the arrival of winter weather, the Community Emergency Winter Weather Plan for shelters has been activated.

The plan will remain active through the morning of Monday, Jan. 18. and may be extended at that time. Shelters have added capacity, but the process to access shelter has changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anyone in need of information and/or shelter can call the street outreach team at 859-513-9199 until 10 p.m.  From 10 p.m. until 8 a.m., call 859-494-0470. Anyone needing shelter in the surrounding counties can go to uwbg211.org.

ORIGINAL STORY POSTED 4 P.M. FRIDAY, JAN. 15, 2021

FAYETTE COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – With scattered snow showers and below-freezing temperatures in the forecast for this weekend, the Lexington-Fayette County Divisions of Streets & Roads and Water Quality have begun pre-treating ranked roads using salt brine, a mixture of salt and chemical de-icing additives.

The need for further response will be evaluated Saturday morning.

The largest weather threat Saturday afternoon though Monday will be freezing temperatures, black ice, and pop-up snow showers in the Lexington area. Other parts of the region could see more snow and ice.

With the expected arrival of winter weather, the City has also activated its Community Emergency Winter Weather Plan for shelters.

The plan will remain active from Friday, Jan. 15, continuing through and including the morning of Monday, Jan. 18. The plan may be extended at that time.

Shelters have added capacity, but the process to access shelter has changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anyone in need of information and/or shelter can call the street outreach team at 859-513-9199 until 10 p.m.  From 10 p.m. until 8 a.m., call 859-494-0470.

Anyone needing shelter in the surrounding counties can go to uwbg211.org.

Weather – other than sub and near freezing temperatures – is not expected to impact the Holiday Freedom March honoring Dr. King Monday at 10 a.m.

How to stay informed during the winter season in Lexington

Website: Get the most up-to-date information about the measures the City is taking to ensure the wellness and safety of our residents at lexingtonky.gov/snowupdates.

Social media: Get information on accidents, lane blockages, snow-and-ice trouble spots and road closures through the City’s Twitter accounts at @lexwrecks and @lexkypolice. General information, including, emergency and time-sensitive information, is available on the City’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Traffic cameras: Traffic at major intersections can be viewed in real time through the City’s traffic cameras at lexingtonky.gov/traffic.

Statewide, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet snowfighters deployed in various area Friday to get a jump on an approaching weather front bringing snow.

Forecasters warned of a squall-like system moving into western Kentucky early Friday and spreading eastward, beginning with rain and a few light snow showers but turning increasingly to snow toward evening with less than 1 inch accumulation over most of the state.

KYTC crews mainly were spot treating bridges and known slick spots. They also pretreated surfaces so that snow and ice would be easier to clear later.

“Keeping roadways as safe as possible is one of the most important roles of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, and that is never more important than in snow and ice season,” said Gov. Andy Beshear.

“Part of the task is to get a jump on the weather whenever possible,” Transportation Secretary Jim Gray said. “Our crews are experienced. They know the usual trouble spots, and we monitor weather forecasts constantly.”

KYTC can call on nearly 2,000 frontline crews to maintain safe travel on state routes – a mission complicated by the ongoing novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

In the northeastern areas of Bath, Boyd, Carter, Elliott, Fleming, Greenup, Lewis, Mason, Nicholas and Rowan counties, crews are reporting late Friday night to begin work, the state said.

Forecasters say the area has a potential for 1 to 2 inches of snow accumulation throughout the weekend.

Motorists should be prepared for slick travel, especially Saturday morning, and remember that falling temperatures could create icy conditions where roadways are already wet. Please buckle up, slow down, leave a “space cushion” between vehicles for safe maneuverability, and use caution on bridges and overpasses as they can freeze before roadways.

You can learn more about Kentucky Transportation Cabinet snow removal efforts, and view snow removal priority routes, online at http://SnowKY.ky.gov.

KYTC snowfighters spend several months every year training, stocking up on salt and road treatment supplies and making sure the cabinet’s 1,024 plow trucks are serviced and ready. This year, the cabinet’s proactive planning had to take into account the COVID-19 pandemic, which to date has killed more than 3,000 Kentuckians and has the potential for sidelining entire work crews.

“Snow and ice preparations begin long before the winter months and this year has been unique with a health crisis in play,” Gray said. “We’ve done our best to see around the corner by planning how to keep our work crews as protected as possible from COVID, and also how to adapt plans to cover for crews that suddenly have to be taken out of rotation because of COVID.

KYTC uses a three-tier system to prioritize treatment and snow clearing on state-maintained routes. Route designations are based on factors such as traffic volume and connectivity to hospitals and other critical servicess. During routine snow and ice events, crews operate using snow and ice priority route maps for maximum efficiency of equipment and materials usage. For severe winter storm events, the Cabinet has established a snow emergency plan to deploy resources within each county as needed to cover highest priority routes.

Keep Kentucky Moving Safely

Safe roadways are a shared responsibility, especially during inclement weather when risks increase. KYTC encourages motorists to prepare for winter and remain safe by following these tips:

  • Travel only as necessary during major snow events. Stock vehicles with ice scrapers, jumper cables, blankets, a flashlight, cell phone charger, non-perishable snacks and first aid kit should you get stranded on the road.
  • Winterize vehicles. Have your car battery, tire pressure and brakes checked. Make sure your heater, defroster, headlights and windshield wipers are working properly.
  • When snow and/or ice are on roadways, drive slowly no matter what type of vehicle you’re in. It takes more time and distance to stop your vehicle in poor weather conditions, so brake early and slowly.
  • Pay attention to weather advisories and allow more time to travel for routine commutes.
  • Slow down when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges or shaded areas. These are all candidates for developing black ice—a thin coating of clear ice that can form on the pavement surface that may be difficult to see.
  • Maintain a safe distance from snowplows and other heavy highway equipment and do not pass snowplows on the shoulder.
  • Know before you go. Download the free WAZE app or visit goky.ky.gov to check traffic conditions before you travel. The map also offers access to select traffic cameras on interstates and parkways.
  • Eliminate distractions while driving (e.g. using phone and eating).
  • Throughout the winter season, KYTC will be highlighting the men and women across the state who serve on the frontlines and behind the scenes of the Cabinet’s snow and ice removal efforts. Follow @KYTC and like us on facebook.com/kytc120. Follow your local KYTC Department of Highways district office on Twitter and Facebook for regional transportation updates. The Cabinet’s snow and ice information website, snowky.ky.gov, provides details about priority routes, helpful winter weather tips, fact sheets and videos on salt application and snow removal.
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