Covering Kentucky

Jan 25, 2013 5:19 PM

Winter Weather Causes Problems Throughout State

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (AP) - Wide swaths of Kentucky were glazed with ice that caused numerous wrecks, including a 10-vehicle pileup and a Greyhound bus that slid off a slick interstate on Friday. A fire truck headed to assist at a wreck never made it, overturning in Lexington.

Salt trucks were mobilized to treat icy roads, though their progress at times was impeded by log jams caused by accidents and impatient motorists who tried to keep moving by veering into emergency lanes, only to get stuck.

By Friday afternoon, the freezing precipitation had ended across most of the state.

"The impactful stuff is pretty well done, but there may still be some pockets of freezing drizzle through the afternoon" in eastern and central Kentucky, said Brian Schoettmer, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Louisville.

Stretches of Interstate 65 were shut down for several hours in central Kentucky because of hazardous conditions during the morning.

"It's as slick as can be," said truck stop employee Bobby Loyall, whose usual 20-minute commute turned into a perilous hour-long crawl.

A Greyhound bus with 19 passengers slid off I-65 at Cave City when the driver tried to brake to avoid stopped vehicles, but no injuries were reported, Greyhound spokesman Timothy Stokes said. State police reported one injury that appeared to be minor.

Stokes said the bus originated in Nashville, Tenn., and was headed to Cincinnati. A replacement bus was being sent to pick up the passengers, he said.

In Lexington, a fire truck overturned while making a run on an accident-strewn stretch of I-64.

"They just got on a patch of ice and there was pretty much nothing the driver could do," said Lexington fire Battalion Chief Joe Best. "The truck actually did a 360 while in the roadway."

It overturned onto its passenger side, he said. The three crew members were treated and released from a hospital.

Police reported a rash of accidents in the Elizabethtown area besides the 10-vehicle pileup south of town on I-65. No injuries were reported in the pileup, state police said.

Traffic was backed up for miles on I-65 in Hardin County on Friday morning due to wrecks.

"A lot of vehicles were trying to use the emergency lane, which prevented salt trucks getting through," said state police Trooper Norman Chaffins. "It just made things worse by motorists being impatient."

Hart County Sheriff Boston Hensley said the front end of his vehicle slid into the ditch as he tried to make his way on a slick road.

"I've had a deputy that's been in the ditch," he said. "I've got one that can't get out of his drive."

Franklin Police Chief Todd Holder said there were several wrecks as vehicles slid off roads in the town near the Tennessee line.

Even walking was a challenge because of icy conditions.

"When you go outside, if they haven't hit it with the brine, you can't hardly stand up," Holder said.

Large stretches of eastern Kentucky were coated by a quarter-inch to a half-inch of freezing drizzle early Friday, the weather service said. The accumulations made driving treacherous in the hilly region, and officials urged people to stay off roads unless they had emergencies.

By Friday afternoon, the freezing precipitation had largely ended in the Appalachian region.

The two fairly weak systems "scooting by" to the north and south of Louisville caused the winter weather, said Ron Steve, a weather service meteorologist in Louisville.

"They're just getting together enough to cause some havoc in Kentucky," Steve said.

Freezing rain caused a number of school systems in central and southern Kentucky to cancel classes.

Highs Friday ranged from the upper 30s to low 40s in western Kentucky to the low to mid 30s in the east.

Lows overnight Friday were forecast in the low 20s, followed by highs in the 30s across the state on Saturday.

The weather service also called for warming temperatures headed into next week as another cold front is expected to move through Tuesday afternoon. That storm, forecasters said, will bring warm, moist air and possibly some thunderstorms along with temperatures in the 50s. Following that front is more cold air, forecasters said.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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