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Gov. Beshear provides update on state's preparations, response to winter storms

Beshear
Posted at 12:48 PM, Feb 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 12:48:38-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Gov. Andy Beshear said Tuesday that the state is taking necessary steps to clear roads and respond to the state of emergency brought on by winter storms.

“Front-line emergency responders continue to work hard to clear roads, trees and branches and support communities across the commonwealth as needed – including Kentucky National Guard soldiers and Kentucky State Police troopers providing wellness checks in counties suffering power outages,” Beshear said. “We remind Kentuckians to please stay off the roads if possible. They are slick and dangerous.”

He said the State Emergency Operations Center is currently activated at Level 3.

Weather Update

  • Wednesday morning low temperatures are expected to be in the single digits over a large portion of the area. If there are clearing skies, temperatures could drop to below zero degrees in spots.
  • Frostbite and hypothermia can occur if people are outdoors for extended periods of time.
  • There is a potentially significant storm system arriving late Wednesday and lasting through early Friday morning.
  • Snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain are possible across the entire region Wednesday and Thursday night.
  • A Winter Storm Watch could be issued later Tuesday.

Power Outages

  • As of noon, there are approximately 145,000 Kentucky customers without power, with numerous counties reporting downed trees.
  • There are widespread power outages across the Flemingsburg, Jackson and Pikeville highway districts. Multiple Kentucky Transportation Cabinet maintenance facilities in eastern Kentucky are also without power. Arrangements are being made to transport fuel for crew vehicles that have lost access to pumping stations. Power outages have also impacted traffic signals. Treat any dark signals as a four-way stop.
  • Clearing downed trees will be a major task today in impacted areas. KYTC crews are being supplemented with state Division of Forestry employees and other support. Kentucky National Guard teams are on standby to clear-cut branches and brush.
  • 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.

Road Conditions

  • Kentucky Transportation Cabinet crews are treating and plowing statewide. Several eastern and northeastern counties are severely affected including Boyd, Carter, Elliott, Johnson, Lawrence, Magoffin, Menifee, Morgan and Wolfe. Major routes in those areas are passable including Interstate Highway 64, the Mountain Parkway, U.S. Highway 23, AA Highway and the main routes in urban areas, but anything else likely is blocked and still hazardous.
  • All 16 Kentucky State Police posts located throughout the commonwealth are reporting slick and hazardous road conditions. Beginning Monday evening 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.
  • Interstate Highway 65 northbound in Hart County at mile marker 58 is currently closed due to multiple vehicle collisions resulting in injuries to troopers. One collision has resulted in a fatality. The driver of a semi-truck lost control striking two KSP troopers. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene and the troopers sustained minor injuries. KSP’s Commercial Vehicle Enforcement is investigating the crash and the interstate will remain closed until further notice.
  • Kentuckians should refrain from traveling. Please stay home and allow emergency responders to do their work during this winter storm.

Wellness SupportKentucky guardsmen are providing ongoing support in a variety of counties and are on standby to support others throughout the commonwealth. Currently, guardsmen also are assisting with wellness checks and transporting those in need to warming stations and shelters.

KSP troopers are also responding to wellness checks and helping Kentuckians as needed.