NewsCovering Kentucky


Danville utilities, residents hope to avoid repeat of 2009 ice storm

Posted at 11:41 PM, Feb 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-09 23:41:42-05

DANVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — If you utter the words "ice storm" in central Kentucky, you may find yourself shivering at the memories of the infamous winter storm in 2009 that wreaked havoc on the roads and left tens of thousands of customers without power.

As Kentuckians brace for the threat of an ice storm this week, those memories could inform how people prepare this time around.

Dan Hitchcock, the vice president of communications and member services at Inter-County Energy, told LEX 18 that while his company--which is based in Danville--is getting trucks ready and crews on standby, it's hard to fully prepare for a weather event before it hits.

"What happens is [the ice] will accumulate on the lines and that'll weigh them down," he said. "And if we get too much as they weigh them down, it will put pressure on the utility poles and then that could have a devastating effect because they could break those poles."

That is exactly what happened in 2009.

Hitchcock said the ice storm in 2009 resulted in 400 broken poles and nearly 25,000 power outages across Inter-County Energy's coverage area, which includes 12 counties.

"Some [customers] were out a couple days," Hitchcock said. "Some were out a couple weeks."

Jack Judy, who owns Kentucky Emergency Power, also based in Danville, said he was without power for 18 days after the ice storm hit Kentucky.

"We hunkered down and we had a small generator," he recalled. "We were able to keep what we needed to survive."

Within the last 24 hours, Judy said he has fielded a lot of calls from people hoping to get generators installed before the weather deteriorates.

"I don't know how many customers have mentioned, 'Oh, I remember that ice storm,'" he said. "So it's a common subject when I talk to customers about new generator installations."

Judy said crews will be working all day Wednesday to try to meet customers' needs.

"It's just a race against time," he said.