Snowfighters armed with plows, salt, chainsaws
FLEMINGSBURG, Ky. (4:30 PM, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021) – Armed with more than 75 snow plows, thousands of tons of salt, and chainsaws in every county, Kentucky Department of Highways snowfighters in northeast Kentucky are bracing for more winter storms tonight through Thursday. Officials urge Kentuckians to plan ahead, and restrict travel.
The National Weather Service expects significant snow accumulations across the region with eight or more inches of snow in some areas and freezing rain or ice. The heaviest snowfall will take place Monday and Tuesday when snowfall rates may exceed 1 inch per hour. Another system, beginning Wednesday night into Thursday night, will bring an additional wintry mix across Kentucky.
Snow plow and salt truck crews – all of whom will move back to 12-hour shifts tonight in Bath, Boyd, Carter, Elliott, Fleming, Greenup, Lewis, Mason, Nicholas, and Rowan counties – will respond in force, and will concentrate on maintaining mobility on interstates, parkways and highly traveled routes.
However, with the rate of snowfall expected, snow will pile up behind plows. Highways, even major routes, likely will not be clear until after the storms pass. The arctic temperatures and frozen precipitation expected throughout the week will create slick roads. Travel is not advised.
In a statement today, Gov. Steve Beshear urged Kentuckians to prepare now for this extreme weather event.
“We need Kentuckians to prepare for another two rounds of storms bringing more snow, ice and freezing temperatures,” Gov. Beshear said. “As these storms arrive, we need Kentuckians to make a plan for their families to stay safe, warm and, if possible, off the roads.”
The potential for more downed trees and power lines adds to the hurdles crews will navigate. Even now, crews in Carter, Boyd and other counties are continuing to cut trees from roads and plow remaining snow and ice from last week while restocking salt and preparing trucks and equipment for this next round of storms.
“We took advantage of the break in the weather this weekend to replenish salt inventories in our highway district maintenance facilities,” said Transportation Secretary Jim Gray. “Our crews will be working tirelessly to clear roads of snow, but ice poses serious challenges and risks to highway safety; so I continue to urge Kentuckians to restrict travel as much as possible.”
The Transportation Cabinet also reminds Kentuckians if you must be on the roads this week, to treat a dark traffic signal as a four-way stop, reduce driving speeds and wear your seatbelt.
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.