Winter Storm Hammers
Western Kentucky With Over A Foot
A late winter storm dumped more snow that expected across the region overnight Wednesday. The storm, which was named "Thor" by the National Weather Service, roared in late Wednesday afternoon on the heels of heavy rain, beginning with a period of heavy sleet. Most areas of western Kentucky were hit with over a foot of snow, with some areas seeing as much as 17 to 18 inches.
State and county roads were virtually impassable in the wake of the storm, with major thoroughfares also having their shares of problems. Interstate 24 was closed from the 86 mile marker in Christian County to the 16 mile marker in McCracken County. There were also problems reported on Interstate 69, the Pennyrile Parkway, and the Western Kentucky Parkway.
The snow came after many areas received as much as an inch of sleet before the snow began to fall.
Preliminary snowfall totals:
(some reports from spotters and some from Facebook fans)
Golden Pond: 15-inches
Morton's Gap: 19-inches
Calvert City: 14-inches
Central City: 17-inches
West Paducah: 12-inches
During a Thursday morning interview with the News Edge, Rick Shanklin with the National Weather Service said this winter storm will likely go down as one of the five biggest in western Kentucky history.
Governor Steve Beshear has declared a state of emergency for the Commonwealth – the second such declaration in less than a month. “Two significant winter storms nearly back-to-back are rare in Kentucky, and pose a challenge for our emergency management teams, road crews and local emergency responders. This emergency declaration will allow us to deploy any needed state assistance, including National Guard troops if necessary, without delay,” said Gov. Beshear.
Snow continues to accumulate, approaching up to 20 inches in some parts of Kentucky. Rain and sleet preceded the snow, making pre-treating roads impossible. Road crews working to clear highways and interstates were hampered by the fast-falling snow, which re-covered roads almost as quickly as they were plowed. As a result, roads across the state are in poor to treacherous condition.
The statewide declaration allows local officials immediate access to state resources to assist in public safety and recovery efforts. A separate emergency order will alleviate certain trucking restrictions so that vehicles carrying emergency supplies may travel through the state more quickly.
Gov. Beshear and state officials remind drivers that it is extremely important to avoid travel if possible so road crews can salt and plow interstates and major highways. He encouraged citizens to check on elderly neighbors.
The storm brings other dangers as well. Yesterday’s warm temperatures, snow melt and rain caused flooding in several areas before the snow began to fall. Heavy snow accumulations may also cause power outages or roof collapses.
A statewide emergency declaration does not create mandatory closings for schools or businesses. Kentuckians should monitor local media for announcements of school or work closings. Employees should consult their employers’ policies regarding inclement weather for guidance on attendance or leave time.
The Commonwealth Emergency Operations Center, located in Frankfort, remains activated with additional staffing from Kentucky Emergency Management, KYNG, state cabinets and volunteer organizations monitoring the situation, fielding calls and responding to requests for assistance. The National Guard has been activated to several locations to support emergency response efforts.