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 (CEOC), located in Frankfort, remains activated with additional staffing from Kentucky Emergency Management (KYEM), 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.
Due to inclement weather, Owensboro Public Schools are closed Friday, March 6th.
— OboroPublicSchools (@OboroSchools) March 5, 2015
- Daviess County Public Schools
- Heritage Christian School
- Owensboro Catholic Schools
- Hancock County Schools
- McLean County Schools
- Ohio County Schools
- The Southern Star Winterim Concert Series at the RiverPark Center has been postponed and will be rescheduled at a later date.
- King Drug and Homecare
Kentucky State Police reports that slippery roads were the contributing factor in 26,427 crashes in 2014.
Here are a few simple steps to help keep you on the road and less stressed:
- Avoid travel unless necessary when winter weather is in your area.
- If you do have to travel, call 511 for current road conditions.
- Slow down.
- Always wear your seat belt.
- Leave early – allow more travel time; expect delays.
- Increase distance between vehicles – it takes significantly longer to stop on snow covered or icy roadways.
- Clear all windows on your vehicle prior to travel – having unobstructed vision is vital to avoid running off of the road or having a collision.
- Turn on your vehicle’s headlamps. Remove any dirt, mud or snow.
- Use caution on bridges and overpasses they are susceptible to freezing before roadways.
- Avoid using cruise control – cruise control can cause the vehicle’s wheels to continue turning on a slippery surface when speed needs to be decreased. Same goes with diesel vehicles equipped with an engine exhaust brake.
- Ensure your vehicle has a full tank of gas in the event you are stranded for an extended period of time.
- Charge your cellular phone prior to departure and keep a charger in your vehicle.
- Take a blanket.
- Notify a family member or a friend of your travel plans prior to departure – if your travel is interrupted, someone will know.
- Be patient – bad weather also limits the capabilities of law enforcement officers and emergency crews and increases response time. Also, keep in mind that they will be experiencing a high volume of requests for service.
- Attempt to move your vehicle out of the roadway if you are involved in a minor, non-injury traffic collision; especially if you are in a dangerous area such as a curve or a blind hill.
- If your vehicle is stranded or wrecked but not in the roadway, attempts to recover your vehicle will have to wait until conditions improve for safety considerations.