- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Gov. Steve Beshear has declared Kentucky to be in a state of emergency because of the winter storm that continues to rage across Shelby County throughout the state.
Beshear held a press conference to make his announcement and said in a statement that
his declaring the emergency will assure assistance and protection by mobilizing state resources to assist cities and counties, doing everything possible to ensure the safety and well-being of its residents.
"We are prepared to use every available resource to help Kentuckians make it
through these rough conditions, whatever may come," he said.
The storm that prompted the governor's action hit Shelby County with a
vengeance Tuesday morning, when residents awoke to find their world covered
by a layer of snow and ice.
And the National Weather Service predicted the arrival of a "significant ice storm" by today for the northern sections of north central and east central Kentucky, with potentially destructive icing, the possibility of further power outages and
extremely hazardous travel.
Slyvia Russell, a secretary at Shelby County Public Schools, said Tuesday
that even though the forecast was dire, it is the practice to assess the
school situation early in the morning. She advises listening to local
broadcast media or visiting www.schoolsout.com on Wednesday morning to check on the status of school closings.
Schools were closed Monday and Tuesday, and a portion of U.S. 60 was shut down because of a downed utility pole that cut service to customers in Western Shelby County.
The governor's office reported that much of the commonwealth encrusted in ice and snow today, and some 60,000 Kentuckians were reported without power Tuesday
afternoon, mostly in western Kentucky. Outage reports have come mostly west of Interstate 65 and south of I-64.
Power outage in West Shelby
Simpsonville Police Chief Scott Chappell said a Kentucky Utilities pole fell across U.S. 60 just east of Simpsonville because of the storm, leaving a portion of the city without power from 2 a.m. to 7:45 a.m.
"About half the town was out from the Citgo station on," he said.
Chappell said crews had managed to clear one lane of wires that come down near Fields
Lane. And though power has been restored to some residents, some KU customers of the western part of the county remained without power into Tuesday evening.
Shelby County was hit with about four inches of snow on Tuesday, followed by
a layer of ice, and Shelby County Roads Supervisor Carl Henry said Tuesday that he and his crew of 16, who have been working 12-hour shifts, were getting ready for another
wave of freezing weather to blow in.
"We have been plowing and salting all night and all day today, and we will
be at it all night tonight, too," he said.
Henry said that the salt put down by his crew, in addition to brine that
they put down last week, has really helped make the roads passable.
"It's not too bad right now with the temperatures up near 25 degrees, but
when it gets down tonight, it's going to be nasty," he said. "But we are
ready and we have a fresh crew coming in at midnight to take over."
Brian Romine, Simpsonville Publics Works Director, said Tuesday that in that
city, except for the situation with the utility pole, the roads, though
nasty, were passable.
"We've been out since 2 o'clock in the morning, and we've already plowed and
salted the city twice," he said "Our salt spreader was malfunctioning last
week, and we just got it fixed -- talk about good timing."
Romine said Tuesday afternoon that he and his fleet of two salt trucks and
plows were preparing to salt the city again. "We're going to keep at it," he said.
Shelbyville Public Works could not be reached for comment, no doubt because its crews were busy with their own salting and plowing schedules, but the combined efforts of city
and county crews have paid off so far, as no serious accidents had been
Sherry Allen with Shelby County Central Dispatch said Tuesday afternoon that
so far, 17 accidents had occurred during the storm, and all of them were on
the interstate. What's more, none of them were serious, she said.
"No one was killed or badly hurt, so that's amazing."
Gov. Beshear said primary areas of concern are roads, electric power,
heating assistance and shelter. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet road
crews worked through the night and Tuesday to keep main routes at least
Crews have been hampered by downed trees and sagging power lines in many areas, especially in the Jackson Purchase and Pennyrile. At one point this morning, plows were out in 105 counties.
Gov. Beshear said he and Transportation Secretary Joe Prather have directed
all Department of Highways district offices to contact local
government leaders to offer assistance and ensure efforts are coordinated.
Charlie Frazee, director of the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency,
said that what state assistance would mean for individual counties would be
such things as getting help from the National Guard in locating emergency
generators in the event of a prolonged county-wide power failure.
Another example would be getting help from the Red Cross in setting up emergency
shelters, or having state road crews come in to assist local crews.
"But mostly, the biggest way they would help would be in reimbursing
individual counties for unexpected expenses brought by the storm, with FEMA
[Federal Emergency Management Agency] funding," Frazee said.
With the National Weather Service's forecast of a continuing ice storm, Frazee said Emergency Management would set up an Emergency Operations Center at Central Dispatch to keep abreast of the situation.
Shelby County Fire Chief Bobby Cowherd said that so far, this storm has not
reached the proportions of the ice storm of 2003, and he hopes it stays that
"Ask me in the morning, and I hope I won't have a different opinion," he