As the ice explosion approaches, the governor declares a state of emergency – The Journal of the Interior

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – The major winter storm battering Kentucky, causing ice storm and winter storm warnings to be issued across much of the state, led Gov. Andy Beshear to declare a state of emergency and close state office buildings on Thursday.

“Freezing roads are extremely dangerous,” Governor Beshear said. “I am closing all office buildings in the state and asking Kentuckians to stay off the roads if possible, so crews can continue plowing and clearing the roads.”

Moderate to heavy precipitation is likely through Thursday, when it will change to a winter mix of freezing rain, ice pellets and snow, according to the National Weather Service Office in Louisville. Forecasters say significant accumulation of ice, sleet and snow will be possible through Friday morning. This means power outages and tree damage will be possible due to freezing rain, as well as difficult to impossible travel conditions Thursday through Friday morning.

Even in areas where the snow and ice are not expected to be as severe, particularly in part of southern and eastern Kentucky, a flash flood watch has been issued due to the potential for heavy rain, until to 3.5 inches in some places.

The transportation cabinet said highway crews are bracing for significant ice accumulation that will make travel difficult across most of the state through Friday. The rain that has fallen will prevent the region’s highways from being pre-treated with brine before the winter system approaches.

Crews spent the week preparing equipment and vehicles to respond to the winter weather event, according to the Cabinet. In some areas, they were advised to bring extra food, sleeping bags and clothing in case they were required to maintain snow and ice control efforts for several days.

Transportation Secretary Jim Gray has signed a formal order temporarily suspending certain restrictions on motor carriers who will be engaged in restoring power, clearing debris and delivering fuel to areas expected to be hit by an impending winter storm.

“Our firm stands ready to help ensure needed relief gets to areas that are losing power and suffering damage from flooding and ice quickly,” Gray said.

The order, which is in effect until 12:01 a.m. EST on February 15, temporarily relieves commercial drivers of maximum driving times and stops at weigh stations if they provide a response to affected areas.

“The approaching storm front is expected to be one of the most dangerous events in our recent record-breaking disaster history, due to the potential for icing buildup,” said Michael Dossett, director of Kentucky Emergency Management. “Please do everything possible to stay clear of all local and interstate roads, as travel will be extremely dangerous and efforts to rescue stranded motorists will severely limit the abilities of first responders.”

With the possibility of power outages, Kentucky Electric Co-ops are advising people to charge cell phones and power banks.

They should also carry a storm preparedness kit containing bottled water, non-perishable food, emergency blankets, first aid kit and medication, flashlights, battery operated or wind-up radio , extra batteries and toiletries.

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