Whitesburg KY

Colder weather coming

County and state workers continued to clear roads Tuesday in anticipation of more snow, gusty winds and frigid temperatures.

“We’re trying to get as many roads cleared as we can today,” Letcher County Judge/Executive Jim Ward said Tuesday afternoon. “We’re doing everything we can. It’s so much snow.”

One to three more inches of snow was expected by early Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) in Jackson, with 25 miles per hour gusty winds are expected to blow around snow, causing hazardous road conditions. The forecast includes below zero temperatures on Thursday night, according to NWS in Jackson.

Eight to 12 inches of snow accumulated across Letcher County on Monday, according to the NWS in Jackson.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 12 had 73 snowplows and 11 graders on the roads early Monday morning. State workers began working 12-hour shifts, which began as of 4 p.m. on Monday.

“Aided by eight contract plow operators, D-12 snow fighters are working across the district to keep roads passable through this winter storm,” said KTC District 12 Information Officer Sara George in a press release issued Monday. “The snow is mostly a dry powder, easily plowed, but coming down in such volume that plowed driving lanes quickly become covered again.”

Employees operating two graders and nine snowplows with spreaders located on the back of the trucks have been attempting to maintain 850 miles of county roads, which include narrow roads leading to hollows, since snow began to fall Monday morning.

Three county trucks containing snowplows and spreaders got stuck Monday evening because of the deep snow, Ward said. A fourwheel drive backhoe was used to pull a county truck out of the way from blocking a road at Doty Creek. Workers tried to free the other two trucks Monday night but were unsuccessful.

“We finally gave up and quit around 1 a.m.,” said Ward.

The trucks located in Crases Branch and Millstone were freed Tuesday.

Twenty-five county employees have been working 12-hour shifts — 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. — since Monday.

“Every truck has a route,” said Ward. “If there are any emergencies, we go to that.”

Ward is advising people to have plenty of food, wall telephones, supplies and supplemental heat in case electricity goes out.

Senior citizens centers, fire departments and the Letcher County Recreation Center are ready to open for use as emergency shelters if needed, Ward said.

“We’ve got everyone on standby to open shelters,” said Ward. “Generators are ready to send.”

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