Winter storm continues impacting region

(KBSI) – The U.S. National Weather Service in Paducah calls for the winter storm to continue impacting the region. Meteorologists increased snow/sleet totals along the Ohio River and decreased freezing rain amounts. Major icing from freezing rain was occurring from Murray to Madisonville to Owensboro on Thursday, according to the NWS Paducah.

Drivers who do get out Friday morning are asked to be alert for downed trees and power lines.

Highway crews have removed and trimmed back downed trees where possible. There are some sections of KY 93 in southern Lyon County, Ky. where fallen trees are near the edge of the roadway. A section of KY 274 is blocked by downed trees. Some neighboring counties have similar issues.

Several hours of work and heavy equipment will be required to remove some of the larger trees that are reported down.

Drivers are advised to use extreme caution if they venture out early Friday. Crews will be out on Friday to remove trees that have been reported on or near the roadway.

If you encounter a tree blocking the roadway, take note of the specific location using a landmark such as a house address, mile point, or nearby crossroad and report it to your local 911 call center.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear asks Kentuckians to stay off the roadways if possible as rain, snow and ice continue through Friday morning. More than 4,000 households, mostly in western Kentucky, were without power Thursday.

According to the National Weather Service, western, central and northern regions of the state are expected to receive 0.25-0.5 inches of ice.

“While this storm is not as severe as the 2009 ice storm, it is still very dangerous,” Gov. Beshear said. “Later today through Friday morning roadways will be dangerous and temperatures will be very low. So avoid late work commutes today and avoid roadways if possible.”

Significant ice accumulation is expected between the Ohio River and the Western Kentucky and Bluegrass parkways, according to the NWS.

Travel will also be impacted through Friday morning as temperatures, precipitation and snow continue to fall.

Gov. Beshear ordered Kentucky state office buildings closed Friday, Feb. 4, to help keep thousands of employees off the dangerous roadways and asked state employees to refer to guidance issued by the Kentucky Personnel Cabinet. State office buildings are also closed Thursday.

Emergency Management Response
Kentucky Emergency Management activated the State Emergency Operations Center and personnel from the Kentucky National Guard, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC), Kentucky State Police and Kentucky Department for Public Health are monitoring the situation from the center.

One warming center is open in Nelson County and more than 25 warming centers across the commonwealth are on standby.

KYTC crews began applying salt to prevent hard bonding of freezing rain to pavement where pavement temperatures permitted.

More than 2,000 Kentucky Transportation Cabinet employees and more than 1,500 pieces of equipment are activated across the state. However, KYTC Secretary Jim Gray urged the public to stay off the roads.

KYTC engineers closed the U.S. 45 Ohio River Bridge between Paducah and Brookport, Illinois, late Wednesday because of icing.

KYTC road crews, who carry chainsaws in their trucks, were having to clear downed trees in Caldwell, Christian, Hopkins and Webster counties, with help from other chainsaw crews from the Kentucky Division of Forestry.

Visit SnowKy.ky.gov for snow and ice information and GoKY.ky.gov for traffic and roadway information.

Kentuckians should be prepared for power outages and tree damage that are possible due to freezing rain. Kentuckians can follow the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on preventing carbon monoxide exposure and safety tips to prepare for and cope with the loss of power.

Wednesday, Gov. Beshear declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the major winter storm and issued an executive order to protect Kentuckians from price gouging that can occur during an emergency with goods and services like gasoline, food and household items.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Crews in District 1 continued their ice-fighting efforts Thursday. Activities are focused on salting “A” Snow Priority Routes (Interstates, parkways and 4-lane U.S. Highways) in an effort to maintain some travel through the region.

The region remains under an Ice Storm Warning through 6 a.m. on Friday with a chance of snow continuing into Friday morning.

In some counties where freezing rain has continued through the day, downed trees and power lines have required some crews to transition to cutting trees.

Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area has closed the Trace due to downed trees. The Trace is the north-south travel route connecting to KY 453/Dover Road northern entrance to LBL near the Canal Bridge just south of Grand Rivers. It also connects to U.S. 68 near the Golden Pond Visitors Center. Due to the number of downed trees and power being out at the headquarters near Golden Pond, the Trace could remain closed for several days until plans can be worked out to clear the roadway. Estimated duration is unknown.

Here is a county-by-county update on crew activities on Thursday:

  • Livingston County- Crew activities focused on plowing along U.S. 60 and KY 453.
  • Crittenden County- Crew activities focused on plowing and salting to maintain traffic on U.S. 60 and U.S. 641.
  • Lyon county- Crew reports driving lanes clear on I-24 and I-69, as well as U.S. 62. Reports of trees down in southern portion of county as freezing rain and sleet continue. Power is out at the maintenance facility.
  • Calloway County- Crew responding to numerous reports of downed trees with several hundred homes reported with out power. Both trees and limbs are sagging due to weight of accumulated ice as freezing rain continues. Calloway Fire and Rescue is assisting with tree removal.
  • Marshall County- Driving lanes in good shape along I-24, I-69, U.S. 62, and U.S. 641. However, about 150 homes are reported to be without power and there are low-hanging trees due to accumulated ice from the freezing rain. Where possible, plows are pushing downed trees off the roadway to clear travel lanes.
  • Trigg-County- Highways are in fairly good condition. However, continuing reports of downed trees have kept the crew on the move to clear highways. Contract trucks are patrolling and salting highways while the crew is focused on tree removal.
  • Graves County- Interstate 69 and the Purchase Parkway have the driving lane cleared and the crew is working on clearing the passing lane. Plows are working along U.S. 45 and KY 80 to push off slush and salt in preparation for additional snow tonight.
  • Hickman County- “A” Snow Priority Routes in good condition with B and C Routes slushy. No downed trees reported.
  • Fulton County- “A” Snow Priority Routes down to pavement with some trucks assigned to “B” and “C” Routes where slush is plowing well.
  • Crews in McCracken, Ballard, and Carlisle counties report no trees down with slush plowing well to allow highways to be salted before additional winter precipitation arrives overnight.

Counties that reported downed trees along state highways also indicated sagging trees and limbs are also an issue on county roads.

The KYTC District 1 Snow and Ice Team asks the public to avoid travel as additional sleet and snow accumulations are expected overnight Thursday. As temperatures drop into the teens overnight, any moisture remaining on the pavement is likely to refreeze and create addition hazards.

Cape Girardeau County offices and State of Missouri 32nd Judicial Circuit Court will be closed Friday, February 4 due to weather conditions.

Tuesday, Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed Executive Order 22-02 declaring a State of Emergency in Missouri and activating the Missouri National Guard in preparation for the severe winter storm forecasted to affect most of the state over the next two days, including significant accumulations of snow, sleet, and ice.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency on Wednesday in anticipation of the major winter storm.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and Illinois agency officials provided an update on preparations efforts in state for the winter storm and authorized a disaster proclamation for the winter storm effective immediately to support local government disaster response and recovery operations wherever necessary.

More than 1,800 trucks and plow equipment are ready to go statewide in Illinois. More than 100 of Illinois National Guard are on stand by to provide state police with operational support to help with stranded motorists.

The system will be prolonged with several rounds of winter weather lasting through Thursday for portions of the central U.S. A corridor of heavy ice (rain/freezing rain) accumulation is likely from Texas through the Ohio River Valley. Winter Storm Watches and Warnings are in effect for much of the areas to be affected by heavy snow and ice. In addition, the combination of snow and ice may cause hazardous road conditions.

Those places impacted by snow and or ice are expected to have temperatures remain below freezing and well below average for at least a couple of days after the wintry precipitation ends. The cold temperatures will be due an arctic high pressure in the front’s wake. This high pressure will send very frigid air down the Plains between Wednesday and Friday. As a result, high temperatures for many places across the Plains will be between 15-25 degrees below average during this period. Therefore, the public is encouraged to plan now for prolonged hazardous winter weather conditions and disrupted travel.

“Severe winter weather isn’t something we are strangers to here in the State of Missouri, but we must be prepared for the worst,” Governor Parson said. “By signing this Order, we enable our emergency management professionals to have every tool and resource available to aid Missourians, protect lives, and respond to this winter storm. We encourage all Missourians to be vigilant and take precautions to avoid hazardous road conditions and keep themselves and their families safe.”

Executive Order 22-02 activates the State Emergency Operations Plan, which allows state agencies to assist local jurisdictions with emergency preparation and response. In anticipation of potential travel disruptions, members of the Missouri National Guard are activated to be positioned around the state and assist the Missouri State Highway Patrol with stranded motorists if the need arises.

The National Weather Service is forecasting central Missouri could see localized amounts of 8-15 inches in accumulation.

The Missouri State Emergency Management Agency is working with the National Weather Service (NWS), the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), and the Missouri State Highway Patrol to coordinate response as well as plan for potential resource requests. The State Emergency Operations Center will activate at a Level 3 at 5 p.m. Tuesday night, with key personnel on duty overnight, including an embedded NWS meteorologist.

A list of precautionary measures Missourians should take to stay safe during extreme winter weather is below:

  • Follow their local weather forecast for updates, along with news coverage of local conditions and the MoDOT Traveler Information Map.
  • Avoid travel if at all possible over the next couple days.
  • If travel is necessary, allow extra time, slow down, and increase following distance. Ensure the gas tank is full, dress appropriately for the conditions, and have an emergency kit that contains snacks, water, phone chargers, blankets, flashlights, etc.
  • If stranded, plan for potential response delays. Stay in the vehicle while waiting for help.
  • Beware of black ice, particularly on bridges and overpasses as well as other elevated surfaces.
  • Regularly check on the elderly and those who may need additional help.
  • Missourians can learn more winter weather safety tips at www.mo.gov/winter-weather-safety. To stay up to date on changing roads conditions, visit MoDOT’s Traveler Map at traveler.modot.org/map/.

Executive Order 22-02 will terminate on March 3, 2022, unless otherwise extended. To view Executive Order 22-02, tap here.

Kentucky Transportation Secretary Jim Gray signed an official order temporarily suspending certain restrictions on motor carriers that will be engaged in restoring power, removing debris and delivering fuel to areas expected to be stricken by an approaching winter storm.

The order is effective through 11:01 p.m. on Feb. 14, 2022. It temporarily relieves commercial drivers from maximum driving times and weigh station stops if providing response to affected areas.

In addition, the order authorizes the Transportation Cabinet’s Department of Vehicle Regulation to waive permit fees for overweight/over-dimensional vehicles. To ensure the safety of the traveling public, carriers must comply with safety requirements and have a copy of the order in the truck cab if operating under the authority of the official order.

Tips to stay warm is the power goes out.

  • Close blinds or curtains to keep in some heat.
  • Close off rooms to avoid wasting heat.
  • Wear layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing.
  • Eat and drink. Food provides energy to warm the body. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors.

There are several warming shelters available in New Madrid County for those who need a warm place to stay.

  • Parma – No shelter at this time
  • Risco – TBD; however maybe Gym or Community Center
  • Gideon – Community Building
    109 Main St, Gideon, MO 63848
  • Matthews – Big Prairie Jaycee building
    400 S Calvin Ave, Matthews, MO 63867
    Phone: (573) 481-0088
  • New Madrid – Mill Street Community Building
    1199 Mill Street, New Madrid, MO 63869
  • Morehouse – TBD; however maybe Fire station
    113 East Beech Street, Morehouse, MO 63868
  • Lilbourn – VFW Post 1183
    301 S 4th St, Lilbourn, MO 63862
  • Portageville – First Church of God
    500 King Ave, Portageville, MO 63873
  • Sikeston – Old Fisherman’s Net
    915 S Kingshighway St Sikeston, MO 63801

Check roads conditions before heading out to travel.

Missouri – MoDOT Traveler Information Map

Illinois – IDOT Winter Conditions Map

Kentucky – KYTC map

Kentucky travelers can also visit snowKY.ky.gov for traffic info, priority route maps and winter safety tips.

Categories: News, Weather