Lexington spends Sunday preparing for winter storm

LEXINGTON Ky. (WKYT) - Many people have changed their travel plans today, trying to avoid becoming stuck in the middle of a snow and ice storm. Lexington road crews are out in full force to keep the roads as safe as possible.

"We're all doing that Jedi mind trick. We don't want snow. We don't want ice or whatever," Rob Allen, of Lexington Streets and Roads, says.

But the rain doesn't allow road crews to get ahead of the storm like they need to.

"We can't with it being a rain event. The brine washes off and we don't want to waste the salt until it actively gets here. Actually, I can feel it now. The temperature is starting to drop even more," Allen says.

Main roads, like Man O War have to wait until snow starts to fall because they are heavily traveled, according to Streets and Roads. But crews have been in this afternoon pretreating back country roads and neighborhoods with salt.

"We're used to it. We gripe and grumble, but we can go from potholes, to snow, to trees, to whatever we need to do,” Allen says. “That's our thing; is to be trained and be prepared."

Despite the harsh winter, their salt supply is holding up. But if this were the last winter weather event, road crews wouldn't complain... and neither would we.

Earlier today Mayor Jim Gray called a two-hour delay for all city employees for tomorrow morning, except for those working to clear the snow and ice.
Today, Lexington city leader told us that they’re prepared to face the storm. They say they’ve brought in extra resources to make sure they can respond to whatever the icy weather throws at them.

As this late winter snow, sleet, and ice storm bears down on the Bluegrass, Lexington mayor Jim Gray isn't flinching.

"We have planned for this. We have marshaled city resources and are working with community partners. We are prepared," Gray says.

City road crews reported in at 12:00p.m. today. They couldn't do any pre-treating this morning because of the heavy rain, but when the time comes, they say they'll have no shortage of salt. The city has 3,800 tons of salt with 1,329 on the way.

Kentucky Utilities officials say they're working to stay ahead of the storm as well. They say about 500 people are coming from out of state to help out if needed. They'll be staging in Louisville. KU officials say they're applying lessons learned from past storms.

"It's a much more efficient system this time around, at least in communication, which means it's going to be a faster restoration than it was in 2003," Gray said.

The mayor says one thing that will help crews is that the surface temperature of a lot of these roads is above freezing because of the warmer temperatures we've had.

Lexington Police say they'll have extra officers standing by focusing on the interstates. They also have extra communications staff in case they start getting a lot more calls. The mayor says, while the city is prepared, it won't be a cakewalk.

"You don't declare victory prematurely. This means that we are on alert. It doesn't mean that things are going to be perfect,” Gray said. “That's why we're here today."

Not only is Lexington feeling this harsh winter storm, but all of Kentucky are feeling the impact.

Close to the interstate traffic is still moving along and drivers aren't up against the sleet and icy roads just yet.

The Madison County Emergency Operations Center, now temporarily located in Berea, is preparing for the winter storm. They've set up three different shifts to cover a span of about 36 hours if need be.

They'll be monitoring the conditions, as well as power outages, and allocating emergency personnel around the county, all from the temporary location because of renovations beginning at the primary emergency operations center in Richmond.

“We always had this place set up to be able to communicate, activate sirens, activate our AAR's, our advisor radios in the homes. To be able to deal with the press, cause that's the best way to get our message out, is through the press,” said Carl Richards, Director of Madison County Emergency Operations Center.

As the weather gets worse, on of the biggest messages is to encourage folks not to call 911, unless its an actual emergency. Instead, the Kentucky State Police recommend checking out 511.ky.gov for road conditions.

And of course, WKYT.com for the latest on the weather conditions.


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