Big Sandy Region Hit Hard With Ice

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

Thousands do not have power and hundreds of roads are still closed after a winter storm sweeps through Kentucky.

Officials say ice and fallen trees are causing major problems in the Big Sandy region.

Johnson County officials declared a state of emergency there and are setting up shelters to help people.

Thousands do not have power in Johnson County, so many are coming to a shelter at the Paintsville Recreation Center for a place to eat, sleep, and stay warm, while outside, crews are working to restore power and clear the roads.

The two inches of ice knocked down power lines and trees all over the county.

“You could just hear the trees, they were breaking in the hills all around me. I was scared to death,” Anita Meeks said.

Anita Meeks is just one of eight thousand who lost power.

She is staying warm at the shelter in the Paintsville Recreation Center, but getting there was hard.

Road Superintendents say fallen trees are covering three fourths of the county roads.

Some emergency responders say this is the worst situation they've seen in the county.

Paintsville 911 dispatchers answered more than one thousand calls for help.

“It's been a hectic 24 hours for us. It ranges from one thing to another,” Gary McClure, Emergency Management Director said.

200 power and road workers are cutting trees, clearing roads, and repairing lines.

“We're working with all these folks trying to work through these problems. We need to be patient. It's going to take some time,” McClure said.

Officials say it may be Saturday before the power is back.

The shelter is open to anyone who needs it. They just ask you to bring your own pillows, blankets, and any medication you need.

The power outages are also making life difficult for folks in Martin County, Kentucky but they are also dealing with no water.

Two power poles going to the water plant broke during the storm Tuesday night.

That shut off water to thousands of homes.

The county's emergency services workers checked on the elderly to make sure they're alright and even gave some of them rides to the senior center.

That is where there is plenty of food and even bottled water for folks to take home.

About 75 percent of the people who live in the county do not have electricity so the help is greatly needed.

Again, anyone in Martin County who needs help, whether it's a place to stay or a hot meal, just head over to the Martin County Senior Center.

The story was the same in Floyd County.

Clean-up and power crews were out in full force battling the winter mess.

Workers spent the day removing trees and debris from roadways, as well as repairing downed power lines.

“Don't get around these areas until we've got a chance to clear them because not only for the trees but for power lines it is very very important,” Floyd County Judge Executive R.D. Doc Marshall said.

Crews say they are working into the evening to clear the roads and downed lines.


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  • by Wife of a dedicated power co employee Location: pikeville,ky on Jan 30, 2009 at 02:59 PM
    I agree with the wife who has a husband that works as a lineman.These hard working dedicated men can only do so much so fast.The first night of the power outage a lineman was nearly hit by a fallen tree in the dark while up on a pole.These trees dont have eyes,its dangerous enough in the daylight much less at night.Spend several days in the cold doing what these gentleman do and you'll have a different outlook on what they go through.Besides the forecasters said the ice was coming,should be prepared for outages.
  • by Johnson on Jan 30, 2009 at 11:58 AM
    Told I'll be without power for a week...Thought we learned something from Katrina. Obama has no right to critcize Bush over Katrina now... The Chosen One has already failed the american people.
  • by Shirley Location: Prestonsburg on Jan 30, 2009 at 11:37 AM
    We also recieved a lot of ice on Meade Branch of Abbott.There are more than 20 families on Meade Branch without power.There are damaged/down trees,power lines on the ground and damaged power poles.We have been without power since Tuesday and no idea as to when we will have power restored.We had no phone service initally,but we now have phone service restored.All we can do is pray that God will watch over the less fortunate and the utility workers.
  • by Wife who hasn't seen lineman husband since Tues. AM Location: Eastern KY on Jan 30, 2009 at 11:09 AM
    To Jason in Paintsville...there have been men working 24 hours a day for both AEP & RECC to get the power back on since this ordeal started. Power lines can only be built to withstand 1/4" of ice that doesn't include the damage they suffer from fallen trees and branches. There are over 100 poles broken not including the lines that have been torn down. On average, one crew of men can replace maybe 3-4 poles a day (that's if they can get their equipment to it). Often they have to hike up the hills to find the problem. God bless the men/women who are working to get the power back on...they shouldn't have to put up w/ungrateful people like you who don't have an appreciation for what you have to begin with. As for your power being cut off over an unpaid bill...get off your lazy derriere and pay your bill on time and there won't be a problem...if you can't pay it, you should make arrangements BEFORE the day it is due.
  • by anixous Location: Floyd on Jan 30, 2009 at 05:29 AM
    Some areas in Floyd County are going on 72 hours without power. Looks like most of the Big Sandy Region was hit. Maybe the power companies will get more done now that backup from other states have arrived.
  • by Willa Location: Paintsville on Jan 30, 2009 at 04:14 AM
    Maybe we could call Bunning unless he's to busy with baseball.
  • by jason Location: paintsville on Jan 29, 2009 at 08:37 PM
    well the power company don't care about the people here....they were going home the first night at 7:30 live power line on peoples house and care with people in them...all they had to say was we will be out tommorow to help........we see how these guys work...........but if you need to wait to tommorow to pay the bill they can't wait they will be out to turn you off....but they are good guys.....(good for seting on there butts)
  • by Johnny Location: Paintsville on Jan 29, 2009 at 07:01 PM
    I'm assuming Jessica didn't lose electricity...unlike some of us who are still waiting for it to come back on.
  • by beth Location: paintsville on Jan 29, 2009 at 09:47 AM
    it is bad trees are laying on power lines my family and i stayed in a motel until our power came back on this morning my husband works for the cable company here and they are working with power companys to help remove trees and it takes time..
  • by truley Location: paintsville on Jan 29, 2009 at 09:26 AM
    Hey Jessica, Mitch is NOT God. Sorry U can't blame this storm on the Republicians, if U could I'd blame some on the Dems
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