WKYT team coverage of power outages, road conditions
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Our WKYT team is out and about tracking road conditions and power outages as round three of winter weather rolls across Kentucky.
This story will update as our crews send in more information.
Lexington (Thursday afternoon update)
Despite all of the snow and ice, Lexington had managed to avoid the worst of this weather. That changed this morning when a parking garage collapsed. Thankfully, no one was hurt.
That collapse happened when no one was around at a parking garage on High Street.
“We got a call a little bit after 5 o’clock this morning that there was a fault in the BB&T parking structure,” said Ross Boggess with Webb Companies.
The parking garage is owned by the Webb Companies and they say a couple of spans failed. They believe the snow and ice that had built up caused it.
Shortly after noon, they had already started bringing in equipment to secure the site.
The snow has also impacted a few businesses. Earlier this week the owners of Bourbon and Toulouse decided to cancel their Fat Tuesday plans. And the people at Cup of Commonwealth say they had to close a few of their locations during the worst of the snow. But their store downtown was able to stay open.
Overnight, Lexington police only worked four accidents, but things picked up during the day. They say from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. they had 14 collisions and 37 calls for assistance from drivers.
Mayor Linda Gorton also ended the Snow Emergency for the Lexington, effective at 4 p.m. today. Gorton declared the Snow Emergency at 6 p.m., Feb. 15, so the city could clear the snow off of major streets.
A snow emergency requires citizens to move cars parked on Snow Emergency Routes. LexPark opened downtown public parking garages to free parking at the beginning of the Snow Emergency.
Free parking will continue until 4 a.m., Friday, February 19.
The city has also opened up some warming centers at the Dunbar Center and the Lexington Senior Center for those who need them. They’ll be open from 9-7.
Lexington canceled garbage pickup for Thursday. They’ve been doing this since Monday, at first announcing makeup dates, but, now, they’ve just canceled them.
Madison County (Thursday afternoon update)
In Berea and southern Madison County, many were people in the dark from the storm earlier this week.
We saw many people at an area gas station filling up gas containers to get ahead of this round of snow. One man had two containers that he was filling up for his generator. He’s been without power since Monday and says he was told it could be next week before he gets it back. So, he was spending nearly $100 to keep his family warm and comfortable.
“It does it gets very pricey. I couldn’t find any refill stations so I spent over $70 for propane today and I’m getting ready to spend about 40 to 50 bucks in gasoline and fill my truck up with diesel will be another $47,” Lester Bullens said.
In total, just under 500 customers in all of Madison County are in the dark. That number is actually down a bit from what it was yesterday evening.
Conditions went downhill fast when the snow started last night. The road covered quickly, and it did this for several hours in the evening and night.
KYTC District 7 says crews in central Kentucky are improving and some counties are already working on treating their “C” routes.
Richmond Mayor Robert Blythe says people are complying with the city’s request to please stay home. The mayor says city employees probably would have had a hard time getting to work this morning, that’s why the courthouse and city hall are closed.
The three power providers servicing this area are not showing many power outages for Richmond which is a good thing. But some residents have voiced concerns about snow trucks pushing snow into their driveways as they clear the streets.
Mayor Blythe says city crews are working as quickly as they can to handle this situation.
“They need to be appreciated because they’re away from their families,” Mayor Blythe said. “That department is working 24/7. We need to let them know that we appreciate what they’re doing so that we can even be out here right now.”
The mayor is asking people to please be patient as crews work clear snow from certain areas. He says anyone who needs help can call the city.
While major roads are clear in Madison County, a lot of roads in Jackson County have been blocked since Monday. Richmond is sending emergency crews there tomorrow to help cut down trees and clear the roads.
Laurel County (Thursday afternoon update)
Jackson Energy crews were very busy today in the Keavy community, focusing their work Thursday morning and afternoon on Kentucky 552 and Sasser School Road. In fact on 552, it’s been a complicated job of replacing at least multiple poles.
Crews from Jackson Energy spent most of Thursday repairing broken pole. Some in Keavy haven’t had electricity since Monday night. Some have spent time in hotels, some will sit in their warm trucks and cars waiting for the power to come back on.
“They just have to get to us, we have a pole down up here. That’s not going to be the first job they will do. Probably the last. So, they will get to it,” Donley Hall said.
“We have been trying to figure out what we are going to do. I’m sure we can make it back but when we get there we don’t know what we are going to do,” Kermit Sizemore said.
Road conditions are not terrible here and the main roads are clear including the interstate, which is seeing almost a normal flow and even speed of traffic, but police say that can lead to problems when people get a little too overconfident.
Jackson Energy reports about 2,900 people without electricity in Laurel County, which is down from about 4,000 on Wednesday.
Rockcastle County (Thursday afternoon update)
In Rockcastle County, just under 3,000 customers are in the dark still.
The majority are Jackson Energy customers. The company says Rockcastle, as well as Laurel and Jackson counties, have the highest outages in our service area.
Crews from neighboring co-ops that have established restoration in their areas are coming to help here.
The middle school is open as a warming shelter for families in this area who do not have ways to heat their home and be comfortable while they wait for the lights to come back on. A small bit of celebration broke out this morning when about a dozen people were able to leave because they got their power back.
Jackson Energy says in their service area, Rockcastle, Laurel and Jackson counties were some of the hardest hit.
The good news is Wednesday night’s snow did not cause further outages or delays, and the number of people in the dark goes down by the hour. Shelter organizers are hopeful they’ll be able to close it down by Friday, but will help people as long as they are needed.
Rowan County (Thursday afternoon update)
While roads are getting cleared and power is getting restored across Rowan County, the weight of three winter storms is now starting to take a toll.
Early Thursday morning, the roof of Carpet Mart off Flemingsburg Road in Morehead collapsed in on itself. According to owner Gary Breeze, ice, sleet, and more snowfall from the past three winter storms are to blame for putting too much weight on the roof.
Fortunately, no one was inside at the time and all utilities were shut off for safety.
While Breeze says this loss is devastating to their business, they are now waiting for insurance and inspectors to come so they can get inside and start repairs as soon as possible.
“I know it’s not safe, but for us to go in and do some things we have to find out first because of a lot of things we need to move out like samples and so forth inside has gotta be moved out and then we have to find a way to tare it down and start over,” Breeze said.
Now, unfortunately, owners say they will be closed for quite a while while they make these repairs, but they still can get current jobs done as their back warehouse is undamaged.
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