Rain turns to freezing rain, then snowfall in Lexington on Friday

bmusgrave@herald-leader.comDecember 6, 2013 

Activities were cancelled and postponed Friday as temperatures dropped and a winter weather system entered Kentucky.

In Lexington, rain turned to freezing rain in the afternoon, then to sleet and snow in the evening. Sleet, snow and cold temperatures enveloped the state, with some parts expecting single-digit temperatures Friday night.

The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings for Western and Central Kentucky through late Friday or early Saturday. In Eastern Kentucky, a flood watch was in effect through Saturday morning. Another storm was expected Sunday.

The western and northern parts of the state received more snow. More than 3 inches of snow fell on Louisville, and Paducah reported more than 5 inches. As much as 7 inches was expected in Northern Kentucky, and warnings about flooding were issued in Eastern Kentucky.

The forecast prompted state and local crews to begin treating roads early Friday.

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, speaking Friday morning at a news conference, said the city was preparing for the worst even though the weekend weather forecast had softened in comparison to reports earlier this week. Shortly after Gray addressed the issue, local schools began announcing cancellations and postponements.

Officials delayed sports and entertainment events, as well as school and university activities.

Fayette County Public Schools sent word about 2 p.m. that all school activities, on and off campus, were cancelled through the weekend. Officials said that did not include community-sponsored events on school district property. In addition, the school system said that all SCAPA auditions scheduled for Saturday were cancelled and will be held Jan. 4.

Statewide, multiple school districts called off classes, including the state's largest district in Louisville. High School athletic officials decided to move some of the state championship football games back a day, including moving Friday night's Class 6A final between Meade County and Scott County in Bowling Green to Saturday.

At the University of Kentucky, the first and second round games of the NCAA volleyball tournament were postponed. Games scheduled for Friday will be Saturday, and the games originally scheduled for Saturday will be Sunday. The first match, No. 20 Michigan State against Ohio, will be at 2:30 p.m. Saturday; the second, Kentucky versus Duquesne, will be at 5 p.m. The winners of those matches are to play at 4 p.m. Sunday.

Lexington police had responded to 43 accidents on Friday as of 9 p.m., seven of them involving injuries.

Gray said the city's road crews and its 46 trucks were on 24-hour shifts.

Cliff Feltham, a spokesman for Kentucky Utilities, said utilities have increased staffing to prepare for the storm and any potential outages.

Albert Miller, Lexington's director of streets and roads, said the city has learned a lot since the February 2003 ice storm, which knocked out power to much of the city for days.

After that storm, the city was still clearing debris in June. After an ice storm in January 2009, the city had picked up all the debris by the end of February.

"2003 was a little bit worse, but what we learned in 2003 helped us in 2009," Miller said.

Other weather developments

Ice storm coats northern Texas: A2

High school football title game schedule, previews: B1, B4

UK's NCAA volleyball tourney schedule altered: B3

See a photo gallery online.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. Beth Musgrave (859) 231-3205. Twitter: @HLCityhall.

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