Snow blasted through Central Kentucky Monday morning, tapered off by lunch time, then picked up again. By Tuesday afternoon, the area is expected to have about 6 inches on the ground.
While a band of moderate to heavy snow fell early Monday in parts of Eastern Kentucky, other places in the east had only trace amounts. Just after 1 p.m., parts of Rowan and Fleming counties had up to 5 inches on the ground, while Pikeville had no snow.
By Tuesday morning, parts of Eastern Kentucky north of Interstate 64 are expected to have 5 to 10 inches of snow, while areas along the Virginia border in the south are expected to have only 1 to 3 inches, according to the National Weather Service.
"They're the ones that usually get all the snow. That's just the exact opposite," said Tony Edwards, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Jackson, who was talking about the southeastern counties.
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The weather forced many schools, including colleges and universities, to cancel classes for the day or evening Monday. The University of Kentucky canceled classes that begin at 5 p.m. or later. Morehead State University closed at noon.
The snow has made for slow traveling, but by 1:30 p.m. Monday, there had been no reports of major accidents in Central and Eastern Kentucky, just a few reports of vehicles sliding off roadways.
Lexington police worked 25 to 30 non-injury accidents and two to three other accidents in which minor injuries were involved through the Monday morning rush hour, said Lexington police Lt. Douglas Pape.
"People have really stayed off the roadways for the most part," he said Monday afternoon. "The main roads are not bad. The side roads are still horrendous."
Falling temperatures throughout the area suggest roads might be in worse condition later Monday.
"There's some gusty winds on the backside of this," said Angie Lese, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Louisville. "There may be some blowing and drifting of snow."
Winds were gusting as high as 30 mph in the Lexington area early Monday and as high as 35 mph in Eastern Kentucky. Blowing snow was causing problems in some parts of Eastern Kentucky early Monday afternoon, Edwards said.
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet crews and state contract workers were treating and plowing roads in most counties Monday morning, according to the cabinet. In some areas, snow covered the roads faster than they could be plowed.
Operating hours for SAFE Patrol, 1-877-367-5982, the cabinet's motorist assistance service, were extended.
In Lexington, road crews began preparing for the storm early Sunday and were working continuously in 12-hour shifts, said Sam Williams, director of the local government's Division of Streets, Roads and Forestry.
"We've got everybody out working this morning," he said Monday. "The snow didn't get started until about 5 or a little after. It kind of came in pretty tense right there before the morning commute."
The local department treats and plows streets and roads inside New Circle Road, including state routes. It also handles Man o' War Boulevard and some county roads outside New Circle Road.
"The trucks were out pretreating yesterday and last evening," Williams said. "As the storm approached, we started pre-treating with salt. We're plowing now," he said about 10 a.m. Monday.
He said Lexington's main streets were beginning to shape up.
The local government had about 40 trucks treating and plowing roads, and moving slush off streets to keep storm drains clear, Williams said. Local streets and roads are treated and plowed based on where they fit on an established priority list.
Lexington is "sitting comfortably today" with its salt supply. Salt shipments are expected mid-week, he said.
With radiant heat from sunlight and chemicals on the streets and roads, drivers should see a big difference in the next few hours, he said.
"Sun is the best friend we've got," he said. "The biggest thing I see going forward is the wind is going to cause some drifting problems, particularly on roads out in the county."
Eastern Kentucky can expect snow showers off and on through Thursday, Edwards said.
Temperatures aren't expected to get above the mid-20s Monday in Central Kentucky, with overnight lows in the mid-teens, Lese said. Much the same is expected in Eastern Kentucky: overnight temperatures in the high teens to about 20 degrees Monday night, Edwards said.