Dash cam view of snow-covered downtown Lexington
Tuesday’s winter storm clogged roads and made travel hazardous as it slowly pushed through the state and dumped more snow than expected in some areas.
And that snow will stick around for a while.
Wednesday’s high will be 21, according to the National Weather Service, and Thursday’s high is predicted for 31.
Wednesday morning’s commute will be a chilly one, with Lexington’s temperature hitting about 6 degrees at 8 a.m. Wind chills will be below zero.
Central Kentucky school districts including Fayette, Clark, Scott, Madison, Woodford and Bourbon counties canceled classes for Wednesday, as did Eastern Kentucky University and Morehead State University. It’s the fourth day Fayette County has canceled school because of weather so far this school year.
The city announced late Tuesday that most city offices will open at 9 a.m. Wednesday because of the weather conditions. Employees will report to work on a one-hour delay.
Flurries and light snow will linger into part of the day Wednesday, with additional light coatings of snow possible, the weather service said.
From midnight to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Lexington police responded to 58 non-injury collisions and four crashes with injuries.
Tuesday marked the fifth day that Lexington’s road crews worked 12-hour shifts to clear streets and roads, and they were expected to continue overnight, city officials said. The city has 46 trucks on the road.
Environmental Quality and Public Works Commissioner Dowell Hoskins Squire said city snow plows were working to plow all rank one and rank two streets — the city’s most traveled streets — late Tuesday afternoon. After those streets are plowed, crews will move to rank three and four streets, he said. Those are major collector streets in neighborhoods such as Albany and Zandale and some neighborhood streets.
The city put waste collection on hold, saying it would resume regular collection on Wednesday.
Lexington got 3 inches of snow Tuesday, on top of 1.1 inches that fell Monday, said National Weather Service Meteorologist Ron Steve. He said other parts of Central Kentucky picked up 3 to 6 inches Tuesday.
State and Lexington police urged drivers to stay off roads if possible. Crashes repeatedly closed portions of interstates in the state Tuesday, including Interstate 65 in Hart County where a pileup included passenger cars, tractor-trailers and a Greyhound bus. It forced detours and sent injured to area hospitals, police said.
Piles of snow resulted in early closings at some banks and businesses, as well as the offices of the property valuation administrator and county clerk’s office.
In a briefing at 2:45 p.m., Lexington Mayor Gray thanked the city workers for their efforts clearing streets and city’s citizens for staying patient and cautious.
“You prepare as if it’s going to be a forecast that’s not exactly perfect,” Gray said of the city’s preparations. “We know the forecast was telling us we were going to have snow. We didn’t expect quite as much as we got, but we reacted and were already on it because we had the crews working 12-hour shifts.”
An additional delivery of salt was expected Tuesday in Lexington after the Monday night city street crew used 728 tons of salt, city officials said.
Gray said Tuesday afternoon that the amount of traffic calls on Tuesday “hasn’t been out of the ordinary for an incident like this.”
Statewide, roads were dangerous for much of Tuesday.
Sgt. Keith Broughton with the Woodford County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday the roads were passable, but slick and hazardous.
“Mainly we’re just having vehicles that are sliding off of the roadway. If we’ve had any accidents, they’ve been minor,” he said.
In Anderson County, a large truck slid through an intersection and slammed into a fire station off Alton Station Road, according to The Anderson News.
The crash involving three tractor-trailers on Interstate 65 southbound in Hart County closed all lanes for many hours, according to WAVE 3.
A Greyhound bus was also involved in the crash and seven of its occupants were sent to the hospital, WAVE 3 reported. Another vehicle involved in the crash appeared to have been smashed by a tractor-trailer.
Police told WBKO that the injuries weren’t life threatening.
Traffic on the interstate was backed up for several miles, WAVE 3 reported. All lanes of the interstate opened around 3:20 p.m., nearly six hours after the crash occurred.
KSP Trooper Robert Purdy also reported hazardous driving conditions on Interstate 75 in Madison County.
There were several collisions on Interstate 75 in Central Kentucky Tuesday afternoon. The right lane of I-75 southbound was blocked temporarily due to a crash near the Ky. 418 exit, according to the transportation cabinet.
The transportation cabinet also said three lanes of I-75 northbound in Laurel County were closed due to a multi-vehicle crash near the Somerset exit. One lane remained open, it said.
There was also a collision on I-75 northbound near the Ky. 620 exit, according to LEX 18’s Jacqueline Nie. The collision involved a tractor-trailer, she said, and the roadway will be down to one lane until around 4 p.m.
A pickup truck with an overturned trailer shut down one lane of Interstate 75 in Lexington at the Athens Boonesboro Road exit, according to the Lexington Traffic Management Center.
Tuesday’s storm dumped heavy snow in Western Kentucky. Areas near Paducah received around 8 inches of snow, making interstates and roads difficult to travel, according to the National Weather Service.
It followed Friday’s storm, when 1 to 4 inches of snow fell across Kentucky.
The Office of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention Emergency Winter Weather Plan remains in effect through Thursday. Anyone wishing to report someone who may need a ride to a shelter can call or text the Catholic Action Center’s Compassionate Caravan at (859) 913-0038.
The Lexington Fire Department urged citizens to stay off frozen lakes and ponds.
“We can’t emphasize enough how dangerous it is to play or even walk on frozen bodies of water,” Lt. Jessica Bowman said. “There is no way to judge the thickness of the ice on eyesight alone and what appears to be thick enough to walk on could become thinner very quickly and break. The temperature of the water is cold enough to take your breath away, which could lead to panic and drowning.”
The city also reminded people to bring pets inside and said citizens who see animals being mistreated can call Lexington-Fayette Animal Control at 255-9033 ext. 221.
Herald-Leader reporters Trey Crumbie and Beth Musgrave contributed to this report.