Fayette schools closed Friday; forecast turns frigid

Selah Rust, 5, played on Bell Court as a late afternoon snow shower fell in Lexington on Thursday. Mark Cornelison | Staff
Selah Rust, 5, played on Bell Court as a late afternoon snow shower fell in Lexington on Thursday. Mark Cornelison | Staff

UPDATE 10 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014: Classes at Fayette County public schools Friday were cancelled Thursday night because of "cold temperatures and deteriorating road conditions," spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall said. All afternoon and evening activities, including night school, are cancelled as well.

Snow and ice came to Central and Eastern Kentucky on Thursday as temperatures plummeted, and the forecast calls for even colder weather early next week.

WKYT Chief Meteorologist Chris Bailey said that temperatures in the single digits Thursday night into Friday would provide a preview for the possibility of subzero temperatures in Lexington early next week. [Read Chris Bailey's weather blog for the latest on Kentucky weather.]

Highs only in the teens were expected for Friday. Although temperatures were forecast in the 30s both Saturday and Sunday, a high of only 6 degrees was predicted for Monday, with a low of minus 5 degrees. Similarly, Tuesday's forecast calls for highs in the single digits and a low slightly below zero.

In southeast Kentucky early Thursday, police blamed icy roads for more than 100 traffic accidents, including one in Knox County in which a woman died.

Ruby Miles was driving on Ky. 11 south of Barbourville when her minivan slid into the guardrail, sheriff's Deputy Claude Hudson said. Miles, who wasn't injured in the initial accident, called her husband on her cellphone. As she walked up the road toward the top of a hill to meet him, another vehicle that was unable to stop on the icy road struck and killed her, Hudson said.

Five cars ultimately piled up at the spot, and three other people went to the hospital for treatment, Hudson said.

Hudson said Miles, a cook at Knox Central High School, was well-known and well-liked.

State Trooper Shaun Little said state police received about 70 reports of accidents early Thursday in the five-county area served by the Pikeville state police post.

There were 40 or more accidents in the five-county area covered by the Hazard state police post, including a couple involving troopers who slid off the road, Trooper Jody Sims said.

Police throughout the region reported a high number of wrecks, including about 25 in Harlan County, 15 in Laurel County, and at least 25 in Clay County. Most involved only minor injuries at worst.

The Hal Rogers Parkway was closed between London and Manchester for a time because of the high number of accidents, and a state Highway Department salt truck flipped over in Clay County, Sheriff Kevin Johnson said.