5:18pm

Mon March 3, 2014
The Commonwealth

Late Winter Storm Closes Schools, Challenges Utilities and Road Crews

As wintry weather moved across Kentucky, some areas of the Commonwealth received as much as four inches of snow. On Monday morning roadways  were slick and snow-covered in many areas, even after snow plows went through. 

Credit Stu Johnson

State police continued to urge drivers to use caution while school districts across the state canceled classes for the day.

A predicted ice storm can cause shivers for those responsible for powering homes and businesses across the state, but this week's end-of-season blast carried more snow than ice.

Kentucky Utilities and its power partners provide electricity from five western Virginia counties to the Mississippi River.  KU spokesman Cliff Feltham says the threat of an ice storm produced significant concern, “It appears that the ice that was forecast, while some of it fell, it was not enough to cause us a lot of serious problems."

In fact, there was little ice accumulation on trees or power lines.  Feltham says about 500 customers lost power at one point or another.  Compare that to 2009’s event when metal electrical towers bowed to the ground and 400 thousand were without power.  

Feltham says it’s a totally different feeling this time, saying it's been one of the strangest winding-downs he's ever seen.  "Usually the winding down is getting that last person back on.  In this case, we’ll get a last person back on, but it will be a last person out of the remaining 50 as opposed to the remaining ten thousand," said Feltham.

While Lexington has had its share of icy roads during the past few months, it's salt supplies are apparently holding up.  Streets and Roads Deputy Director Rob Allen says, despite this winter's demands, there’s still a reserve. 

He doesn’t foresee running out of salt anytime soon, saying it’s always a risk, but not for this event.  "If we got a whole bunch more snow continuing, then we might have to worry about the supply, but right now we’re doing OK,” said Allen.

Allen says trucks and their drivers endure a lot of physical banging around during the snow removal runs.  He says the equipment is holding up well, so far, with just one chipped truck plow.