Ice is not so nice

December 23, 2004|TODD KLEFFMAN

Winter spared central Kentucky much of the wrath it visited upon areas to the west and north, leaving officials and residents with some minor headaches today but not the major icy hangover many expected.

"We were geared up pretty good, but we got lucky for the most part," Trooper Chris Lanham of the Kentucky State Post in Richmond said this morning. "Mostly what we're dealing with is minor traffic accidents, just a few fender-benders."

Boyle and surrounding counties were hit with about an inch of ice and snow that followed heavy rains. Most roads were slick but passable this morning. Power outages and loss of land-line phone service was reported in spots throughout the five-county area.

With the area surviving the winter threat relatively unscathed, officials were turning their concerns Thursday to the bitterly cold temperatures expected to last through the weekend. Sub-freezing temperatures will make it difficult for road crews to keep the highways clear for holiday motorists and icy trees and utility lines will continue to interrupt power service, officials said.


"Our concern is the dropping temperatures will not allow much of the ice to melt and could cause future outages around the system as heavy limbs break under the pressure of the ice, " said Jim Jacobus, president of Inter-County Energy.

About 1,500 lost power

About 1,500 Inter-County customers in Mercer, Lincoln, Casey and Garrard counties lost power overnight Wednesday and into this morning, Jacobus said. Crews started work about 10 p.m. Wednesday and will remain on the job around the clock fixing trouble areas, he said.

The heavy rain made salt brine treatment ineffective, allowing ice to bond to roadways overnight. Rock salt with a heavy concentration of calcium chloride was being applied this morning, followed by snow plows," said David Thacker, spokesman for the state Highway Department offices in Lexington.

"The calcium chloride will melt it and our plows will scrape it off the roads, but with the temperatures like they are the leftover water will re-freeze, so we're going to have to stay on it constantly, around the clock," Thacker said.

State primary routes like U.S. 127 and U.S. 27 will receive the most attention, with some crews shifting to secondary state routes as the main thoroughfares begin to be cleared up, Thacker said.

Lanham said the roads will remain slick and treacherous in spots for several days and urged drivers to slow down, increase the distance between other vehicles and allow plenty of time to reach destinations. Bridges will remain dangerous and runoff from the heavy rains will create unexpected icy patches, he said.

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