Emergency Management personnel activated the emergency operations center at the Danville 911 center at midnight, but despite a dose of freezing rain, the area didn’t experience the large-scale disaster some had feared.
“We dodged a bullet,” said Boyle Emergency Management Agency Director Lennie Shepperson, who spent the night at the center.
This morning when city and county officials met at the center, where response to the January 2009 ice storm was staged, the major topic of conversation was what could have happened.
“There was definitely concerns with the utility companies that if snow fell first — and they were calling for up to 4 inches — and the ice came on top of that, we could be back to where we were a year ago,” Shepperson said. “They were also predicting that the worst of it would be at the commute time.”
Wednesday was spent making plans for where people could be sheltered if there were widespread power outages. Based on the predicted nature of today’s storm, Shepperson said the shelter would have been set up in the basement of Danville’s city hall.
The operations center, which didn’t receive any emergency calls overnight, will be shut down unless conditions worsen later in the day and overnight. The temperature rose steadily throughout the night and is expected to reach 34 degrees today.
The weather did cause some headaches. Slick roads forced the closing of all seven public school districts in Boyle, Casey, Garrard, Lincoln and Mercer counties today.
Russ Clark, director of Bluegrass 911 Center that serves Lincoln and Garrard counties, said a state Department of Highways truck overturned on Ky. 1194 in Lincoln County overnight, but otherwise, drivers seemed to be handling the slick roads fairly well.
“We’ve had a few reports of cars off the road, but nothing major,” Clark said. “Traffic seems to be flowing pretty good.”
In Casey County, freezing rain was still coming down at 8 a.m. and the roads remained treacherous.
A 911 dispatcher said most of the state highways had been salted, but drivers were having trouble staying between the ditches.
Several vehicles slid off roads around the county, the dispatcher said, but there were no reports of serious injuries, the Casey dispatcher said.
In Mercer County, the 911 dispatcher at Harrodsburg Police Department said there had been no reports of accidents, as of 8:15 a.m.
Meanwhile, state highway crews were treating state roads in Boyle, Garrard and Mercer counties, according to Mike Vaughn of the department’s Lexington district office.
However, conditions were improving as temperatures were starting to rise to slightly above the freezing mark and rain was replacing freezing rain as the main form or precipitation.
“Basically, the main highways in the three counties are in decent shape,” he said.
“The pavement is still slick in spots from the wintry mix of freezing rain and sleet and some snow they received overnight. The freezing rain and sleet is turning to rain, but crews are still treating those spots where ice, icy slush and sleet remain.”
Boyle County Public Works Director Duane Campbell and Danville City Manager Paul Stansbury said their crews would be doing normal winter road preparation throughout the day. Campbell said the roads should be clear by the time temperatures dip again.
“We will be able to plow the ice off and put salt down,” Campbell said. “As long as the precipitation stops, we should be in pretty good shape when the temperature drops.”