Projected Snow Storm Has State, Region on Alert
Significant snowfall is expected in the Northern Kentucky area on Monday into Tuesday, with the forecast calling for six to nine inches or more.
Multiple local cities have already declared emergencies, and Governor Andy Beshear will hold a news conference about the storm on Monday morning. The General Assembly canceled its plans to meet on Tuesday.
According to the National Weather Service, a winter storm warning is in effect starting at 1 a.m. on Monday until 1 p.m. on Tuesday. The storm is expected to impact local travel making it very difficult or impossible, the NWS said.
If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency, the NWS said.
Snowfall rates in some parts of Kentucky may exceed 1 inch per hour.
Another system, beginning Wednesday night into Thursday night, will bring an additional wintry mix across Kentucky.
“We need Kentuckians to prepare for another two rounds of storms bringing more snow, ice and freezing temperatures,” Gov. Beshear said. “As these storms arrive, we need Kentuckians to make a plan for their families to stay safe, warm and, if possible, off the roads.”
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet crews plan to concentrate on maintaining mobility on interstates, parkways and highly traveled routes.
KYTC - District 6 crews will mobilize ahead of the storm to treat interstates and state routes. They will be working around the clock on this snow event, and several shifts are expected, the office said in a news release. Plows will be in full force and crews will use calcium chloride to help with the effectiveness of salt.
Crews always focus on bridges, overpasses and higher elevated roadways that would be more prone to freezing. With the temperatures bouncing back and forth from the freezing line, motorists should always be cautious of the potential of black ice.
"We encourage people to just stay home. If you must travel, motorists should simply remember – when it snows, take it slow," District 6 sad in a news release. "Please be prepared: full tank of gas, water, food, blanket, flashlight, phone charger and let a loved one know where you are going."
The potential for more downed trees and power lines adds to the hurdles crews will navigate as they assist with tree clearing operations to remove debris from roads.
“We took advantage of the break in the weather this weekend to replenish salt inventories in our highway district maintenance facilities,” said Transportation Secretary Jim Gray. “Our crews will be working tirelessly to clear roads of snow, but ice poses serious challenges and risks to highway safety; so I continue to urge Kentuckians to restrict travel as much as possible.”
The governor will provide a virtual media briefing on the pending winter storm and the state’s response at 9:30 a.m. Monday.
Covington Mayor Joe Meyer declared a formal snow emergency starting at 10 p.m. Sunday in the city.
Residents who can get their vehicles off the street should do so – especially on heavily traveled thoroughfares.
Any car parked on a public street risks having their car “plowed in,” Meyer said.
“The snow has to be pushed somewhere,” Public Works Director Chris Warneford said. “My crews are going to be hitting it hard and working long hours, and the fewer cars in the way and on the street, the better they will be able to do their job.”
Covington Police will not be looking for cars to cite, but if a car is in a particularly hazardous area like a steep hill or a busy intersection and is interfering with plow trucks, police will ask the owner to move it.
“And if we can’t find them, obviously we’ll have to have the car removed,” Police Chief Rob Nader said.
Warneford said it’s particularly important to give snow trucks room to operate because they will be focusing on plowing instead of spreading salt for the early stages of the heavy snow. With this being the third heavy snow in the last week or so, salt supplies are dwindling, so crews will be reserving salt for hills, intersections, bridge overpasses, and other slick areas, he said.
Other local governments issuing emergency alerts include the City of Edgewood, City of Fort Mitchell, City of Villa Hills, and the City of Crescent Springs, per news releases sent to RCN.
In Fort Wright, no snow emergency will be declared at this time, the city said, because of the limited on-street parking already available there. In a statement, the city said that that could change as more information becomes available. The city's public works crews will be responding to work on Sunday evening to cover more than one hundred streets and nearly eighty miles of roadway, the city said. The city's responsibilities include parts of Kentucky 17 (Madison Pike/3L Highway), Highland Pike, and Dixie Highway.
Kenton County declared a level-two snow emergency meaning that roadways are expected to be hazardous with blowing and drifting snow, and may be icy. Only drivers whose travel is necessary should be on the roadways, according to that emergency.
Boone County issued a level-one snow emergency.
Meanwhile, in Frankfort, the General Assembly won't return on Tuesday as planned. Instead, the two chambers will resume their session on Wednesday.
Due to the schedule change, the final day to file bills in the senate and house has been pushed back to Thursday.
This story may be updated.
-Michael Monks, editor & publisher