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Louisville roads are in 'good condition;' drivers still urged to be cautious due to freezing temperatures

After a full day of work, Sal Melendez with Metro Public Works said most of the slush is gone from the city's snow routes.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A winter storm moved through Kentucky and southern Indiana Thursday into Friday. The storm brought a variety of precipitation including rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow.

Metro Louisville saw anywhere been 0.10 and 1/4 of an inch of ice and sleet with an additional 0.5 inch of snow falling early Friday morning. Southern Indiana had higher snow totals with around 1-3" falling through the event.

Here's a blog sharing the events that took place during the winter storm.

Friday, Feb. 4

Public Works: Roads are 'mostly clear'

After a full day of work, Sal Melendez with Metro Public Works said most of the slush is gone from the city's 111 snow routes. He said roads are in good driving condition, but the freezing temperatures overnight could create some slick conditions and black ice.

The Metro Snow Team will continue putting down salt through the night, but drivers are urged to go slow and budget extra time in their commute.

In the last update from Louisville Metro Police, 12 crashes were reported between 2:45 p.m. and 6 p.m., five of which included injuries.

A total of 75 crashes were reported in the metro between 9 a.m. Feb. 3 and 6 p.m. Feb. 24. Less than one-third of the incidents reported involved injuries. There were seven reports of wires down during the winter storm event.

Around 4:30 p.m., an ambulance carrying a patient overturned on I-65S in Clark County after hitting a patch of ice. The driver of the ambulance suffered minor injuries and another ambulance was able to take the patient to the hospital.

Louisville airport anticipates normal weekend schedule

After hundreds of flights were canceled Thursday and Friday, officials with the Muhammad Ali International Airport said flight schedules should operate normally going into the weekend.

As with any flight, passengers should keep an eye on the latest updates from their airlines on their website or apps.

Fischer thanks the community, crews

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer held a storm briefing update at 2 p.m. on Friday to update the community on road and weather conditions.

Fischer thanked snow crew teams who have been working around the clock since the winter weather rolled through the Metro. 

Sal Melendez with Metro Public Works said roads in Louisville are passable, with very low speed and extreme caution. Crews have applied lots of salt and calcium chloride to the roads, he said.

Public Works Director Vanessa Burns said these two things have melted the ice and made a sort of slush on roadways. "If you see the slush, that means the salt and chlorine are working," she said. 

Burns said crews are working to push the slush to the sides of roads to help prevent them from refreezing to the roads in the cold temperatures.

Fischer also thanked the community for heeding officials' warnings to stay home and off the roads. He said calls for service decreased by about 25% from this time last week.

"I really wanna thank our residents who have stayed home," Fischer said. "That's made everyone's jobs a lot easier to clear the roads and it's also led to a lot fewer calls for service, there were a lot fewer accidents as well."

A Louisville Metro Police Department spokesperson said that between 6:30 p.m. Thursday night and 11 a.m. Friday morning, LMPD officers responded to 13 accidents, only two of which were injury accidents.

"This is a wonderful example of how when we work together as a team, we get through times like this," Fischer said.

Here are recommended hills for SLEDDING

Trash collection services suspended

Rumpke Waste and Recycling announced that trash collection services have been suspended for Friday, Feb. 4 due to slick road conditions.

"Decisions about service delays are always difficult, but the safety of our team members, customers and the motoring public are our top priorities," Eric Curtis, regional vice president of Rumpkee, said.

The company said it plans to service Friday customers on Saturday if road conditions allow.

Louisville airport cancellations and delays 

Muhammad Ali International Airport canceled all early morning departures for Friday, February 4. 

They also delayed opening the TSA Security Checkpoint until 7 a.m. since those early flights were canceled and since the earliest scheduled departure wouldn't be until around that time.

Thursday, Feb. 3

Overnight conditions

As we head into the overnight hours, the precipitation is starting to get lighter across Kentuckiana. Elevated roads and interstates will likely remain slick due to freezing temperatures, but road crews should be able to clear them quickly through the night to make sure things are smooth for the morning commute.

Untreated roads, like neighborhood and side roads, will still be very dangerous going into Friday morning due to the heavy precipitation and cold temperatures. Use extreme caution on roads that have ice and snow on them.

The Metro Snow Team has been applying a salt-calcium chloride mix to the roads to create slush through the evening. Sal Melendez with Metro Public Works said roads are still slick, but "passable at very low speed."

Around one to two inches of snow is possible during the overnight and early morning hours Friday, which will sit on top of the ice already built up.

Through the day Thursday, ice accumulation totals ranged from .10" to 1/4" from Louisville to southern Indiana. Across the Ohio River to the north, an extra one to three inches of snow fell on top of that ice. Areas south of the Bluegrass Parkway didn't see much ice at all with the precipitation staying as a chilly rain.

Louisville Free Public Library closes

All Louisville Free Public Library locations will be closed Friday due to the winter weather.

The digital services provided by the library, including audiobooks, movies and other resources are available online at LFPL.org.

Louisville airport anticipating more canceled flights Friday

All commercial flights in and out of Louisville were canceled Thursday afternoon. The Muhammad Ali International Airport was a ghost town as the few remaining travelers got rental cars to try other aiports.

Airport officials said the ice and snow could result in cancellations and delays on Friday and into the weekend. Passengers should check their flight status with their airline before heading to the airport.

Mayor Fischer 5 p.m. update

John Gordon with the National Weather Service said the next few hours is when metro Louisville will likely see the worst of this winter storm. So far, Gordon said Indiana has borne the brunt of the ice and snow due to how slowly the system has been moving.

The window for ice will be between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thursday night as temperatures hang around in the low 30s. As freezing rain and sleet continue to fall, problems on the roads can escalate, particularly on bridges and overpasses.

Gordon estimated that Louisville will get around 1/4 of an inch of ice accumulation, which is still enough to knock down trees and power lines. Between 10 p.m. to midnight, he said the Louisville area could see around an inch of snow accumulation.

See live traffic conditions here

He also stressed the cold temperatures that will move into the area Friday night. Around Louisville, we'll likely see temperatures in the single digits with even colder temperatures to the north.

Vaness Burns with Louisville Public Works said snow crews will work through the night to make sure the roads are as safe to travel as possible. Due to the range of precipitation types that will fall over the next several hours, she said that some areas of the county may need to be treated differently than others.

Mayor Fischer said libraries and park in-person facilities like golf course clubhouses and the Mary T. Meager Aquatic Center will be closed Friday.

Power outages reported

As of 5 p.m, LG&E is reporting more than 2,000 customers without power in Jefferson County. Nearly all of those outages were in the area of Wolf Pen Branch and Green Spring. By 5:30 p.m., those outages had been restored.

In southern Indiana, around 20 people appear to be without power near the Floyds Knobs area, according to the latest update on Duke Energy.

You can see the latest power outages on the LG&E outage map.

Remember: If there are downed power lines in your area, report them but do not touch or approach them.

MSD sends employees home early

Due to the dangerous road conditions, MSD is sending its crews home early Thursday. Service requests will be responded to beginning Friday morning or "as soon as it is safe to do so."

Wastewater treatment and flood protection services will remain active and additional personnel have been called in to help.

If you have a service issue, you can contact Customer Relation staff at 502-540-6000 or customerrelations@louisvillemsd.org.

Baptist Health cancels vaccine clinic

Baptist Health Louisville has canceled its COVID-19 vaccine clinic for Friday. Anyone scheduled for a vaccine appointment will be contacted so they can reschedule.

Health officials said the decision was made to protect the safety of patients and staff due to the inclement weather.

JCPS calls Snow Day for Friday

Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) announced Thursday afternoon that it will have a traditional snow day on Friday, Feb. 4 due to anticipated power outages caused by this winter storm.

Oldham County Schools have also canceled classes for Friday and several businesses have announced closures or delayed opening times. You can see the latest closings and delays here.

Road conditions "fair" in Louisville

Sal Melendez with Louisville Metro Public Works said the roads were in "fair driving condition" as of 2:30 p.m. Snow crews started laying down salt at that time as temperatures drop and ice begins to accumulate on the roads.

Louisville Metro Police will only respond to crashes with injuries or those that block the roads. If you are involved in a non-injury crash during this winter event, be sure to get the insurance and contact information from the other people involved and file a report online.

See the latest traffic and road conditions here.

Governor Beshear: "Still very dangerous."

In a Thursday press briefing, Governor Andy Beshear said although the winter storm will bring less ice accumulation, the storm is "still very dangerous."

"Stay off the roadways as rain, snow and ice continue through this evening and then through Friday morning," he said. "This certainly won't be like the one we saw in 2009, but it is still very dangerous."

Beshear said the precipitation would make travel more difficult and that if you're on the roads when the ice accumulation begins and get stranded, it may be more difficult for emergency responders to get to you.

Michael Dossett, director of the state's Emergency Management department, said this winter storm is "extraordinarily complex."

Dossett said the good news is there will be fewer counties experiencing severe icing, but that the bad news is the worst parts of the storm will arrive in the evening and overnight.

Jim Gray, secretary of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, urged drivers to continue staying off the roadways.

"Give us a day," Dossett said. "For the Transportation Cabinet to do their work."

Mayor Fischer Update

Louisville officials joined Mayor Greg Fischer in providing an update Thursday afternoon ahead of the ice storm.

John Gordon, from the National Weather Service, said that the weather situation is the same as yesterday, but is now delayed.

He said that the storm will be most impactful between 3 p.m. and midnight Thursday, with the areas between Southern Indiana and the Kentucky Parkways being most impacted.

"Especially during rush hour," he said. "If you don't need to be out during rush hour this evening, don't."

Gordon said that Louisville is expected to get around 1/4 in. of ice accumulation, in the worst-case scenario half an inch, but he said he doesn't think that will happen.

"If you must be out," Fischer said. "Use extreme caution, not just when you're driving but when you're walking as well." He said hospitals are full of COVID-19 patients at the moment and don't need any additional strain.

"Think ahead if you have to go out and get last-minute food and medicine," Fischer said.

Crews work around the clock

A spokesperson for the Metro Department of Public Works said snow crews began treating roadways this morning around 8:45 a.m.

They said 56 snow removing crews would be working around the clock Thursday to treat and clear Louisville's 2,700 miles of two-lane roads.

For more information on crews' progress, visit their online map.


Trash service update for Thursday

Rumpke Waste and Recycling said crews will be out extra early Thursday morning to collect as much as possible before the winter weather hits.

Since they're starting early, Rumpke officials are urging customers to put their trash and recycling at the curb Wednesday night.

“With the anticipated weather Thursday and Friday, we likely won’t be able to return to residences that don’t have their material out for collection when we are out,” said region vice president Eric Curtis. 

If you miss this pick-up, your items will be picked up on your next scheduled service day.

TARC operating on winter weather detours

All TARC routes through Louisville and southern Indiana will operate on winter weather detours Thursday. For a list of detours listed by route, visit the TARC website.

Updates are also available on social media or through text and email notifications provided by TARC.

Metro crews on standby

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer urged people to stay home during a press briefing held Wednesday.

"There is no upside to going out," Fischer said. He asked Louisville residents to get their errands done Wednesday so they can stay home Thursday and Friday when roads could be the most dangerous.

Officials with LG&E warned about the potential for power outages Thursday due to ice weighing down power lines and tree limbs. LG&E has crews standing by, reading to start repairs as soon as possible.

Louisville Public Works is also ready to act, as soon as the conditions are fit for laying down salt and brine. The plan is to start laying salt Thursday morning, after the rain stops but before everything starts freezing.

Beshear warns of 'treacherous' road conditions

Gov. Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency for Kentucky ahead of the incoming winter storm. The governor said Wednesday the level of ice expected could be "debilitating."

Members of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, National Guard and Kentucky State Police will be stationed along major interstates and roads so they are available to respond to emergency situations.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) is ready to use more than 1,300 pieces of equipment and upwards of 2,000 available employees to respond to emergency situations on the roads. Due to the rain, crews can't treat roads yet but Gray said they will begin to put down salt as soon as the precipitation transitions to something that won't wash it away.

Drivers are urged to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary.  

Indiana preparations

The Indiana Department of Transportation said it has 215,000 tons of salt and 1.5 million gallons of brine to battle the storm. INDOT has a full callout, with nearly 1,000 trucks that have already started treating the roads. More than 1,500 employees will work 12-hour shifts.

"In my five years here, this is the first, truly, statewide weather event that has prompted us to have a response effort statewide," Gov. Eric Holcomb said. "It will require areas of expertise in different areas at different times, and we just ask for your cooperation."

Schools go virtual

Schools across Kentuckiana have moved to virtual instruction for Thursday, including Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) in Louisville.

"Students should bring their Chromebooks or other devices home with them today (Wednesday), in preparation for participating in NTI on Thursday and possibly Friday," district leaders told parents in an email on Feb. 2. 

JCPS said Thursday's decision may mean another NTI day on Friday, which would be the last of 10 the district is allotted each school year.

See the latest school and business closings here.

No salt yet

Wednesday's rain made it tough for road crews to prep for the incoming winter storm. Lamb's Law Service and Landscaping said they would have to be more reactive and proactive for this storm since the rain would wash away any salt or brine they laid down.

Spokespeople for the Indiana Department of Transportation and Louisville Metro Public Works are following the same thought, holding off on laying down treatments until the precipitation starts to freeze.

Louisville and the state of Indiana said their jobs will be much easier Thursday if drivers stay off the roads. For those that need to drive, check the 511 map for Indiana and the GoKY real-time traffic map for Kentucky. 

Additional Resources

These stories include information on how to prepare for and handle winter weather.

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