LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Less than a week into the new year, the first snow of 2022 fell across Kentucky. While Thursday's weather created opportunities for winter fun like sledding and snowman-building, it also caused hazardous road conditions for hundreds of drivers.
Governor Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency for the commonwealth and activated the National Guard to assist the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) and Kentucky State Police with interstate closures.
Here's what happened across the state:
The Louisville Metro Snow Team had been working since Tuesday to prepare for the incoming winter weather, according to Metro Public Works Director Vanessa Burns. Burns said the next steps for her crews would be plowing the fallen snow and laying down chemicals to keep what's left from freezing.
Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., more than 100 crashes were reported by Louisville Metro Police, causing delays across all the major interstates.
Due to the cold temperatures anticipated Thursday night, Mayor Greg Fischer said Operation White Flag would be activated. During this time, anyone who needs shelter will be able to find a place to stay at designated locations.
Portions of the Western Kentucky Parkway near Elizabethtown and Hardin County became impassable Thursday afternoon due to the weather. Dozens of drivers were stranded and many slid off the roads.
Around 6:30 p.m., officials said they were working on extracting as many vehicles as they could to clear the roads.
US 62 near I-65 was shut down during the day after multiple vehicles and semi-trucks got stuck trying to go up a hill. Elizabethtown Police urged everyone to stay home if they could.
In Nelson County, plows worked tirelessly throughout the day to try and keep the roads clear. County road department officials said they were prepared to handle the wintry weather, but the speed of the snow slowed down their operations.
One person who was on the roads as the snow was falling said she saw at least five crashes within a mile. She said several people were traveling too quickly and weren't driving properly in the inclement weather.
Brad Spalding, a Nelson County engineer, said Thursday's snow wasn't the last of his concerns.
"I totally expect the roads to be in slick conditions in the morning," he said.
By 6 p.m. Thursday, about three inches of snow had fallen at Shepherdsville City Park. Multiple families took the opportunity to visit the park for some sledding fun before the sun went down.
One dad at the park said this was the most snow he'd seen for a while, and he was surprised that more kids weren't taking advantage.
While traffic conditions weren't as notable in Shepherdsville as they were in other counties, officials said roads could still be dangerous since their crews weren't out plowing every hour.
Students in Bullitt County Public Schools learned from home Thursday, but the district announced that Friday will be a "traditional snow day."