Forecasters are predicting a “major, major” winter weather event to hit Kentucky and southern Indiana beginning Wednesday afternoon, according to Kentucky Emergency Management Director Michael Dossett. He warned ice could be a significant threat.
Dossett said the most significant precipitation is expected between 5 p.m. Wednesday and 3 a.m. Thursday. Total precipitation is expected to be between 0.25 inches to 0.5 inches.
“The roadways are going to be extraordinarily dangerous,” due to freezing rain, ice, sleet and snow, Dossett said. The greatest impact will be in central and southern Kentucky.
Power outages are one of the biggest concerns during ice storms, as ice coats powerlines and trees, weighing them down and causing them to snap. Beshear said the state has planned ahead to make sure the state’s stores of COVID-19 vaccines stay refrigerated during power outages.
“For each provider they have a generator on site that is ready to go on, or they have a partner who…can immediately pack it up and provide it,” he said. “That should make sure that no doses and no vials are wasted.”
The state is rescheduling all of Thursday’s COVID-19 vaccinations at the regional Kroger vaccine sites because of the storm. Those vaccinations will be moved to next Thursday, at the same time and same location.
“This is going to help ensure the safety for all of our staff and volunteers in being closed tomorrow given what the road conditions are going to look like,” Gov. Andy Beshear said during a Wednesday press briefing.
Dossett said the ice storm is not expected to be as dire as the ice storm of 2009, which left many Kentuckians with lengthy power outages.
“I think we can get through this one, with only sporadic outages, hopefully,” he said, adding that power companies have done a better job trimming vegetation around power lines since 2009. In that storm, trees falling on lines were a major cause of outages.
Beshear urged employers to allow workers who have to commute to leave work ahead of the storm, work remotely, and come in later when conditions are less icy.
He also reminded Kentuckians not to run generators, camp stoves or charcoal grills indoors, and to keep them least 20 feet away from windows. Running a generator indoors can cause carbon monoxide to build up, which could be deadly.