Series of winter storms blast Woodford County
In less than six days, a winter weather system delivered four blasts of ice, snow and everything-in-between to Woodford County. The final blows landed Monday, with sleet falling in the afternoon followed by snow and then, after the sun set, heavy freezing rain. “Last night was pretty strange,” Woodford Emergency Management Director Drew Chandler said Tuesday morning. “The sleet was coming down so heavy it sounded like rain. I actually got up and went and looked just to confirm because our biggest fear right now is flooding, because the ground is so hard from being frozen and there’s nowhere for runoff to go.” Despite the sleet and sub-freezing temperatures, Chandler said neither Kentucky Utility nor the Frankfort Plant Board were reporting no power outages Tuesday morning. Neither was the Bluegrass Energy Cooperative Monday night -- the last time he was able to log on its website, he said. Asked to describe the roads Tuesday morning, Chandler said “not ideal for going anywhere” and added that he was fortunate to have a four-wheel drive vehicle provided by the county and training in emergency vehicle operations. He said he knew of no roads that were shut down. “I think a lot of the low-hanging limbs and lines – those have been dealt with,” he said. Last week Before the first wave struck last Wednesday, Feb. 10, the Sun hosted a Zoom meeting with Chandler, Woodford Judge-Executive James Kay, Midway Mayor Grayson Vandegrift and Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott. Kay explained that the power lines and utility poles badly damaged in the July 2018 windstorms were replaced with newer infrastructure better able to withstand what was coming. He and the mayors praised the government employees working to keep the roads clear and responding to emergencies. Still, the Feb. 10 ice storm caused plenty of problems. Power outages on Pisgah Pike, Weisenberger Mill Road, in Millville, parts of Versailles and elsewhere left at least 1,529 customers without electricity late that night. The following morning, Versailles Public Works Director Bart Miller said his crews laid out 125 tons of salt before and during the storm. The second wave came overnight Sunday, with much of the county receiving an inch or two of snow, but much worse was ahead. Around noon Monday, a freezing mist accompanied sub-freezing temperatures and roads that were mostly clear began to worsen. During an early afternoon Zoom call Kay hosted Monday, Chandler showed a slide reporting that at 11:02 a.m., 517 KU customers and 107 Bluegrass Energy customers were without power, though he noted the second figure had been cut in half since then. Kay and Chandler praised the dedicated county and city workers who were braving the elements around the clock. Kay reported accidents that closed portions of Pisgah Pike, Maple Street at Lexington Street and Fords Mill Road, among others, and noted that the fewer vehicle accidents emergency crews have to respond to, the more time they can spend on other important duties. “If you don’t have to get out, please don’t,” Kay said.