Massive Winter Storm Headed For Kentucky
Authorities are warning the public, especially motorists, to prepare for Winter Storm Gia, which is predicted to hit Kentucky early Saturday morning.
Forecasters predict Gia will spread snow and ice across the county this weekend, all the way from the Rockie Mountains to the mid-Atlantic.
According to Weather.com, accumulations of snow and ice are being predicted along a track that runs straight through the heart of Kentucky.
Here in Harrodsburg, the snow is not expected to start until 1 a.m. Saturday morning, according to the National Weather Service. Less than an inch of snow is expected, with the snow turning to rain on Saturday afternoon. Freezing rain is predicted for late Sunday night going into early Monday morning.
However, that forecast depends on how far south the frigid Canadian air powering Gia will travel this weekend. Authorities are warning the public to be vigilant.
“This storm has already spread snow, sleet and ice across the country and will likely provide challenging conditions here in the Commonwealth,” said Kentucky State Police spokesman Sgt. Josh Lawson. “We are taking this opportunity to remind drivers of simple safety tips they can use as we transition into this winter weather season.”
Lawson said the KSP relies heavily on social media to inform citizens when winter weather hits the Commonwealth.
“We encourage drivers to check road and weather conditions before traveling by visiting https://transportation.ky.gov/sites/GoKY/home, an online traffic, roadway information and weather portal operated by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet,” Lawson said.
Authorities are asking drivers to plan ahead, make sure all passengers are properly restrained, drive defensively and ensure their vehicle is properly maintained to handle the effects of cold temperatures.
Other safe winter travel tips include:
• Don’t call 911 for road or weather conditions. Telecommunicators need the lines open to assist callers who have emergencies.
• Reduce speed in wintery conditions.
• Leave early—allow more travel time and expect delays.
• Increase distance between vehicles—the ability to stop is significantly affected on snow covered or icy roadways
• Clear all windows on your vehicle prior to travel—having unobstructed vision is vital to avoid running off of the road or having a collision.
• Ensure your windshield washer fluid is full and that you use an anti-ice solution.
• Turn on your vehicle’s headlamps. Remove any dirt, mud or snow from all vehicle lights.
• Remember bridges and overpasses are susceptible to freezing before roadways.
• Don’t use cruise control, which can cause a vehicle’s wheels to continue turning on a slippery surface when speed needs to be decreased.
• Make sure your vehicle has a full tank of gas in the event you are stranded.
• Charge your cellular phone prior to departure.
• Always dress warmly and keep a blanket in the vehicle.
• Carry a winter survival kit that includes items such as blankets, a first-aid kit, a can and waterproof matches (to melt snow for water), windshield scraper, booster cables, road maps, tool kit, bag of sand or cat litter (to pour on ice or snow for added traction), collapsible shovel, flashlight and extra batteries.
The KSP is also asking travelers to look out for stranded motorists. If you see or suspect that someone is stranded, contact KSP at 1-800-222-5555.
If you get stranded, stay in your vehicle, said Lawson, who offered these survival tips:
• Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna as a signal to rescuers.
• Move anything you need from the trunk into the passenger area.
• Wrap your entire body, including your head, in blankets or extra clothing.
• Stay awake. You will be less vulnerable to cold-related health problems.
• Run the motor (and heater) for about 10 minutes per hour, opening one window slightly to let air in. Make sure that snow is not blocking the exhaust pipe as this will reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
• As you sit, keep moving your arms and legs to improve your circulation and stay warmer.
• Do not eat unmelted snow. It will lower your body temperature.
“We ask everyone to please remember to be patient,” said Lawson. “Bad weather often produces an unusually high volume of requests for service. Plus, the capabilities of first responders are limited, which increases response time.”