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Gov. Beshear gives update on upcoming winter storm, ongoing recovery efforts

Beshear gives a winter weather update 2-17-2021.
Beshear gives a winter weather update 2-17-2021.(Gov. Andy Beshear - YouTube)
Published: Feb. 17, 2021 at 10:37 AM EST
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WYMT) - In a news conference Wednesday morning, Governor Beshear said road crews are working hard to clear streets as fast as they can as a third winter storm is predicted to be in the commonwealth Wednesday evening.

Gov. Beshear continues to plead with Kentuckians to not travel unless absolutely necessary, “We have now made it through two winter storms, with a third on the way. I’m happy to be able to say we had a relatively quiet night, but let me stress that – even with a bit of a break in the weather – it’s still important to limit travel,” said Gov. Beshear. “If you must travel, it’s still important to be very careful. Slow down, watch out for snow plows, salt trucks, and other emergency vehicles.”

Gov. Beshear announced that the state of Kentucky is at a level 3 for State Emergency Operations; this will help support response to power outages and recovery from the previous and predicted winter storm.

Gov. Beshear also announced that regional vaccination centers will remain open Thursday, February 17. He did stress that if it is too dangerous to get to one’s vaccination appointment, to reschedule for another day.

Power Outages:

There are approximately 96,000 Kentucky customers without power in Eastern and Southeastern Kentucky, with numerous counties reporting downed trees.

Work crews in Jackson and Pikeville highway districts are still dealing with falling trees and downed power lines.

There are five departments of highway maintenance facilities without power; those include Boyd, Floyd, Lawrence, Magoffin, and Martin.

One consequence of power outages is that gas pumps can’t operate. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) began hauling motor fuel into the area so crews can refuel equipment on Tuesday.

Kentucky Division of Emergency Management, Director Michael Dossett, asked Kentuckians for patience since restoring power is a slow and delicate process, “During this event, the weather created physical damage to the infrastructure that transmits and delivers the electricity to households. Electric companies must respond safely, swiftly, and efficiently to restore service to large numbers of affected customers,” said Dossett.

Director Dossett said there are four steps necessary to restore power:

  • Assess the extent, locations, and severity of damage to the electricity system;
  • Provide the physical and human resources required for repairs;
  • Prioritize sites/components for repair based on factors including the criticality of the load and the availability of resources to complete the needed repairs;
  • Implement the needed repairs and reassess the system state.

Road Condition:

At this time, Kentucky State Police report no interstate closures.

All 16 KSP posts continue to report slick and hazardous conditions.

Wellness Support

Kentucky National Guardsmen are currently providing assistance in Boyd, Carter, Crittenden, Elliott, Floyd, Greenup, Jackson, Laurel, Lawrence, Leslie, Magoffin, Menifee, Owsley, and Rockcastle counties.

Guardsmen are assisting with wellness checks, transporting those in need to warming stations and shelters, providing crews to transport medical staff and providing debris removal teams to assist the Kentucky Division of Forestry.

There are currently 23 warming centers open, with another 16 on standby. There are six emergency shelters open, with one on standby.

KSP troopers are also responding to wellness checks and helping Kentuckians as needed. If you need help, please contact a KSP post directly. KSP is requesting Kentuckians only utilize 911 for emergencies.

You can watch that news conference below:

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