Snow and drizzle began falling early Wednesday across much of Kentucky and Tennessee leading school districts and some universities to cancel classes and officials to warn motorists to drive carefully.
The National Weather Service says between 2 and 4 inches of snow fell across large portions of both states Wednesday, while some areas of Middle Tennessee also got a coating of ice.
The wintry mix contributed to at least one traffic-related death. The Knox County, Tennessee, Sheriff’s Department says a car slid off the roadway due to speed and slick conditions, killing the driver and injuring a passenger.
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) crews reported early Wednesday morning to combat the latest round of widespread snow across the Commonwealth.
Large bands of snow blanketed several portions of Kentucky roadways, which created slick and hazardous driving conditions for the morning commute. Maintenance professionals in the eastern and northeastern portions of the state continue to treat and monitor the. Crews have been working around the clock to keep routes passable.
During snow and ice event, the transportation cabinet may field 1,000 snow plows and 432 contractors with plows but has responsibility for 63,000 lane miles of roadway.
Snow removal efforts are initially focused on interstates and other major routes. Crews tend to secondary and rural roads once main routes have been cleared.
The south and east are bracing for a nor’easter at the end of the week with the potential for significant snowfall.
The National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center is warning of heavy, “perhaps crippling” snow across the northern mid-Atlantic region, including the Baltimore, Washington and Philadelphia metro areas.
Prediction center Meteorologist Rich Otto says these bigger cities could get 1 to 2 feet of snow, but first, the storm will bring ice and freezing rain to Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas on Thursday night into Friday.
As the storm moves east Friday, it will bring snow to West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. It may reach Philadelphia on Friday night and affect New York City and Long Island as it moves north.
With more hazardous winter weather forecasted, the Kentucky State Police has offered winter driving tips. KSP is asking motorists to be aware and monitor current weather conditions before travel.
Here are a few simple steps to help keep you on the road:
• Avoid travel unless necessary when winter weather is in your area.
• If you do have to travel, call 511 for current road conditions.
• Slow down.
• Always wear your seat belt.
• Leave early – allow more travel time; expect delays.
• Increase distance between vehicles – it takes significantly longer to stop 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.
• Turn on your vehicle’s headlamps. Remove any dirt, mud or snow.
• Use caution on bridges and overpasses; they are susceptible to freezing before roadways.
• Avoid using cruise control – cruise control can cause the vehicle’s wheels to continue turning on a slippery surface when speed needs to be decreased. Same goes with diesel vehicles equipped with an engine exhaust brake.
• Ensure your vehicle has a full tank of gas in the event you are stranded for an extended period of time.
• Charge your cellular phone prior to departure and keep a charger in your vehicle.
• Take a blanket.
• Notify a family member or a friend of your travel plans prior to departure – if your travel is interrupted, someone will know.
• Be patient: Bad weather also limits the capabilities of law enforcement officers and emergency crews and increases response time. Also, keep in mind that they will be experiencing a high volume of requests for service.
• Attempt to move your vehicle out of the roadway if you are involved in a minor, non-injury traffic collision; especially if you are in a dangerous area such as a curve or a blind hill.
• If your vehicle is stranded or wrecked but not in the roadway, attempts to recover your vehicle will have to wait until conditions improve for safety considerations.
The KSP is requesting travelers to observe for potentially stranded motorists. If you see or suspect that someone is stranded, please call 911 or contact the Kentucky State Police, toll-free, in Kentucky, at 800-222-5555.
This year, the KYTC has incorporated GPS technologies on snow plow and salt trucks that will monitor and track snow removal activities. The tracking capability is limited to certain portions of the state and not all trucks are equipped with the technology. To view the latest snow and ice response information, visit http://511.ky.gov/winteractivities/main.jsf.
The cabinet’s SAFE Patrol is available to assist motorists whose vehicles become disabled on Kentucky interstates and parkways. For SAFE Patrol assistance, call 511 or toll-free at 1-877-FOR-KYTC (877-367-5982).
Keep up with KYTC District 11 news via Twitter and Facebook. Information on road and traffic conditions as well as travel assistance are found at http://511.ky.gov, by dialing 511 or logging into Waze.