Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear issued a State of Emergency leading up to the severe cold that is projected for the holiday weekend.
As promised in yesterday's video posted on social media today Gov. Beshear, along with other Kentucky officials, addressed "preparedness" for the upcoming arctic front. He also signed two executive orders to help protect Kentuckians through this weather.
First Executive Order
The first executive order preemptively issued a State of Emergency for Kentucky.
"This action allows us to have all the state resources needed, available and ready to go."
This arctic front that is expected to bring a flash freeze and severely cold temperatures, with rain changing to snow Thursday night across much of the commonwealth. Temperatures may stay below freezing through the Christmas holiday and into early next week. The front is also expected to produce wind gusts of 40 to 50 mph on Friday and wind chills could reach minus 10 to minus 26 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday. The front is expected to affect travel, and other impacts may include broken waterlines, power outages and damage to public infrastructure and private properties.
“Flash freeze is a big concern, and it will lead to dangerous road conditions,” Gov. Beshear said. “If you are traveling for Christmas, please plan to arrive at your destination by midday Thursday. After floods, tornadoes, ice storms and everything else we have faced, we don’t want to lose anyone to this weather front. Please make a plan and get prepared, and make a list of people you need to check in on, especially during this Christmas holiday.”
His office has also been working "county representatives" to ensure the establishment of emergency warming centers. Announcements of warming centers across the state have started to surface, but we are currently unable to locate the information for Jefferson County. It's been recommended to contact county officials for more information. There has also been a list of state parks that have been announced as back- up warming station. It's recommended you find a friend or family to stay with or attempt the primary station before utilizing the state parks.
Second Executive Order
The second executive order is a "prohibition against price gouging." This will enact preexisting Kentucky laws against raising prices in emergency situations.
"To make sure that shovels, ice[melt], and other necessary supplies to get through this are not increased in price in a way that harms Kentuckians."
To report potential price gouging, you may contact the Office of the Kentucky Attorney General.
Emergency Management Director Jeremy Slinker talked about being weather-aware and the work to help those in Eastern Kentucky and warned about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and hypothermia.
“In the event of a power outage, never use a generator indoors,” Director Slinker said. “Place the generator a safe distance from the home – at least 10 to 15 feet. Please use carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors. With these sub-zero temperatures, we also need people to dress in layers, as hypothermia is a real threat. And please take time to protect pets and livestock, which are also at threat.”
Secretary Jim Gray spoke to how the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is preparing roadways for the imminent snow.
“Our forces are prepped with stocked supplies and equipment to respond to winter weather threats and they will be on alert through the holiday weekend,” said Secretary Gray. “With high winds, downed trees are possible, so they’re prepared to help clear roads of debris. Safe roads take everyone’s cooperation, so I urge Kentuckians to stay weather alert by monitoring weather forecasts, checking traffic on a navigational app like WAZE or goky.ky.gov, altering travel plans to avoid driving when conditions are at their worst and giving yourself plenty of time to get to your destination.”
KYTC Secretary Jim Gray said that a fleet of 1,365 state-owned and contracted plow trucks are available to be deployed across Kentucky. The cabinet has stockpiled over 300,000 tons of salt, nearly 1 million gallons of brine for anti-icing efforts and more than 1 million gallons of calcium chloride, an additive to salt for deicing.
Col. Phillip Burnett Jr. discussed how Kentucky State Police are responding to the State of Emergency and impending arctic front.
“Kentuckians, wear your seat belts, slow down, leave more space between cars and prep your car with the necessary supplies in the event you become stranded,” said KSP Commissioner Phillip Burnett Jr. “KSP and other emergency personnel are ready and available to respond during this upcoming winter storm, but we strongly encourage everyone to stay home when possible. If you must drive and experience a wreck or become stuck on the roadways, please be patient. Depending on the amount of winter weather the commonwealth receives and the number of roadway closures, emergency personnel may become very busy.”
KSP has developed a list of items motorists should place in their vehicles before the weather sets in. This includes a winter weather kit with a cell phone charger, blankets, first-aid kit, jumper cables, windshield scraper, collapsible shovel and a flashlight with extra batteries.
Maj. Gen. Hal Lamberton of the Kentucky National Guard address how they have begun pre-positioning assets to assist in rescues.
“Guardsmen will be activated ahead of the storm and stationed at several armories throughout the state,” Adjutant General of Kentucky Maj. Gen. Haldane Lamberton said. “The Joint Service Operations team in London will be on standby with an aircraft with hoists capabilities and the Special Tactics Squadron in Louisville will be on standby to provide emergency response capabilities.”
Houseless Outreach Response
Extreme temperatures of any kind are hazardous to those citizens that are unhoused. There is some 10,000 houseless in our with only 750 beds available to them on a regular basis. Even with emergency shelters which oftentimes have to operate of churches and parish halls, despite potential legal ramifications, there will be a vast number of people that are unable to properly shelter from this impending weather.
We recommend contacting some of the following organizations who fight houselessness and housing disparages locally on a daily basis. Your help might be able to assist in saving lives this week.
Further reading at your own risk:
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