Another round of winter weather
The latest bout of winter weather activity has had all of Ballard County staying inside and avoiding travel if at all possible. The recent snow and ice that began on Sunday has had many people rescheduling their week as well as adjusting summer vacation plans since icy road conditions have caused school closures, which will have an impact on the academic calendar.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet started pre-treating highways in Kentucky’s 12 westernmost counties on Sunday in preparation for a winter weather event in the forecast for Sunday evening into Monday morning and Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday morning.
The Sunday evening event that was expected to roll into Monday morning included a forecast of up to one inch of snow along the Kentucky-Tennessee border counties.
Due to updates in the forecast, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 1 Snow and Ice Team had to alter plans to pre-treat area highways on Sunday.
The updated forecast for Sunday included a greater opportunity for rain changing over to winter precipitation through the day, which prohibited pre-treating by KYTC crews.
Highway crews were on alert to respond as the winter precipitation developed in the early morning hours of Sunday and through the day. Supervisors monitored highway conditions and call in crews as required.
The shift in the forecast would not have allowed time to pre-treat. This meant crews had to respond as the winter precipitation developed.
Motorists were urged to continually monitor the forecast and maintain awareness of changing road surface conditions as the precipitation shifted from rain to winter mix and snow.
Even with the advice to stay off of the roads, many people in the region found themselves out in the midst of the snow and ice event on Sunday. Numerous incidents of cars off of the road throughout Ballard County were reported.
This biggest issue occurred late Sunday night and affected the Monday morning commute on US HWY 60 just outside of Kevil in the curves. A semi hauling ice cream went off of the road and caused that portion of the highway to be down to one lane for several hours.
Due to weight of the cargo, the truck was off-loaded by hand before the unit could be up righted. This added an additional 3-4 hours plus up righting time to get the semi available to tow.
There was no detour available due to all other routes being packed with 4-6 inches of snow.
HWY 60 was then closed for approximately an hour on Monday starting at 10:00 to allow for the removal of the semi.
The Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday morning event was expected to include freezing rain with some snow accumulation.
According to Keith Todd of KDOT District 1, pre-treating involves spraying brine on road surfaces where it dries to leave a fine powder of salt that then becomes available to be activated by falling precipitation in the early hours of an event. The salt powder initially helps improve driving conditions. Later, as snow accumulates, the salt keeps the snow from bonding to the pavement and makes it easier to plow away.
Highway crews normally do not pre-treat when there is a chance of rain washing the brine away or when temperatures are below about 20 degrees.