According to the National Weather Service in Paducah, it's currently 32 in Paducah, 31 degrees in Madisonville, Central City, Livermore and Owensboro, 34 in Greenville, 28 in Sebree and in Henderson.
A link to the NWS is scrolling at the top of the SurfKY News page in the red ticker. Clicking on the red ticker will link to the latest weather updates.
NWS reports that freezing rain is expected to occur off and on through much of today and may become heavy at times this evening. Thunder is also possible as freezing rain changes over to sleet and snow later tonight before ending midday Monday.
Heavy ice accumulations from half inch to one inch are likely before the precipitation turns to snow later tonight.
With that heavy ice comes the likelihood of tree damage and possible power outages. Travel will become more treacherous as temperatures fall well below freezing later today and tonight. High winds tonight will make travel treacherous and could cause more tree breakage.
The Kentucky State Police has issued a caution to motorists about the impending storm. In a press release, KSP is asking citizens to refrain form contacting local KSP posts about current concitions but call (866) 737-3767 or 511 from a mobile phone for road conditions. Information is also available at www.511.ky.gov.
The city of Owensboro has been placed under a winter storm warning now through Monday. Its street department crews are treating roads and plan to work around the clock. During a state of emergency, city officials warn that vehicles parked on Priority 1 and 2 emergency routes are prohibited with those vehicles possibly being towed at the owner's expense.
If a declared emergency is made in Owensboro, emergency shelters may be opened at First Baptist Church, 230 J.R. Miller Boulevard; Owensboro Christian Church, 2818 New Hartford Road; and, Good Shepherd Church, 3031 Bittle Road.
According to Kentucky Transportation Department spokesman Keith Todd, ice began collecting on trees as of approximately 10 a.m. in several areas throughout western Kentucky. While ambient air temperatures have dropped below freezing, pavement temperatures benefitted from sunshine and warmer temperatures over the last few days with pavement surfaces remaining about 38 degrees. Pavement temperatures are expected to drop throughout the day.
As of 10 a.m., Todd reports that Union County has sleet and slick sports are being created. He also reports freezing rain in Paducah and Madisonville.
The Public Service Commission is urging caution to residents experiencing power outages, when using portable generators and in removing storm debris. The following is part of a news release from the PSC:
The PSC is reminding Kentucky residents to stay away from all downed lines. Downed lines should be reported to the local utility company. If the lines are sparking, on fire or otherwise creating an emergency, call 911.
Customers who lose power should follow proper safety precautions if they use portable generators or heating devices, PSC Chairman David Armstrong said. “Fortunately, this storm is forecast to be much less severe than in the one in 2009,” Armstrong said. “Nevertheless, it has the potential to cause some serious power outages.
“As we have learned from previous storms, improper use of portable generators can be extremely dangerous,” he said. “Many Kentuckians have lost their lives, and many others have been hospitalized, as the result of being poisoned by carbon monoxide emitted by portable generators that were not used correctly.”
Backfeeding poses a severe danger to workers attempting to restore electrical service. They can be severely injured or killed by power flowing back into lines which they assume are not carrying electricity. Also, if the line to your home or business becomes grounded, backfeeding can permanently damage your generator.
Customers who lose power should contact their utility company immediately. Most utilities in Kentucky have systems that use customer reports to help identify the location of the problem and determine what repairs are needed.
“It is important that every customer call to report an outage,” Armstrong said. “But repeated calls simply tie up the utility’s phone system. Call at once, but call only once.”
Customers who lose power also should check electric connections and meters for damage. Damaged connections or meters must be repaired before power can be restored to a home or business.
“It is critical that damaged connections be repaired by a qualified professional and inspected before power is restored,” Armstrong said. “In past outages, fires and severe damage have been caused by damaged or improperly repaired service connections.”
Repairing a service connection or meter base is the responsibility of the individual customer. The meter base is the square or rectangular box on which the meter itself is mounted. It belongs to the property owner. The meter itself – the circular, glass-enclosed portion that attaches to the meter base - is the property of the utility company.
Residents SHOULD NOT attempt to remove any branches, limbs or trees that have fallen across service connections or other utility lines. Notify the utility to arrange for the debris to be removed.
“We know that the very cold weather makes these utility disruptions particularly unpleasant and dangerous,” Armstrong said. “We urge people to be patient and to take proper precautions to protect their health and safety while they wait for power to be restored.”
Rita Dukes Smith
SurfKY News Director
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