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Salt Truck Crews Reporting for Duty Overnight to Battle Flash Freeze


Kentucky Department of Highways District 9 crews will report for duty overnight with salt trucks ready to treat potentially icy roads in northeast Kentucky.

The National Weather Service says a flash freeze is possible overnight as cold air rushes in after today’s rain and drops temperatures into the teens. Any leftover water on roadways could create ice and slick driving conditions.

State highway crews in Bath, Boyd, Carter, Elliott, Fleming, Greenup, Lewis, Mason, Nicholas, and Rowan counties will report by 9 p.m. and will have plow and salt trucks ready to treat icy highway conditions as needed overnight – especially before the Monday morning commute.

Motorists are reminded that the potential for black ice will be high, even where crews treat roadways with salt. And, ice can form on bridges, overpasses, and at culvert locations before roadways.

It is best not to travel. If you must drive, use caution at hill and valley cold spots, allow additional time, and drive slowly to reach destinations safely. This is especially important for Monday morning commuters.

In a news release this afternoon, Gov. Andy Beshear said it’s tempting to think the danger has passed because rising temperatures and rain this weekend have combined to rapidly melt snow and ice from roadways.

“Unfortunately, temperatures are expected to drop dramatically this evening, overnight and into Monday morning. The result will be flash freezing and the onset of black ice that will make driving difficult,” Gov. Beshear said. “The snow may be nearly gone, but the need for extreme caution remains. Avoid nonessential travel.”

The National Weather Service says rain will taper off west to east today, with rapidly dropping temperatures following the same pattern.

“This type of weather presents several challenges for our highway crews,” said Kentucky Transportation Secretary Jim Gray. “These ‘whiplash temperatures’ combined with rain can cause slopes along roadways to become unstable, and rock slides are the result. There is a danger of downed trees blocking roadways and bringing down power lines. Our crews will be carrying chain saws as well as salt and other equipment.”

Safe roadways are a shared responsibility, especially during inclement weather when risks increase. The Transportation Cabinet encourages motorists to prepare for winter and remain safe by following these tips:

Travel only as necessary during major winter weather events. Stock vehicles with ice scrapers, jumper cables, blankets, a flashlight, cell phone charger, non-perishable snacks and first aid kit should you get stranded on the road.

Winterize vehicles. Have your car battery, tire pressure and brakes checked. Make sure your heater, defroster, headlights, and windshield wipers are working properly.

When snow and/or ice are on roadways, drive slowly no matter what type of vehicle you’re in. It takes more time and distance to stop your vehicle in poor weather conditions, so brake early and slowly.

Pay attention to weather advisories and allow more time to travel for routine commutes.

Slow down when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges, or shaded areas. These are all candidates for developing black ice—a thin coating of clear ice that can form on the pavement surface that may be difficult to see.

Maintain a safe distance from snowplows and other heavy highway equipment and do not pass snowplows on the shoulder.

Eliminate distractions while driving (e.g. using phone and eating).

Cooperate with the expectations of the Quick Clearance law, which requires drivers to move vehicles to the shoulder in the event of a non-injury crash.

(provided by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet)

Paul Hitchcock earned his Masters in Communications from Morehead State University and Bachelors in Radio-TV/Psychology from Georgetown College. A veteran broadcaster for more than 40 years and an avid fan of blues, jazz and American roots music. Hitchcock has been with WMKY since 1986 and was named General Manager in 2003. He currently hosts "Muddy Bottom Blues" (Fri., 8pm-9pm), "Nothin' But The Blues" (Sat., 8pm-12am), "Sunday Night Jazz Showcase" and "Live From The Jazz Lounge" (Sun., 8pm-9pm) and "The Golden Age of Radio" (Sun., 2pm-3pm). He also serves as producer for "A Time For Tales" and "The Reader's Notebook."
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