Three years since last major flash freeze in WAVE Country

Looking back: Flash freeze made mess of Louisville roads in 2016

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - On January 10, 2016, a major flash freeze swept through WAVE Country causing serious issues.

WAVE 3 News Meteorologist Ryan Hoke was forecasting for Sunrise that morning, tracking a band of snow that was moving in.

“Then the latter part of the morning, after about eight or nine o’clock, temperatures here in the city plunged down into the 20s,” Hoke recalled. “The moisture that was on the roads from the snow, which happened at or just above freezing, instantly froze.”

The show and temperature drop made the perfect recipe for slick roads while people were trying to get out for Sunday services.

"I saw how quickly the pavement temperature was dropping out of Birds Eye, Indiana, our very western most sensor -- it went down to 28 almost instantly and that was my first clue that we were going to have a problem,” Hoke said.

Hoke drove around WAVE Country, checking out the roads, and found several cars that had slid off the road into the ditch.

“I had honestly not seen that in quite some time around here until that point,” Hoke said. “There wasn’t all that much snow, but the water on the road, the very thin layer of water on the road freezing instantly like that is what got people in trouble. It’s what we call “black ice.” You can’t see it!”

KYTC and INDOT crews are hoping we don't see a repeat this weekend.

They can’t pre-treat the roads because incoming rain would wash the salt away.

INDOT Spokesperson Harry Maginity said INDOT has a full call out starting Saturday at 6 p.m.

“If we have a lot of ice depending on what the temperatures do, then we have more problems," Maginity said. “But if we’re able to just plow the snow we’re going to be very fortunate.”

KYTC has maintenance engineers monitoring the forecast and has staff on call for snow duty.

Road crews advise if you have to drive on the roads to be cautious and take your time, braking early and slowly.

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