City of Louisville prepares for potential winter storm
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The City of Louisville is getting ready for an active winter storm that could potentially impact residents over multiple days.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer hosted a conference Tuesday afternoon saying while the community may be facing some of the coldest, slickest days in years, the city is prepared for upcoming accumulation.
“We’re tracking the weather and preparing to respond as necessary, because we all know the weather can change very quickly,” Fischer said.
The city right now is facing a winter storm watch, with a possible wintry mix, freezing rain, and ice accumulating in the overnight hours.
“That’s what we’re most concerned about right now,” Fischer said. “If that comes our way, that could result in slick and dangerous roadways, as well as potentially downed trees and power outages. We don’t know for sure if that’s going to happen but obviously we want to over prepare just in case it is.”
John Gordon with the National Weather Service said forecasts predict accumulation can continue for up to a 72-hour period, which would make this storm unique in terms of past winter storms in the city.
“Is this the same as the 2009 ice storm? No, it is not,” Gordon said. “Is this the same as the 2003 ice storm or the ‘94 snow storm? No, it is not. It is a long duration, light precipitation event with snow and light freezing rain on the north side.”
A winter weather advisory will be in effect starting late Tuesday night and will last through Thursday evening, Gordon said.
With roadways potentially effected by the upcoming storm, snow teams have been hard at work, observing and treating major thoroughfares since Monday. Shifts for the snow team will continue throughout the next couple days as needed.
Director of Public Works Vanessa Burns said there are over 200 people on Metro Snow Team, with 100 trucks, and thousands of tons of salt to clear the roads.
Burns asked for drivers to look out for our trucks and employees, especially if they need to out of trucks to perform maintenance on a salt auger outside of the vehicle or wipe down windows.
Crews will be working 12-hour shifts, alternating off and on for a three-day period.
“That’s a long time, we just appreciate all the cooperation that we can get,” Burns said. “And we just want , like everyone else, for people to be safe.”
Snow route maps can be tracked on the louisvilleky.gov website starting Wednesday morning. Trucks will be out on 110 routes, covering main and arterial roads.
Specific routes are listed based on highest priority, with major roadways being patrolled, treated and cleared.
Jody Meiman, Director of Emergency Management, said the most important thing is to stay safe and stay home if you can. If people need to travel, they are urged to keep an emergency kit in their vehicles and to dress warmly if going outdoors.
The city has also been in contact with LGE/KU, who have said that their systems can withstand tough conditions like what could be coming over the next few days.
White flag operation will also be in effect for anyone who needs shelter during the winter storm, and the Red Cross is on standby for any assistance.
Louisville Metro Government is also in contact with Coalition for the Homeless for any assistance they may need.
“If you have to go to a shelter, or you have to go somewhere. If you lose power in your house, we still have a pandemic going on, so make sure that you’re still honoring those types of rules,” Meiman said. “Wearing a mask, staying six feet apart, try to stay around the same people you normally have in your household.”
Meiman said that with power outages, if a generator is needed, make sure to not put it anywhere inside a home or near windows or doors where the fumes can make their way inside.
Freezing temperatures can also cause issues with hypothermia, so Meiman asked residents to check on neighbors and bring pets indoors during the storm.
Fischer said the mass vaccination site at Broadbent is monitoring the situation and will make the call Wednesday morning if appointments need to be rescheduled. Doses will be reserved for those who need to be rescheduled.
The mayor also said Meals on Wheels deliveries Wednesday will be rescheduled, additional meals were given to those who participate in weekly pickup were able to receive additional meals last week in preparation for the winter storm.
“Do not let your guard down,” Fischer said. “Clearly, very cold weather is coming our way and likely some precipitation as well.”
City officials said they will continue to update on the winter storm throughout the next couple of days.
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