Elizabethtown relying on experience to prep for 2022 ice storm

Hardin County leaders haven’t forgotten the storm of 2009. That’s why the prep work started Sunday and continued through Wednesday evening.
Published: Feb. 2, 2022 at 7:19 PM EST
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ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (WAVE) - As a potential ice storm makes its way into Kentucky, thousands in Elizabethtown are using the time to make last-minute preparations.

The Kroger parking lot on Towne Drive was packed Wednesday afternoon with people picking up essentials before the storm.

“Well, I hate ice,” Elizabethtown resident Jim Ray said.

Ray told WAVE News he took care of his shopping Tuesday, so he didn’t have to beat the crowds.

During the ice storm of 2009, Ray said his family lost power for nine days.

“Oh, it was horrendous,” Ray said. “[We] had to go to hotels [for] three days and then I stayed at my brother’s house, my sister’s house, my brother-in-law’s house.”

The storm, now 13 years old, is still fresh in the mind of many in Elizabethtown.

“I was here for that ice storm,” Christian said. “That one was a bad one, but we just moved back from Colorado, so I’m not worried about anything.”

Hardin County leaders haven’t forgotten that storm either. That’s why the prep work started Sunday and continued through Wednesday evening, analyzing new weather data in real time.

“Obviously, it’s a challenge,” Elizabethtown Police spokesman Chris Denham said. “You can’t pre-treat roads when there’s this amount of rainfall coming down, as is. So unfortunately, in that respect, you have to be reactive. But we are being proactive in the preparation, you know, we’re very aware of what could potentially come and we are prepared to take care of it should issues arise.”

Hardin County Chief of Emergency Services Bryce Shumate told WAVE News the biggest issue will likely be power outages because of the ice. During the ice storm of 2021, 1,100 customers were without power at the storm’s peak.

Shumate said the county’s 11 shelters are already on standby should that happen again.

“When you start to get to a half an inch of ice accretion, then we start to see some lines break,” Shumate said. “But what we really see are limbs that break and fall on the lines and that’s what causes a lot of our problems.”

Shumate encouraged people to stay home during the storm, follow the county and city’s social media pages to receive real-time updates and avoid calling 911 for situations that are not emergencies.

“We want to make sure that people understand, yes, now is the time to plan,” Shumate said. “Make sure that you have talked to your family members and have got a plan for, ‘What am I going to do for an alternative heat source if electricity goes out? Do I have a generator? If I do have a generator, does it start? Do I have plenty of fuel for it? Do I have supplies to take care of my family members and my pet?’”

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