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Winter weather still affecting community

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This is Severe Weather Preparedness Week in Kentucky

By Calen McKinney

 

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He says it's been the worst winter Taylor Countians have seen in years. And, it's not officially over yet.

Taylor County's main roads might now be clear, but side roads are still covered in snow and ice.

Residents are continuing to thaw from four and a half inches of snow, a layer of ice and a quarter of an inch of sleet that came down on Sunday night.

And even though Taylor Countians likely believe they got their far share of winter from Mother Nature over the weekend, Ronnie Dooley, public information coordinator for Taylor County Emergency Management, said weather officials predicted the community would see even more than it got. They especially believed residents would see more ice.

"That would have created a lot of more major problems," Dooley said.

Temperatures have hovered around the 30s and 40s for the past few days, which allowed some of the snow and ice to melt, Dooley said. But there is a chance for more snowfall on Saturday.

State and city and county road workers were out scraping and salting the roadways on Monday and Tuesday with the limited supply of road salt they have left. And Dooley said the work has proved beneficial. But roads are slushy now, Dooley said, but the concern now is that the slush will continue to freeze each night as temperatures dip.

As long as temperatures stay in the 40s, Dooley said, roads should soon return to their normal condition.

"That will help a whole lot with the melting," he said.

Though residents saw school canceled the first three days of the week, many events canceled and businesses close their doors on Monday and Tuesday, there weren't any widespread electricity outages caused by the snowfall. Some businesses experienced freezing water lines.

Since the community didn't see the ice it expected, Dooley said, there were no problems with downed trees.

Dooley said there were some minor vehicle crashes because of the snow and ice, though no major collisions were reported. Many people slid off the roadway, Dooley said, and some became stuck.

"It's been a winter that we hadn't seen for a while," Dooley said.

In years past, Dooley said, residents have seen a storm drop an inch or so of snow during the winter, and that has been all. But this year, temperatures have dropped to zero degrees and below on several occasions.

"It's been colder longer this winter," he said.

Severe Weather Preparedness

This week is Severe Weather Preparedness Week in Kentucky, and with winter lingering and a tornado in January, Dooley says it's important that residents take time to prepare for severe weather.

As the winter weather breaks, he said, and spring comes on March 20, cold air is typically still present, which could create thunderstorms and even tornados.

Springtime is the most prominent time for those types of storms, Dooley said, though the weather could change at a moment's notice.

"It could happen any time," he said.

Officials conducted a statewide tornado drill yesterday, Dooley said. And it's important that families develop and practice their plans, too.

"Always have a plan of action in place," he said. "Know ahead of time what you're gonna do, where you're gonna go."

George Wilson, the City and County's emergency management director, said residents should be sure to pay attention to media outlets during severe weather. They will give residents the information they need, he said.

"You need to just be looking for it," he said.

Dooley recommends residents have flashlights, batteries and a NOAA weather radio at home in case of a severe storm. Weather radios are available at just about any retail store, he said.

When a severe weather warning is issued, Dooley said, residents should be sure to take cover. They shouldn't wait so long to do so that they are out during the peak of the storm.

In a severe storm, Dooley said, residents should move to the lowest level of their homes, such as a basement. If a home doesn't have one, he said, residents should take cover in the center of the structure, around interior walls.

If a person is driving during a severe storm, Wilson said, he suggests staying inside the vehicle. But if a tornado is coming, he said, he recommends they get out and take cover in a ditch.

Since residents have seen an unusually severe winter, Dooley said, it wouldn't surprise him to see severe weather in springtime.

"It's really possible," he said. "It's hard to tell."

Wilson said a stormy spring season isn't predicted this year, but anytime there is a change in temperature, storms are possible.

Though it can change by the minute, Dooley said, Taylor Countians typically see pretty mild weather throughout the seasons. However, he said, wind has caused more damage in the past few seasons than in past years.

For those who want to learn more about severe weather preparedness, Taylor County Emergency Management and Taylor County Fire & Rescue will host a weather spotter class on Tuesday, March 25, at 6 p.m. at the fire station. It is open to the public, he said, and National Weather Service personnel will teach those attending about weather safety.

Residents who haven't signed up to receive alerts from the community's CodeRED weather alert system can visit www.campbellsville.us or call Campbellsville/Taylor County E-911 center at (270) 465-8000.

Should a severe weather event come to Taylor County, Dooley said he believes responders are prepared.

"I feel that we are prepared the best we can be," he said.