LIVE UPDATES: The latest on weather, travel conditions across Louisville region
Good morning everyone and merry christmas Eve, I’m Andy and I’m here with another update on uh, this state of emergency with this arctic front that has created very dangerous conditions both in the cold, the wind chill that can cause frostbite pretty quickly as well as roads that are dangerous too treacherous to simply impassable in many places. The main message to Kentucky ins is stay home, stay safe and stay alive. We are having dozens upon dozens of accidents um, across the state, uh, interstates, as soon as we get them cleared, we have another issue, uh, somewhere around the state, it’s simply not safe to travel right now. I know that’s hard because it’s christmas Eve, but our job is to provide you the best safety information we can because listen, this, this holiday christmas is about life and new life and we want everyone to stay alive so that they can celebrate with their families. The good news is uh, tomorrow temperatures will be coming up. Road conditions ought to get *** lot better tomorrow when temperatures reach *** level that the salt actually works on transportation is trying really hard to do the best they can with roads across the state right now, but it is simply too cold and the way this wind gusts through can create blizzard like conditions very quickly with the snow that’s on the ground. So folks, it is still very dangerous out there. Wind chill advisory remains in effect through this afternoon. Don’t let advisory fool you. It is really cold and the bluegrass region up to negative 17 or 19 degrees below zero in windchill. That is frostbite in 30 to 40 minutes, but it’s gonna hurt really bad before that, you know, if you’re out 10 minutes each, Even less, you will really feel it. So please everyone stay indoors, roadways um again are hazardous, too treacherous to impassable. As an example, since Thursday night we have had three separate major accidents on the same stretch of I-71. We’ll talk about that and *** bunch of others as we move on and more snow is on the way with the light snowfall possible monday into early Tuesday 1 to 2 inches are expected across the northern and western Kentucky regions with lesser amounts elsewhere, but it will be warmer then and road treatments ought to work *** lot better temperatures will not get above freezing until Tuesday for most of the commonwealth, but folks hunker down. Uh, let’s uh, let’s wait this out because by thursday highs are expected to be in the fifties and by friday maybe even in the sixties. Um, I do want to go back before we move to roadways and could you show the slide that talks about frostbite and has that chart? Yeah. Uh, this shows you um, just how dangerous it is out there. You know, we have temperatures um, that are, you know, in the, in the, you know, fives to two tens, uh, maybe to the 12, but then we have uh, the wind gusts and so you see you get very quickly into the, the, the blue to the darker blue. Um that’s when it gets dangerous. We’re currently in the lighter the this 30 minutes uh, area hoping that we will get out of that tomorrow but still um pretty concerning out there again, roadways are treacherous. We are urging Kentucky ins to stay home to ensure their safety and help our first responders and our road crew so they can do their work. Remember when there is *** tractor trailer jackknifed and virtually all of these major road incidents are multiple tractor trailers, Jackknife. It means that we can, can’t get the transportation cruz to the place to further treat the roads makes it hard for first responders to get to people and it takes *** massive effort uh, to clean up and to get people back on the roads. Think about how heavy these trucks are, how many of them there can be and what it takes um, to ultimately get the roads opened up again, uh, specific closure right now, avoid I 71 in gallatin county, Especially at mile marker 63 northbound traffic is being detoured at exit 62 but stay away right now from the entire area. The southbound is moving slowly. I want to emphasize that we need folks to stay away from this area. What we’re doing right now is first, we want to get all the vehicles that have been stuck out to give you an example over the night, we had about 700 vehicles over 14 miles that we were able to evacuate most by shutting down the interstate and turning them around, getting people out first from the back. Now we can get some of those that are stuck uh, north bound, but it’s gonna take some time. Once we get that done, we’re gonna treat that area significantly, do the best we can, but we gotta let the transportation trucks be able to go back and forth, which they’re doing right now to help clear it out. Once we reopen that section of I 71 we’re going to have to do it at *** reduced speed right now. The speed plus the conditions have caused three separate accidents just in this area. More accidents closer to Louisville. So the entire section of I 71 from the 75 71 interchange to the Waterson, It’s gonna be reduced to 45 mph until we can get through this tough and dangerous time. While some people may view that as an inconvenience. If you’re going even that fast, it’s dangerous on that area right now and we believe this is our best chance Not to have 1/4 major incident that shuts down this section of the interstate, it’s going to take an executive order, we’re going to get it out, but we believe this is the best way to keep traffic moving. We’d appreciate if our media partners let people know that while the *** section is shut down right now. Uh, as it opens up 45 mph on that entire area of I-71. And we would uh suggest to people that they actually go *** little bit slower. Uh, then that Uh, in that backup, I know that was tough for *** lot of folks, but we did wellness checks on every single vehicle on I-71 in that back up. Um, no tragedies or serious medical injuries certainly had to help *** lot of people. I know *** lot of people were, were scared. Um, it was *** major tractor trailer jackknifed. That took *** significant amount of time to clear. Thank you to the National Guard, the Kentucky state police for doing those wellness checks. Thank you to local first responders for doing them. Uh, as well to clear up one thing I think I saw out there on *** social media account, these were separate incidents. There hadn’t been *** backup since thursday night. These were all separate incidents. We got one cleared and another happened, we got that cleared and another happened, but we have had issues on I 71 probably the most issues of anywhere in the state since thursday night. So if you can avoid it, please do, but if you can avoid travel, do that too. We’ve had at least three accidents on I 65 overnight and into the morning, one was in Hardin county. Mile marker 91 another was in Edmondson at mile marker 43 another is at Heart County at mile marker 52. I 65. Also pretty treacherous right now. Those are three incidents over um, just *** night into *** morning that ought to tell you Um, how rough it is out there. We’ll have Jim Gray here in *** minute. He just came from Lexington to Frankfurt on I-64 and reports it was very rough going with cars sliding. Um, and, and coming off of the interstate. So, So again folks, um, be careful. Don’t travel if you don’t have to remember, do not call 911 just for traffic or weather information with all the folks that have been stranded or coming off the road. They need 911 folks that are in danger uh, to call and to get help. 911 is how one of the stranded motorists uh, lets us know what mile marker there at and whether they need gas or whether they need heat so please, um, if you need weather information, uh check your, your, your news, check social media accounts and and *** couple others will go through that. Do not clog up the 911, lines and again, if you can stay off the roads, let our road crews and our first responders do their work in response efforts. The Kentucky National Guard and Kentucky State police have helped recover dozens of cars and semi trailer trucks, They refueled vehicles and they’ve handed out water bottles and blankets to stranded motorists, Kentucky National Guard moved 40 vehicles related to the I 71 incident and that’s just one um, major mission for additional military vehicles, including *** record have been sent for extra support on I 71 soldiers and military vehicles have been deployed to Lawrence County to support medical transport options for emergency management. Again, police stay off the roads, we’d like to be able to send as many of these National Guard as we can home for christmas tonight. I think there’s certain areas of the state. We’re gonna be able to, to to do that. Um, but remember if you’re out driving in in treacherous conditions, that pulls first responders away on christmas eve from their families. So please really reconsider what your plans may be. Power outages. Currently, 43,289, this is *** developing part of this state of emergency. The extreme cold temperatures are really straining the regional power grid. Um, we’ve seen multiple providers have to go to uh, temporary outages where they shut down power for *** certain area for *** limited period of time, which should not cause any harm uh, to focus the uh, temperature in your house would not drop enough to be dangerous during that period and then they turn it back on. But there are things that we can all do to help First turn your thermostat to the lowest comfortable setting and then turn off all unnecessary lights. You know, when this was coming out yesterday, I walked around where we live and turned off every light that we didn’t need, especially as it’s light outside today, folks, see if you can go without the lights inside your house turned on. Um, that may be the difference between one extra house out there having power versus not based on the capacity that’s there. The utility workers and, and groups are doing their very best, uh, negative 15 to negative 30. Windchills would be *** strain on any system out there. This is the coldest we’ve seen since at least 1989. And remember we’re about three days into this. So, uh, there is that strength. Uh, and again, please stay off the roads. Uh, think about your plans and how you have them and what you’re doing. Um, I will tell you that uh, our plan was to go to our church, which is in Louisville today for christmas Eve. We’re gonna go to *** service that’s closer uh, here in Frankfurt, Make sure that we still get that christmas eve service in but reduce the risk and not get on uh, an interstate where again, we’re seeing some, some tough results. So, um, we care about you, we love you, I want you to be safe. Now you’re gonna hear from Emergency management Director Jeremy Slinger followed by Secretary Jim Gray. Good morning, everyone. Thanks Governor. I’ll be brief today. I just want to let everybody know the state Emergency Operations Center is still open, still activated and very, very involved in the incidents and the challenges that we’ve encountered in the last three days since these record setting temperatures have came in. So we’ll continue to be operating at full staff as as we have been. And we’ve even extended that the day to ensure that everyone knew that we were activated throughout the evening and on in tomorrow at christmas as well. With that said, I hope today is where we turn the corner and we don’t encounter these large scale accidents that are causing so many challenges to travel and safety. So I just asked all of you work with us and again turn the corner today and let’s have *** day that is not, uh, doesn’t end with *** large traffic backup or challenge or an injury or worse. So with that said, I kind of hit that thing. High points of my last two days on my briefing, you know, be safe, stay home if you can, as the governor said, uh, remember on the generators and alternate heating sources, make sure use those properly. And you and those generators you use outside. So be safe in that way. We keep emphasizing that because the temperatures haven’t fully led up yet. And I know those are out and the power outages that were mentioned, you might be using your generator in the near future for *** short time. Just remember what we said, use it outside would mention that we, the travel trailer sites that we’ve talked about several times. These temperatures did pose challenges for us in those travel trailer sites. Some water lines froze, some furnaces went out. But I will tell you our teams, our field teams and those periodic checks were spot on and made sure everyone was safe. We handed out bottled water, we repaired furnaces, we found heaters that do not cause *** fire hazard or carbon monoxide hazard to supplement where we needed to as well. And then one site in particular, it just wasn’t gonna be able to get it repaired before uh, evening yesterday and we were just too concerned about the temperatures. So as we described earlier, we implemented *** transportation and evacuation plan and the site of Crockett’s ville in breath It county. We called on our great partners with the Kentucky, fish and Wildlife law enforcement division as well as Kentucky State Police to bring out forward drive vehicles and help pack people’s belongings and move them to the buckhorn State Park lodge. We confirmed yesterday evening all eight of those families that hadn’t already made arrangements were arrived safely checked in. We checked on them this morning. They’re doing well. We hope when the temperatures move on, we get their trailers repaired and we get them back to *** place of normalcy to families did not have any utility or water issues and they chose to remain because uh, they were doing fine and they were happy to spend the holidays where they were at. And the last thing I reemphasize the I 71 is starting uh, to clear up. We’re watching it closely. Uh, the semis are in the right lane. The left lane is being cleared by Kentucky transportation cabinet and traffic currently is being diverted off that uh, exit so that we can keep those areas cleaned off and cleared and hopefully to have *** full opening uh, in the future. That said, I’d like to ask Secretary Grade to come up and talk about transportation. Thank you. Thanks director. And uh, and Governor, uh, you know, the Governor and the Director both has really said it well, um, this is still an active weather event and I can tell you myself from driving just from Lexington to Frankfurt how these icy conditions are affecting these roads and affecting people affecting these cars. These vehicles that are stalled that are, that have slid off the road. We saw two on the way over that. It just just slid off the road For sales. Police were with one. So the conditions are still very present, very treacherous and very dangerous. Our crews at KY T. C at the Transportation Cabinet have been on duty overnight. We’ll work all day today to get the roads clear to get impassable, but we advise everyone to please stay off the roads. These are still life endangering winter conditions. Governor said it already staying safe is more important than getting to any destination. Even though this is yes, this is christmas Eve and this is christmas, we’ve got to think about being safe. If travel is unavoidable, then expect to be delayed possibly for an extended period. And that’s why being prepared for lengthy delays is so important. And having an emergency pack in your vehicle with water, food, *** flashlight, batteries and blankets for keeping as warm as possible. And also said this before saying it again to punctuate it, make sure your gas tank is filled before heading out. Now let me speak to *** minute why the interstates, it’s been, it’s important to keep the interstates open. Our interstates and parkways are *** top priority. The top priority because they are more efficient than secondary roads, especially in extreme weather conditions. And what I mean by by that well, it’s easier for our plows to work on the interstates And with the, with more than one lane and with emergency lanes we have the access more room to maneuver to turn vehicles around when necessary. And remember the same icy conditions exist on the side roads, the secondary roads. Now the current situation, both the governor and the and Directors Linker have already spoken to this, but I want to, I want to speak to it as well. Uh, the conditions on I 71 northbound and gallatin County between mile marker 62 66 vehicles have been stalled, some still stalled, backed up. Mile marker 62 is the exit onto us 1 27 which is *** two lane to lane that we have two lanes of interstate in each direction. And as the governor said, and as the director said, I 71 north is closed beginning at exit 55 Kentucky. State police are clearing the backups on both ends of this queue and we’re working with state police. That is the Transportation cabinet’s working with state police to move vehicles to open up one lane of traffic for our trucks. So our transportation trucks, our plows can treat This lane, stalled vehicles can then use that lane to continue north on I-71 R 71 is open to traffic still, but it’s moving slowly and primarily as in this one lane vehicles have been reported to be stalled. Yes, Since last night, the good news is if there’s good news in this dangerous situation, I want to say that daylight and sunlight is good news. The thermal effect of this means that our treatments can become incrementally more effective, but travel will still be yes, dangerous and treacherous and that’s why the governor has just just issued. Um, the executive order will be issuing the executive order to reduce the speed limit from The current speed limit to 45 mph. And that is the location from the 71 75 interchange All the way to the Waterson Expressway on 71. We will be messaging this on our overhead message boards through transportation and through uh the transportation media. So let me say this again, avoid travel. I can speak to you from experience now this morning. If travel is absolutely unavoidable, Unavoidable, be prepared for long delays and pack an emergency kit with enough supplies for passengers. Should you be stranded for multiple hours Governor? All right. We’ll open it up to questions. We have three journalists on the line. First is Danny valley from W. S. I. L. Yes, not coming through. Sure. Ricky Sayer from W. L. E. X. Hi Governor About these power outages. I have two questions. Could things get worse before they get better. Especially if people don’t heed these messages about reducing their power usage. And when it comes to these blackouts, we’ve seen cold like this before, even colder, but no one seems to remember these rolling blackouts being necessary. What’s changed? Yeah, I’m I’m not sure that I would, you know, sometimes the term blackout is used when, when power goes off as as opposed to um what’s being done here is, is intentional knowing that the load right now is is greater than that part of the system. LG any in in Lexington can keep up with. But uh they’re close and what that means is that they can plan this out strategically. So uh no one is out for long. Obviously this is where they are intentionally taking these steps as opposed to where people may have lost power because of down tree limbs. Uh The longer it stays this cold the more other systems across the state could be challenged. But the good news is it’s getting warmer and it’s getting warmer each day. Um So for our our utility providers it’s really about making it through especially tomorrow. Um And and at worst uh the day after that. So we expect for it to be touch and go today and into tomorrow but it’s not an extended period of time. And if there is good news for um what for instance LG and E. Is having to do is that it is planned out that they can spread it across the system that they can keep everybody’s house warm enough the way they’re they’re they’re doing this I believe this is lessons learned from other places where they actually had uncontrolled blackouts that occurred. Uh So listen it’s not optimal but when mother nature gets down to negative 25 to 35 degrees windchill. Uh Systems, no system is designed for something that uh is that cold and of course the system would be taxed. Um We’re now on what it was thursday friday day, day three. Um But again we think everyday things are gonna get better. Um And everything we’ve seen thus far suggests that while 40 something 1000 power outages is too many uh that that we’re gonna make it through the next couple of days in terms of power, it’s not necessarily gonna be comfortable, but we’re gonna make it bria jones, W. F. P. L. Hi Governor. Do we know, I’m sorry, Do we know which areas are seeing like the like the worst of it as far as like ice and stuff goes? Um Like whether it’s like the western part of the state, central eastern part. So what what’s happening here is if you think about how the arctic front moved through, how it hit the west first. Well, it’s gonna warm up the same way, right, the west is already *** lot warmer uh than the bluegrass region. Um And and so right now, when we look at wind chill, it’s certainly in the central region, is the coldest now in terms of ice on the roads, it’s everywhere. That’s that’s still where we are. I mean, the west will get the first relief as it warms up *** little bit more. It’ll be the first area where the treatment that we use on the roads will be effective and and soon we hope by tomorrow even optimal and and how it can work, but but certainly um the further east that you are the kind of the Northeast has gotten hit the most the way the front work through, that’s where you’re gonna see ice the longest. But listen right now, if you go and you get in your car expect to drive on ice the whole time, that’s what your expectation should be. Um, you ought to not be going very far. You ought to go very, very slowly and it ought to take you if you’re being safe, 8 to 10 times longer to get there. Uh, again, uh, if you can hunker down, I know it’s christmas Eve, hold those that you love close and check on the people around you. This um, holiday to me again represents life and new life. We want to make sure everybody’s safe. It also represents love, love of our neighbors. So make sure you’re checking in on people, especially our seniors and just make the best decisions that you can for you and your family. I want to say *** big thank you uh, to all of our state employees, local first responders, everybody that’s out there in the cold and the emergency operations center. So you gave up yesterday, you’re gonna be giving up most of your christmas Eve and maybe some of your christmas day, but you’re living your faith and values. You’re truly living out the meaning uh, of this season. Thank you for your sacrifice and thank you for loving your neighbor as yourself. Whether they are Kentucky ins or or those from other states that are on our roads. Uh, right now, thank you for what you’re doing. All right, thank you all unless it is necessary. We will not have *** live update tomorrow on christmas day, but we will be again putting out updates on social media and others. It should get better tomorrow. So if you’re planning on on seeing some family that hopefully lives close but might be *** dr christmas day is gonna be safer than christmas eve. But to everybody out there, um, merry christmas, we can’t choose what the weather’s like and the road conditions are like during it. Um, but we can love each other nonetheless and live out the season to its fullest merry christmas to all the kids, santa’s still coming. I can’t stop him. Nothing can stop him. That’s why santa.
LIVE UPDATES: The latest on weather, travel conditions across Louisville region
While snow is done falling, the impact of an arctic blast will linger throughout the Louisville region.Snow started falling around 8 p.m. on Thursday and fell for hours, leaving 2-4 inches across the area.Temperatures fell drastically, by nearly 50 degrees in some parts between Thursday and Friday.Resources: INTERACTIVE RADAR // ALERTS // CLOSURES // POWER OUTAGESBelow, we’ll give updates from officials as the weather continues to impact the area over the next days.9:40 p.m., Saturday Oldham County dispatch tells WLKY thanks to state crews putting down salt, they have just been able to re-open Highway 42. 8:30 p.m., SaturdayDispatch in Oldham County advises drivers to avoid Highway 42 from Hillcrest to River Bluff, saying the roadway has iced over and conditions are dangerous. It’s unknown how long Highway 42 will be shut down but dispatch says they’re working to get crews to the area.4:52 p.m., SaturdayState Police release a statement reading, “At this time due to a collective effort by the Kentucky State Police, the Kentucky National Guard, the state highway department, and everyone else involved Interstate 71 is open northbound and southbound in Gallatin County.” Multiple crashes began around 11:30 Thursday evening when conditions began to deteriorate, causing drivers to become stranded for miles. 1:30 p.m., SaturdayGov. Beshear issues a temporary executive order reducing the speed limit to 45 mph on two interstates.10 a.m., SaturdayGov. Beshear gives an update in which he advises drivers to please stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary until conditions can improve.9 a.m., SaturdayRoad conditions still highly variable around the region with temperatures still dangerously low.8:30 a.m., SaturdayI-65 is shutdown at the 51 mile marker southbound just south of Cave City. Traffic is backing up due to the road being ice covered and impassable. 6:30 a.m., SaturdayTARC resumes services. Work continues to clear I-71 northbound near Gallatin County.8 p.m., FridayLouisville Metro Police Department says they have helped one person stranded, two crashes, with one being an injury, and one hit-and-run.LMPD said they will provide more information once it becomes available.3 p.m., FridayHospital numbers:UofL Health: 6 frostbite patientsBaptist: 1 hypothermia patientNoon, FridayLouisville mayor holds update. He said as of 11 a.m., there have been 8 injury accidents, 70 non-injury accidents and 41 cold exposures, meaning people had to be taken to shelter or hospital to warm up.Trash collection is suspended. Friday’s garbage will be picked up Monday.City crews have enough salt to start applications as temperatures rise enough for it to be effective. Salt starts to work around 10-15 degrees.Highlands, Lyndon and Valley Station are seeing the most LG&E power outages.Operation White Flag is still in effect and a homeless shelter has been opened at Broadbent Shelter, 40 people are currently staying there.10 a.m., Friday Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear says at least two people have died in weather-related ways. Another was announced later.He urged people to stay inside unless absolutely necessary, especially shoppers and travelers.7 a.m., Friday Roads across the Louisville region are passable with extreme caution, but crews still have a lot of work to do. Salt isn’t quite effective with temperatures so low.Wind chills are nearly -30 degrees.
While snow is done falling, the impact of an arctic blast will linger throughout the Louisville region.
Snow started falling around 8 p.m. on Thursday and fell for hours, leaving 2-4 inches across the area.
Temperatures fell drastically, by nearly 50 degrees in some parts between Thursday and Friday.
Below, we’ll give updates from officials as the weather continues to impact the area over the next days.
9:40 p.m., Saturday
Oldham County dispatch tells WLKY thanks to state crews putting down salt, they have just been able to re-open Highway 42.
8:30 p.m., Saturday
Dispatch in Oldham County advises drivers to avoid Highway 42 from Hillcrest to River Bluff, saying the roadway has iced over and conditions are dangerous. It’s unknown how long Highway 42 will be shut down but dispatch says they’re working to get crews to the area.
4:52 p.m., Saturday
State Police release a statement reading, “At this time due to a collective effort by the Kentucky State Police, the Kentucky National Guard, the state highway department, and everyone else involved Interstate 71 is open northbound and southbound in Gallatin County.” Multiple crashes began around 11:30 Thursday evening when conditions began to deteriorate, causing drivers to become stranded for miles.
1:30 p.m., Saturday
Gov. Beshear issues a temporary executive order reducing the speed limit to 45 mph on two interstates.
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10 a.m., Saturday
Gov. Beshear gives an update in which he advises drivers to please stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary until conditions can improve.
9 a.m., Saturday
Road conditions still highly variable around the region with temperatures still dangerously low.
8:30 a.m., Saturday
I-65 is shutdown at the 51 mile marker southbound just south of Cave City. Traffic is backing up due to the road being ice covered and impassable.
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6:30 a.m., Saturday
TARC resumes services.
Work continues to clear I-71 northbound near Gallatin County.
8 p.m., Friday
Louisville Metro Police Department says they have helped one person stranded, two crashes, with one being an injury, and one hit-and-run.
LMPD said they will provide more information once it becomes available.
3 p.m., Friday
- UofL Health: 6 frostbite patients
- Baptist: 1 hypothermia patient
Louisville mayor holds update. He said as of 11 a.m., there have been 8 injury accidents, 70 non-injury accidents and 41 cold exposures, meaning people had to be taken to shelter or hospital to warm up.
Trash collection is suspended. Friday’s garbage will be picked up Monday.
City crews have enough salt to start applications as temperatures rise enough for it to be effective. Salt starts to work around 10-15 degrees.
Highlands, Lyndon and Valley Station are seeing the most LG&E power outages.
Operation White Flag is still in effect and a homeless shelter has been opened at Broadbent Shelter, 40 people are currently staying there.
10 a.m., Friday
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear says at least two people have died in weather-related ways. Another was announced later.
He urged people to stay inside unless absolutely necessary, especially shoppers and travelers.
7 a.m., Friday
Roads across the Louisville region are passable with extreme caution, but crews still have a lot of work to do. Salt isn’t quite effective with temperatures so low.
Wind chills are nearly -30 degrees.