PRESTONSBURG – Massive snow falls in the region over the weekend crippled most of Eastern Kentucky and left many in Floyd County trapped beneath a mountain of snow.
A state of emergency was declared for Kentucky by Governor Matt Bevin on Friday.
After initial snow falls Wednesday of last week, a second massive front of weather arrived Friday morning and continued steady until Saturday afternoon. The one day totals achieved on Friday of 16.8 inches were close to the record numbers reached during the March 1993 storm; the Blizzard of the 20th century.
On Thursday, the City of Prestonsburg and its first responders released a statement on Facebook notifying citizens of warming shelters that had been established at four locations around town in the event of power outages. Despite fears of outages, AEP and Big Sandy RECC reported minimal outages in Eastern Kentucky during the storm.
Floyd County Judge Executive Ben Hale said the snow falls in the county totaled sixteen to eighteen inches in most places. “It was a deep one. The blessing was that we didn’t lose the electricity or water.
Hale says his crews worked all weekend to open most of the county roads. “We’ve gone back trying to clean up some of those roads now. For the most part people can get in and get out now. Still pockets.”
Snow falls early Friday morning were so thick and steady as to reduce visibility to a few hundred yards. Roads quickly became impassible. Hale said that several of his county vehicles got stuck over the weekend due to the amount of snow. “You do what you can do with this kind of snow fall. It’s not five inches of snow,” said Hale of the counties plows. “It’s a little different when you’re pushing sixteen to eighteen inches of snow.”
Floyd County Schools were called off the remainder of the week last Wednesday, and many school districts in the regional remained closed on Monday as people in the county began to dig out. Despite the weather however, the board still held its regular monthly meeting at May Valley Elementary.
Hale says that he is proud of how the county responded during the emergency. “I’m proud of the guys who worked. Rescue squads and fire departments all pitched in and helped. Everybody just worked together.”
Hale added that people should still check on the elderly and their neighbors, particularly in areas where snow is still a concern.
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