As forecasted, freezing rain and ice pelted Fayette County throughout Thursday morning and into the afternoon with an additional four to six inches of snow predicted for the evening and overnight hours.
As of 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Fayette County was under a Level Two snow emergency as roadways continued to deteriorate. Under a Level 2, community members should only travel if absolutely necessary. Ice was steadily accumulating on roadways, trees, cars, houses, etc.
“We’re still experiencing sleet and freezing rain, and with the six inches of snow they’re predicting along with possible 35 mile per hour winds, travel will be almost impossible tonight (Thursday night),” Fayette County Sheriff Vernon Stanforth said Thursday afternoon.
Road crews from the city, county and ODOT were out in force at all hours treating the roadways even as more ice fell.
“The crews are doing the best they can, but putting salt down isn’t doing a lot of good because it’s going on top of the ice,” said Stanforth. “They couldn’t pre-treat the roads because of the rainfall on Wednesday…the rain was washing the salt off.”
Although no serious injuries were reported as of Thursday afternoon, several semi trucks jackknifed on the main truck routes and a few slid completely off the roadways. Trees came down on Lewis Road, Flakes Ford Road and Ghormley Road due to the ice, but have since been removed by local fire departments.
US 62 NE between Madison Mills and Cook-Yankeetown Road on both directions was shut down Thursday afternoon due to a jackknifed semi tractor/trailer, according to Stanforth. A portion of US 35 westbound was also shut down due to a jackknifed truck.
However, as of Thursday afternoon, no power outages were reported.
Fayette County was placed on a Level 1 snow emergency at approximately 6:30 a.m. prior to the Level 2 emergency.
“There wasn’t much traffic on the roads, so hopefully everyone is staying home if possible,” said Stanforth. “If we get the additional six inches of snow along with the 35 mile per hour winds, that could create several feet of drifts. Hopefully, we don’t have to go to a Level 3, but the added wind may constitute a Level 3. This system is going to have a two-day impact.”
In preparation for the forecasted winter storm, all three local schools — Miami Trace Local Schools, Washington Court House City Schools, and Fayette Christian School — announced they would be closed on Thursday. Miami Trace went to remote learning.
Not only did schools announce closures Wednesday evening for safety concerns, so did Fayette County Public Health, Fayette County BMV/Title Department, Fayette County Administrative Offices (including commissioners, treasurer, recorder, auditor, tax map and county water/sewer offices), Fayette County Courthouse, Washington Muncipal Court, and Fayette County Commission on Aging (there were no Meals on Wheels with recipients being instructed to use blizzard packs).
The Fayette County Dog Shelter and the Fayette Regional Humane Society both closed to the public, although staff of both organizations continued with their morning tasks and taking care of on-site animals. Humane Law Enforcement from FRHS and the dog warden from the shelter were both available for emergencies.
Destination Outlets also closed for the day.
This story was last updated at 1 p.m. on Thursday.
Stay with www.recordherald.com for the latest on the winter storm.