Following the U.S. National Weather Service of Jackson’s announcement of an anticipated significant ice storm for most of Eastern Kentucky last week, several communities in Hazard and Perry County have continued to see weather-related issues surrounding ice and snow storms that continued to impact the county into this week. These impacts include power outages, tree damage and treacherous travel conditions.
Jerry Wayne Stacy, the Perry County Emergency Management director, said that the largest concern for local officials at the moment is the downed trees.
“The biggest issue it seems that we’ve got right now, we have a lot of trees down, an enormous amount of trees down, throughout the county — not just on the county roads, but on the state roads as well,” said Stacy.
On Tuesday, Stacy said crews were focusing on clearing up trees and salting roads as they could.
“We’re really working on trees today (Feb. 16) as much as we can. We’ve also tried to salt as many roads as we can,” said Stacy. “The main thing right now is trying to get roads opened up so they can get out in case of an emergency.”
In addition to clearing the roads, Stacy said the city and county are concerned about the power outages caused by the storm.
“We’re not anticipating any water issues as of right now. Our concern is we still have power outages in several places which does affect some throughout the county,” said Stacy. “We’ve got 3,000 customers in Perry County without power. That’s about 20 percent of customers in the county. That’s an issue especially with the cold weather coming in today and tonight.”
Stacy said the Perry County Courthouse is currently being used as a warming center, and will operate from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Crews assessing damage to see if more warming stations are needed.
“We do have a warming station open here at the courthouse,” said Stacy. “If we do have a bigger demand, we do have other areas that we can open as needed.”
Kentucky Power officials said they are assessing and working on outages, and restoration efforts are being conducted in an all-hands-on-deck approach with crews working until every customer is restored, said the company. Damage assessment is the initial step in power restoration once it is safe for crews to travel. Restoration will be completed through a prioritized process, with essential facilities such as hospitals being restored first; then large circuits affecting the most customers being restored second; and then to other homes and businesses on smaller outage cases.
Customers can report outages and check the latest restoration information for their account anytime at kentuckypower.com/outages or by downloading the Kentucky Power mobile app at kentuckypower.com/app. The outage map is updated every 15 minutes. Customers can report outages online, on their mobile device or to the Customer Operations Center at, 1-800-572-1113. Customers can also get specific information about outages via text message and/or email by subscribing to Kentucky Power outage alerts. To sign up, please visit, www.kentuckypower.com/alerts.
Officials urged that, if possible, people should stay home until roads are clearer.
“It’s still our recommendation to stay home if you can. If you can’t and you have to go (out), just make sure to allow yourself plenty of time and really be careful because there are still slick, icy places and that will continue,” said Stacy. “Ice is variant from what I can see. On the mountains and ridge tops there is an enormous amount of ice in places. On these ridge tops it’s more than I’ve ever seen on the trees and I’ve seen some pretty bad accumulations in my lifetime. Then you get low down in the hollows and it’s not nearly as bad.”
More updates on the storm and warming stations will be given as available, and can be found on the City of Hazard’s and the Perry County Fiscal Court’s Facebook pages.