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SNOW KIDDING?

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By Jamie Baker-Nantz

The first significant snow of the new year caused only a handful of problems earlier this week.

An empty tanker truck jackknifed and over turned on Interstate-75 in the southbound lane between Crittenden and Dry Ridge at 9:23 a.m. on Jan. 11.

The accident closed 1.5 lanes for about two hours while the wreck was cleaned up.
Grant County schools were not in session, but Williamstown school was in session.

Ron Kinmon, director of operations for Grant County schools, made the decision to call off school at 4:55 a.m.

“Obviously we look at the weather forecast, current and what is predicted throughout the day,” Kinmon said.

On Tuesday, he said the district was concerned that if conditions deteriorated throughout the day then getting students home safely in the evening could be problematic.

So he spent a late night and early morning watching the Accu Weather, which the district subscribes to, to aid administrators in determining whether or not to have school.

“They weren’t saying IF we got snow, they were saying we were getting snow, so we decided it was a safer bet to not have school rather than risk student’s safety,” Kinmon said.

It was also a long night for Eddie Gabbert, director of transportation for Williamstown schools, who was up at 4 a.m. watching the weather and checking roads.

“At the time we had to make the decision it hadn’t started snowing and didn’t until 7:10 a.m., so we were able to get our kids to school without any problems.

Gabbert credited the hard work of the city, county and state road crews in cleaning and treating the roads for being a big factor in the district’s ability to have school.

“We don’t have as many miles as Grant County and we got lucky with our call on Tuesday,” he said. “It worked out well that the roads were better by the time school was out so there was no reason not to stay all day and that’s our main concern, not putting anyone in harm’s way.”

Forecasters predicted 3 to 5 inches of snow beginning around midnight on Jan. 10 with snow continuing through to Wednesday.

According to the National Weather Service in Wlimington, Ohio, Grant County officially received two to four inches of snow.

Grant County Judge-Executive Darrell Link joined other communities surrounding Grant County when he declared a Level 1 snow emergency around noon on Tuesday.

Link said the county road department didn’t experience any problems with this snow, but a salt truck did overturn at 1 a.m. on Jan. 8 on Dry Ridge-Mt. Zion Road after the county was hit by snow and ice. The truck driver was not hurt and the truck received minor damage, totaling about $1,000.

Freezing temperatures and a downpour of snow and sleet can lead to a recipe for disaster on the roadways.

Despite some people’s beliefs, even if a snow emergency is declared by the judge, residents are not necessarily ordered not to drive on the roads.

“People are not forbidden to drive,” said Link. “We suggest that everyone call their employer to see if they should report to work.”

One problem that plagues the city and county road departments during snow are people parking on the right-of-way.

During all snow emergencies, no vehicle may be parked upon any public road right of way.  

Condition reports on major state routes are available by calling 511 or logging onto the 511 travel and traffic information Web site at 511.ky.gov.

Road conditions are described in the following manner:
• Wet Pavement – The roadway is wet. Ice could form as  temperatures drop.
• Partly Covered – The roadway is partly covered with snow, slush or ice. Markings may be obscured.
• Mostly Covered – The roadway is mostly covered with snow, slush or ice. Roadway markers may be difficult to see because of packed snow and rutting conditions.
• Completely Covered – The roadway is completely covered with snow, slush or ice and markings are obscured.
• Impassable – Roadway conditions are not suitable for travel unless required by an emergency.   
The following are winter driving tips from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet:
• If you don’t have to be on the roads, stay home until the roads are treated and open for safe travel.
• If you are traveling behind a snow plow, don’t follow it too closely. Give them room to work.
• Make sure that your vehicle is in shape for winter driving. Have tires that are properly inflated and have good tread.
• Make sure that your windows are clear of frost and snow so that you can see all around you, not just a little “chiseled out” section.
• Make sure your wipers are adequate and working.
• Have plenty of gas.
• Have a cell phone.

WHAT DO SNOW LEVEL EMERGENCIES MEAN TO ME?

Level 1: Roadways are hazardous with blowing and/or drifting snow. Roadways, bridges and overpasses may be icy and cautious driving is advised.

Level 2: Roadways conditions are a little worse and only motorists whose travel is necessary should be on the roadways. Call your employer about reporting for work.

Level 3: All roadways are restricted to emergency personnel use only, for travel to work, for provisions, medical supplies or medical treatment and snow removal operations.

Below is Channel 9 WCPO's forecast for Friday and the next few days.

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