Lexington dealing with first major snow event of the season. Mayor Gorton, other leaders give update on city response
The snow began falling in Lexington around 10:30 Thursday morning but Mayor Linda Gorton told reporters the city's streets and roads department was already hours into its snow response plan.
Lexington’s first real snow of the season is here, and it’s a big one. “The salt barns are full, our first responders are prepared, and our Streets and Roads employees are already on the streets,” Mayor Linda Gorton said.
In this kind of weather when the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning, the City needs the assistance of every resident, Gorton said. “Stay off the roads if you can, help your neighbors - especially the elderly, and protect your pets from the bitter cold,” Gorton said.
City offices not involved in the snow response will close at noon today and reopen at 10 a.m. Friday, Gorton said.
Gorton called together representatives of city departments to discuss their weather plans:
DIVISION OF STEETS AND ROADS
City road crews are working 12-hour shifts, said Director Rob Allen. The Division began pre-treating roads with salt brine on Tuesday. Waste Management, Sanitary Sewer, Environmental Services, Code Enforcement, Sewer Treatement, and Parks employees are assisting with snow removal.
Both salt barns will be in use. Salt will be pretreated with brine and Beet Heet before application to improve its effectiveness at lower temperatures.
Residents in rural areas are reminded to watch for significant snow drifts on roadways.
Lexington Police Traffic Section has called officers in early to provide extra patrol and to monitor for disabled vehicles and hazardous roadways, said Sgt. Donnell Gordon. There have already been numerous accidents in the city, and problems on the interstates.
Additional officers are scheduled to work today and are prepared to stay late for traffic-related concerns. Nearly all police vehicles are equipped with all- or four-wheel drive.
Traffic Control equipment has been readied in the event of any power outages.
The Fire Department is fully staffed and works closely with all City divisions to meet the challenges of inclement weather. There are 155 line personnel on duty today for immediate response to emergencies, as well as the full complement of administrative and support staff.
Firefighters urge residents to use caution with home heating equipment. Heating equipment is the second most common cause of home fire fatalities. Although it is always important to have functioning smoke alarms, it is especially important when using alternative heat sources.
Waste Management is assessing whether collection needs to be suspended today in some areas, said Waste Management Division Director Tracey Thurman. Carts that are missed today will be picked up Saturday.
Garbage pick-up will run on a two-hour delay Friday. Commercial business collection will begin at 6:30 a.m. Residential service will begin at 7:30 a.m. If pick-up becomes too difficult on Friday, carts will be picked up on Saturday and next Wednesday.
OFFICE OF HOMELESSNESS PREVENTION AND INTERVENTION
The Office of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention activated its Community Winter Weather Response Plan Wednesday, triggering extended services to accommodate those who are seeking shelter from the cold weather, said Director Polly Ruddick.
Expanded capacity is available at the Hope Center, 360 W. Loudon Ave., and the Salvation Army, 736 W. Main St. Lighthouse Ministries, 190 Spruce St., will open at 3 p.m. today and will remain open until Saturday at noon for all adults who seeks shelter (no children), and pets. “A huge thank you to Tay Henderson at Lighthouse for opening her doors during this bitter cold,” Ruddick said. “Many of our citizens will be grateful for the warmth.”
Arbor Youth Services, 36 W. Third St., has established a new 18-24 year old shelter located at 540 West Third St. for young adults unsheltered during the cold. The shelter is open to anyone from birth to age 17.
Shelter information has been provided to Lexington Police and Fire, churches, emergency rooms and hospital staff, as well as a large variety of stakeholders. LexTran is providing free rides to shelters.
Citizens who see someone who may need shelter should call Lexington Police at 258-3600, the non-emergency number. In case of an emergency, call 9-1-1.