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Lexington City leaders detail plans for ice storm

Josh James

Mayor Linda Gorton and representatives from various city departments detailed their action plans to deal with an ice storm which was expected to move through Lexington starting Thursday afternoon.

Voices in order of appearance:

Mayor Linda Gorton
Tim Brandewie: Division of Emergency Mgmt.
David Freibert Jr.: VP External Affairs Kentucky Utilities
Rob Allen: Division of Streets and Roads
Jason Wells: Lexington Fire Chief
Sergeant Guy Miller: Lexington PD
Charlie Lanter: Lexington Housing Commissioner

Mayor: if you can, stay off icy roads

Coming off of one of the snowiest Januarys in recorded history, Lexington is starting off February facing predictions of a serious ice storm, Mayor Linda Gorton said today.

“Our message is simple,” Gorton said. “In an ice storm, if you can stay home and stay off the roads, please do. Ice is dangerous, and the frigid temperatures that are forecast will keep it around for several days.”

Gorton encouraged people to help their neighbors, especially those who are elderly, and to keep pets indoors.

Gorton closed city offices not involved in the winter weather response on Thursday. Garbage collection was canceled on Thursday.

Gorton called together representatives of city departments to discuss their weather plans:


Once icing begins it becomes difficult to improve road conditions as long as temperatures are low. Pretreatment has little effect with the rain preceding the shift to ice. Plowing and salt have limited effectiveness in removing ice.

City road crews are will be working 12-hour shifts Thursday through Saturday to clear limbs and make as much progress with the roads as possible, said Director Rob Allen. Contractors hired by the City to plow streets will also be working. Salt supplies at both salt barns have been topped off, and both barns will be in use.

Residents who need to report limbs in the road should call LexCall 3-1-1 (859-425-2255).

City crews have prepped chain saws, knucklebooms, and other equipment to be prepared for tree and limb removal, and made sure generators are operating in case of power loss.

The City has initial plans for collecting and disposing of downed limbs and trees, if needed. Crews will focus on roads that connect to emergency services first, and then move through snow plan priorities. Finally, crew members who normally treat sidewalks will be reassigned to remove tree debris if needed.


Lexington Division of Police has plans in place to ensure staffing is available to manage traffic and help stranded motorists.

Police warn that the change from a wet roadway to an ice-covered roadway can occur very rapidly. Motorists are encouraged to proceed with extreme caution.

In the event a traffic signal loses power, motorists should treat the intersection as a four-way stop.

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 available for immediate response to emergencies. With freezing rain in the forecast, firefighters warn residents not to touch or get near a downed power line. The line should be reported to 9-1-1.

The Fire Department has prepped saws in preparation for downed trees and limbs, and will assist Streets and Roads and Lexington Police.


The City will begin staffing the Emergency Operations Center this afternoon. There are plans in place to open a warming center or a shelter, if needed.


There will be no garbage collection on Thursday.


The Office of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention has activated its Community Winter Weather Response Plan, triggering extended services to accommodate those who are seeking shelter from the cold weather, said Director Polly Ruddick.

The City of Lexington, in partnership with local shelters, ensures that no person will have to sleep on the streets during extreme cold weather. Lexington expands all shelter capacity to give each individual the opportunity for warmth and services. Shelters are prepared to cope with a loss of power.

Expanded 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.

It is critically important that any citizen who sees someone who may need shelter should call Lexington Police at 859-258-3600, the non-emergency number. In case of an emergency, call 9-1-1.


A number of parks facilities and activities are closed or canceled today, including: golf courses and shops; Dunbar Community Center, Kenwick Community Center, Castlewood Community Center, and William Wells Brown Community Center; Kiddie Kapers and Dance Attack classes; Artworks at the Carver School; Brenda Cowan Elementary school performance at Pam Miller Downtown Arts Center; Raven Run Nature Sanctuary and McConnell Springs Park; Therapeutic Recreation in-person fitness program, (all Therapeutic Recreation virtual programming will continue), and Extended School Programs.