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Kentucky prepares for effects of Hurricane Sandy

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct 29, 2012) — State and local officials continue preparations as two major storm systems bear down on the eastern United States. A strong cold front is pushing down from Canada forcing Hurricane Sandy to turn inland along the eastern seaboard causing a major weather event, which could impact one third of the nation and may cause winter storm conditions in the higher elevations of eastern Kentucky.

The National Weather Service (NWS) Jackson, Ky., office, serving eastern Kentucky, has issued winter storm watches and warnings across much of the region as rain will likely change to a period of snow late tonight and early Tuesday morning in the valleys east of I-75, with some light accumulations possible. The snow will continue to fall above 2,000 feet elevation with significant accumulations expected.

A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for Martin, Johnson, Floyd, Knott, Perry, Leslie and Bell counties from 10 this evening through noon on Tuesday. This is in addition to the Winter Storm Warning that is in effect for Pike, Letcher and Harlan counties through 8 a.m. Wednesday.

Kentucky Emergency Management (KYEM) is on heightened alert and prepared to respond if the weather worsens.

“Although Kentucky is not expecting the severity of weather condition our neighbors to the east are, we must be aware and prepared just the same,” said KYEM Director John Heltzel. “The best advice anyone can heed is avoid unnecessary travel. If you must travel, allow extra time and keep plenty of distance between you and other vehicles. Give snow removal and salt trucks plenty of room to do their job. If you encounter flooded roadways, turn around.”

Because of the remaining tree foliage, this type of wet snow could cause tree debris and downed power lines. If you see or encounter downed power lines, do not approach them, call your utility provider and report the location.

Another concern is space heaters used in cold weather, or individuals using generators during these outages. If you use space heaters be sure to follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions, making sure the heaters have proper and adequate ventilation for the exhaust gases, and keep them away from curtains, furniture or other flammable items.

Other safety measures to remember:

– Always operate generators outside the home and away from windows and doors. Keep fresh batteries in your smoke alarms, as well as your weather alert radios.

– Keep a small bag of kitty litter or rock salt in a car trunk to be used if one gets stuck on a patch of ice or a frozen rut. Always keep blankets or sleeping bags available during winter travel, as well.

– When driving during snowy weather conditions allow plenty of room between vehicles and watch your speed. Slow down. The best advice remains, if you don’t have to travel during inclement weather, don’t.

– Being prepared for winter weather, as all weather, starts at home.

–  During periods of inclement weather, stay tuned to your local broadcasting stations, possess and monitor a weather alert radio.

For more information, visit www.kyem.ky.gov.