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KY Winter Weather Updates: Kentucky governor declares State of Emergency due to snow

Roads in Jefferson County are fairly clear, but other parts of the state are still having issues Friday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville's first snow of 2022 started falling Thursday morning. Several inches fell across the state, with the heaviest accumulation south of the Parkways.

After the snow, temperatures plummeted overnight with some areas dropping into the single digits, creating the possibility of black ice on the roadways.

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Here's what happened Friday

Keeneland changes January Sale date

The January Horses of All Ages Sale event in Lexington has been pushed back a day due to the winter storm, according to a press release from Keeneland. The new start date is now Tuesday, Jan. 11 with preview days on Jan. 9 and 10.

A representative for the track said Thursday's snow caused transportation issues and shipping cancellations, so the horses will not arrive on the grounds until Saturday, Jan. 8.

“Our top priority is the safety of the horses and sales participants, and the delayed start to the sale will allow for their safe arrival and give consignors adequate time to show their horses,” Keeneland Vice President of Sales Tony Lacy said. “Our customers have been virtually unanimous in their recommendation to make this change.”

Friday commute

Conditions Friday morning were still hazardous in several areas. Around 9 a.m., Kentucky State Police said it was still advising drivers to stay off the roads. If you need to travel, you are asked to clear off your vehicles of any leftover snow, drive slowly and leave space between other vehicles on the roads.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet officials in Elizabethtown said all of the roads in the district were still "covered and slick with compacted snow." Crews will not be able to treat the roads again until temperatures rise, but plowing is still underway.

Bardstown Police also warned drivers about the potential for dangerous road conditions Friday morning.

RELATED: 'Drive slow': How officials say you should drive on the roads during winter weather

Salvador Melendez with Louisville Public Works said the Metro Snow Team will continue to apply a rock salt and calcium chloride mix to the roads to reduce slick spots and make sure roads are safe. While most areas have been plowed, icy conditions are still possible due to the low temperatures.

A Louisville Metro Police spokesperson said there were a "handful" of crashes related to weather reported during the overnight and morning hours Friday, but nothing like the department saw Thursday.

A fresh group of KYTC crews in Jefferson County started work at 8 a.m. Friday to relieve those who worked overnight. Jim Hannah, a public information officer for KYTC District 5, said plow drivers will focus on cleaning up shoulders and ramps through the day.

Here's what happened Thursday

Overnight clearing in Louisville

60 crews in Jefferson County worked overnight to prepare the roads for Friday, Sal Melendez with Louisville Metro Public Works said.

Kentucky got hit with the first snow of the year on January 6, and drivers were stuck on the road for hours. Melendez said their biggest obstacle Thursday was the number of cars on the road at the same time as the snowfall.

RELATED: Louisville Metro Public Works crews to work through the night, hope to clear roads

Parkway pile up

Cars and semi-trucks were stuck in a pileup on Western Kentucky Parkway Thursday due to the massive snowfall. About 20 to 30 cars and semi-trucks were in the pileup in Hardin County.

WHAS11 News drove that portion of the parkway once it had been cleared and there was still ice and snow covering the roadway. Chris Jessie with KYTC said that buildup is hard to recover in a situation lIke this.

RELATED: Western Kentucky Parkway piles up, people wait at gas station

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) working overnight

KYTC will be working overnight to treat roadways according to a recent press release. They warn of 'black ice' because it is nearly impossible to see at night. It is when water refreezes on pavement.

RELATED: KYTC warns of 'black ice' after first snow, big drop in temps

Even though KYTC pretreated the roads, it snowed so fast that it was quickly covered again. 

State office buildings close

Gov. Andy Beshear announced in a recent press release state office buildings will be closed Friday because of the State of Emergency.

State employees should refer to the Kentucky Personnel Cabinet. If they have additional questions, contact the agency management or human resources office.

No school for JCPS

Around 7:30 p.m., officials with Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) said the district will have a "traditional snow day" Friday. There will be no virtual instruction for students. 

Extracurricular activities have been canceled and employees will not need to go to work unless otherwise instructed.

State of Emergency

Gov. Andy Beshear declared a State of Emergency in Kentucky Thursday afternoon due to the heavy snowfall across the commonwealth.

According to a release from the governor's office, the weather affected travel, caused power outages and left buildings damaged. Beshear said the National Guard is now active, working on interstates that have been shut down due to the snow.

Search and rescue teams have also been activated to help stranded motorists. 

Louisville traffic numbers

Louisville Metro Police (LMPD) spokesperson Aaron Ellis said more than 100 crashes were reported in the metro Thursday. 

As of 4 p.m., 24 injury accidents and 120 non-injury accidents were reported. It is unclear if any of the injuries reported were severe. He said 15 JCPS buses were involved in weather incidents during the day.

Just after 7:30 p.m., Ellis said an additional eight crashes were reported between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. A final update is expected to be released by the department later in the evening.

As of 9 p.m. two more injury accidents and one more non-injury accident were reported.

During Mayor Greg Fischer's afternoon briefing, Metro Public Works Director Vanessa Burns urged everyone to drive very carefully and give plenty of room for snow plows as they work to clear the roads.

'Old-fashioned snow day'

Multiple Kentucky school districts have already canceled classes for Friday due to the inclement weather. Grayson, Taylor and LaRue County schools will not have any instruction on Jan. 7, giving students an 'old-fashioned snow day.'

Some districts, including Hardin and Shelby County Schools will have NTI days.

Governor update

At 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear held a press conference to discuss COVID-19 and the state's winter weather. He said all state office buildings were closed as of noon.

"The severe winter weather we're seeing across Kentucky right now is both real and dangerous," Beshear said.

In a tweet, he said he has called in the National Guard to assist the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and Kentucky State Police.

Pile-up in Elizabethtown

Officials in Elizabethtown are urging drivers to stay off the roads as the snow causes several issues in the area.

On Facebook, the City of Elizabethtown Government said a 20-30 car pileup has been reported on the Western Kentucky Parkway in Hardin County. Mulberry St. has also been shut down by the Elizabethtown Police Department.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) officials in Elizabethtown said US 62 (Mulberry Street) near I-65 has been shut down entirely because vehicles are unable to get up the hill. Crews are currently working to assist stranded vehicles in the area.

Earlier in the day, KYTC officials said areas in Elizabethtown were brined and pre-treated ahead of the storm. Earlier in the afternoon, heavy backups were reported on I-65S before the Shepherdsville exit due to multiple slide-offs, some involving semis.

Louisville roads

The Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) is also asking drivers in Louisville to stay home if they can due to steadily worsening road conditions.

"If you don't have to be out, please don't," the department said in a tweet around 12:30 p.m.

During Mayor Greg Fisher's press briefing, Louisville Metro Emergency Services Director Jody Meiman said 83 non-emergency crashes were reported between 10 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. Thursday.

RELATED: 'Drive slow': How officials say you should drive on the roads during winter weather

In Louisville, snow started falling before 10 a.m., quickly creating hazardous road conditions across the metro. By noon, at least 10 crashes had been reported by Trimarc across all of Louisville's major interstates.

Salvador Melendez with the city's Public Works department said road crews have been working since Tuesday to prepare for the incoming weather. All of the major routes were treated Wednesday and crews started treating additional areas starting at 7 a.m. Thursday.

Once a significant amount of snow falls, Melendez said plows will begin to clear the roads. The Louisville snow route map is available online to see which areas have been plowed or treated throughout the metro.

You can see the latest traffic conditions here.

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