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March 6, 2014

Laurel feels Titan's wrath

Ice, snow play havoc with travel

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — With only weeks away from the official beginning of Spring, March blew in with a wintry blast that brought most of London businesses to a standstill on Monday morning.

As snow fell steadily throughout the day over an inch of ice, motorists were leery to travel the county and city roadways that remained covered and unscraped until late afternoon.

Laurel Sheriff's deputies were out in the county throughout the early morning hours as temperatures dropped, turning the rainfall of Sunday into a sheet of ice along area roads. Motorists were encouraged to remain at home or in a safe place until the roads were cleared and Laurel Sheriff's Deputy and Public Affairs Officer Gilbert Acciardo reported few accidents during the early hours when most people are commuting to work sites.

“I think most people were staying at home today,” Acciardo said. “The roads have not been cleared and it is really dangerous for anyone to be out if they don't have to be.”

The Laurel District and Circuit courts, the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office and several other businesses were closed for the day, warning employees to stay home and avoid the treacherous roadways.

Other residents in the southern end of the county tried to stay warm while crews from Jackson Energy scraped ice from electric lines that rendered over 500 customers without power on Monday.

Karen Combs, Public Relations Officer with Jackson Energy, said crews worked throughout Monday to restore power to customers, most of whom were in the Keavy area. By early Monday afternoon, the number had been reduced to 300 outages. Repair crews worked throughout the early morning hours into the evening to repair and restore power to the customers.

“All power was restored by 8 p.m. Monday,” Combs said. “We got our first call of an outage around 4:15 a.m. and we had crews out by 4:30. Of course, we were kind of expecting this, so we had people on call.”

Combs added that Laurel County was the hardest hit by the ice storm that moved through the area early Monday morning. Combs said Jackson Energy had reports of some other minor outages in other counties, although most of the damage was reported in Laurel County.

The storm also resulted in the cancellation of area schools on Monday and Tuesday, for a total of 16 days missed this school year.  Graduation is currently set for Saturday, May 31, but any more cancellations could possibly extend the school year into June. According to the KERA (Kentucky Education Reform Act), graduation is the last official activity of the school year, so any more missed days could result in  snow makeup days continuing into June and graduation held the following weekend unless other makeup days are incorporated into the school schedule.

njohnson@sentinel-echo.com

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