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Ice expected Friday afternoon; travel will be dangerous

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Pre-treatment of roads not an option

By Forrest Berkshire, Editor

Public safety officials are urging caution on area roadways this weekend in the face of forecasts for freezing rain that will likely turn to snow.

A 24-hour winter storm watch is in effect starting at 7 a.m. Friday for Southern Indiana and Central Kentucky.

Rain early Friday is expected to turn to freezing rain as cold air from the East enters the area. The National Weather Service said Thursday that the rain would transition to freezing rain and/or sleet probably Friday afternoon before turning to snow. Snow and sleet could accumulate up to four inches. Ice accumulations of one- to two-tenths of an inch are possible.

The rain-to-ice-to-snow combination makes it nearly impossible to pre-treat roadways, said Chris Jessie, spokesman for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet office in Elizabethtown that serves Nelson County.

“It just gets washed away,” he said of any treatment laid down before or during rain. “With ice, there’s really not a lot we can do with that.”

He said state road crews will wait until the rain turns to ice before laying down salt or calcium.

Milt Spalding, director for Nelson County’s E-911 system, urged people to stay home.

“Ideally, citizens should stay home and only travel if necessary,” he said. If travel is necessary, he offered this advice:

• Plan extra time to reach your destination

• Check road conditions before departing

• Pack an emergency survival kit that includes water, snacks, a blanket and a flashlight

• Keep your vehicle’s fuel tank full and cell phone charged

• Avoid travelling alone and let someone know your route and timetable.

Friday’s expected treacherous travel comes only five days after much milder but slick conditions contributed to as many as 39 wrecks on Monday. A man was killed in one of those.

Monday’s wrecks were fairly widespread — on 25 roads in all — but Nelsonville Road had the most, with four, two of which resulted in injuries, according the Nelson County Dispatch logs. Other roads that saw wrecks on Monday included the Bluegrass Parkway, Louisville, Springfield, Clarktown, Deatsville and High Grove roads.