In Feb. 18 Issue
Yet again winter weather walloped snow-weary Kentuckians as another storm Monday forced highway crews to clear roads covered by fresh accumulations of snow.
It was the fourth such storm to strike the commonwealth this year, and more is forecast for late this week.
Major roads throughout the state were partly to mostly covered and slick, said Allen Blair, a Transportation Cabinet spokesman.
"Near-whiteout conditions have been reported, with high winds and heavy snow," he said of some areas in Kentucky.
Road crews were again on on 12-hour shifts with the latest storm, and the overtime was beginning to mount up.
Ann Gibson, with the Transportation Cabinet, said the state has spent about $35 million dollars on snow removal and materials, such as salt.
"The state has money budgeted for ice and snow removal," Gibson stressed.
She said the state's expenditure, compared to budget wasn't known exactly at this point. The $35 million figure included regular workers' salaries and other costs that aren't listed under that line of the budget, which totaled $27.5 million.
Last year, which saw a deadly ice storm in the central part of the commonwealth, cost Kentucky taxpayers over $46 million. The two years previous expenditures were $38 million and $29 million.
Gibson explained that to balance the cabinet's budget money could have to come from other projects.
"Some non-safety related maintenance expenditures could be differed," she said.
Locally Stephanie Daffron with the cabinet's district office said they have sufficient supplies on hand, and have ordered more.
She said this is more snow events than this district has seen in many years, and another snow fall is expected late this week.
"We still have equipment and staff out there," Daffron said. "People need to use caution and drive conservatively."
Kiersten Jaggers, a cabinet information specialist from a neighboring district said her district has spent close to $1 million on snow removal this season and it has been a strain on workers.
"Our guys have been on the job around the clock for a couple of weekends," Jaggers said.
The state isn't the only one to see red over all the white stuff.
"We've already used three times the salt this year compared to what we used last year," said one local city official.
State Climatologist Stuart Foster said the area has been hit with totals around 12 to 15 inches of snow, but that is dwarfed by the 21 inches in 96 and the 50 days when snow covered the state in 1978.