Kentucky declares statewide weather emergency, but not Lexington

Historic snowfall greatest in 15+ years

snowplow driving on snow-covered city road
A snowplow works to clear New Circle Road in Lexington, KY. (Photo © 2015 Billy Suratt/Apex MediaWire)

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear declared a statewide weather emergency this afternoon as temperatures dipped near zero and the Bluegrass was blanketed with its most snowfall in more than 15 years, but as of 8:20 p.m. ET the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government had not declared a state of emergency, Mayor Jim Gray said.

Despite the lack of a formal emergency declaration, Lexington authorities were still in high gear Monday night, working through the night to clear roadways and provide emergency services. Gray said he would continue monitoring the situation throughout the night in order to evaluate whether or not an emergency declaration would be warranted.

Lextran suspended its bus service, which operates only within the city limits of Lexington, hours earlier than normal with the last round of buses departing the Transit Center on Vine Street at 7:55 p.m.

As buses backed up and frustrations flared among both drivers and passenger, one Lextran supervisor not authorized to speak with the media on behalf of the transit authority said he had never seen a city “so unwilling to help its bus system” as Lexington, asking “Why won’t the city plow the bus routes?”

Tempers also flared as workers tried to clear the sidewalks and roadways surrounding Lextran’s downtown Transit Center, leading to a heated shouting match between a snow-shoveler and their supervisor Monday afternoon.

As of 4:45 p.m. ET, Lexington police had handled 34 non-injury automobile accidents and five injury crashes. They had also provided assistance to 293 motorists, with the number of motorist assists climbing to 379 by 5:30 p.m., according to WKYT reporter Mark Barber.

Billy Suratt

Billy Suratt is a Mid-South photojournalist and Kentucky writer. He enjoys long walks on beaches, short walks through parking lots and shooting football by candlelight. Follow him on Twitter, but please not through any parking lots.

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