Mayor says city is prepared for winter storm, but urges caution, releases city employees early

As the city prepares for forecast snow, ice and cold temperatures, Mayor Jim Gray today assured citizens that the City is prepared, but urged them to use caution. He also announced that city offices not involved with the snow event will be dismissed at 2:30 this afternoon. The Fayette County Clerk’s office and offices of the Property Valuation Administrator will close at 2:30 as well.

“Our City is prepared,” Gray said. “Our crews are ready and we have plenty of salt. But we are asking drivers to be cautious and give the crews and equipment plenty of room as they work to clear the streets.”

Streets & Roads – Water Quality

Crews from the City’s divisions of Streets & Roads and Water Quality have already started working, and will work 12-hour shifts beginning at 8 tonight. More than 50 drivers will work the snow event, half during the overnight hours. Supervisors and staff will also work 12 hour shifts. The City’s Fleet Services Division will remain open 24 hours in case snow removal equipment needs servicing.

Along with the snow and ice, cold temperatures are forecast to settle in during the overnight hours, and continue for the next several days. “We’ll have salt on the roads, but drivers should proceed with caution. Salt is not as effective in bitter cold temperatures,” said Albert Miller, Director of the Division of Streets and Roads. “We will continue to monitor the weather and have trucks in all areas.”

Police

“Police will have extra units available to address traffic concerns, including covering the interstates. If the snow accumulations dictate, they will have personnel prepared to transport hospital and emergency personnel to work,” Sgt. Jervis Middleton said. “In challenging weather, Police are always looking to identify people in need, and assist them in getting the needed resources.”

Fire

Assistant Fire Chief Chris Sweat said firefighters are prepared to call in extra crews if needed. They are urging caution with space heaters and extension cords. Camp grills and stoves should not be used inside. Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working.   

Lextran

Jill Barnes, Assistant General Manager of Lextran, said buses will proceed with regularly scheduled service through tonight’s 6:05 departure from the downtown Transit Center. All following departures will operate on the Snow Pan through Saturday morning, or until further notice.

Homelessness

Polly Ruddick, Director of the Office of Homelessness Prevention, said the City has activated its Emergency Weather Plan for shelters. “Lexington is fortunate to have several shelters and service providers for people who need a place to keep warm from the snow and ice,” Ruddick said. Shelters will add capacity and Lextran will provide free rides to shelters. Anyone needing shelter can dial 2-1-1 or log onto www.uwbg211.org for locations of shelters and other resources in Lexington and surrounding counties.

Animal Control

Tim Brown, Public information Officer for Animal Control, said pet owners should pay particular attention to their outdoor pets, as some conditions can be dangerous. If owners cannot bring their pets inside, they should provide shelter with enough bedding and access to water and check on their pets frequently. Anyone who sees or is aware of an animal in distress can call Animal Control at 859-255-9033.

Waste Management

Tracey Thurman with the city’s Division of Waste Management said crews started their routes an hour early this morning in anticipation of the storm. All other collections will remain on their regular schedule with the exception of the MLK holiday collection next week. Regular Monday service will take place on Wednesday next week.

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Mayor Jim Gray during press conference