State Journal, Frankfort, Jan. 22, 2016
State offices closed Friday because of winter weather
by Brad Bowman
For the first time since 1994, most state workers have a snow day.
Just before 5 p.m. Thursday Gov. Matt Bevin announced all state offices will be closed today except for emergency responders and essential personnel.
Unlike the winter snow storm of 1994 that shut down state government with forecasts calling for little snow, the National Weather Service expects as much as 12-14 inches of snow in Central Kentucky.
Both the State and House called off the 2016 session agenda items for Friday just before 1 p.m.
The Governor’s Office released a statement saying state and local officials are coordinating with emergency personnel and all state offices would be closed except for those essential employees designated for mandatory operations by their respective agencies.
Those employees include those that work in 24-hour facilities, which include parks, hospitals, residential facilities or prisons. Essential employees include highway and road crews, law enforcement and emergency management personnel.
“Over the next 48 hours, a major winter storm is expected to impact many regions of Kentucky — potentially causing ice-related damage, service interruption and impassable roadways,” Bevin said. “
Some areas may experience icing and whiteout conditions with wind gusts up to 30 mph. These harsh conditions may complicate our ability to effectively clear the roadways and provide essential services throughout the Commonwealth.”
Rapid snowfall and the projected snowfall totals will most likely lead to road and highway crews not clearing main road until Saturday, Bevin said, after the storm clears the state.
“Transportation Cabinet operators and contract crews will work around the clock to help restore roads to their normal conditions. The National Guard has also been placed on high alert to provide assistance during this time.
“Safety is our first priority; so it is very important to restrict travel to a minimum. I strongly encourage everyone, except in the case of emergency, to stay off the roads and prepare for any inconvenience during this major snow event. Please stay tuned to the latest weather forecasts and avoid all non-essential travel. Your cooperation will give snow-clearing operations the best chance for success in the hours ahead.”
Michael Dossett, Director of Kentucky Emergency Management activated the Commonwealth Emergency Operation Center in Frankfort in anticipation of the storm.