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Officials urge caution, planning for ice storm

With the ice storm warning stretching through tomorrow morning, area electric companies and local officials have issued advice for preparing for and dealing with potential power outages.

MAGOFFIN COUNTY – With the ice storm warning stretching through tomorrow morning, area electric companies and local officials have issued advice for preparing for and dealing with potential power outages.

As it stands at press time on Wednesday, Magoffin could receive a quarter to a half-inch of ice accumulation, with locally higher amounts possible. The ice storm warning is in effect until 7 a.m. Friday, with power outages, downed trees and impassable roads all possible.

The National Weather Service in Jackson released that travel during this storm is highly discouraged and, if you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency. Prepare for possible power outages. Another round of winter weather is expected Saturday into Sunday, as well, with snow, freezing rain and sleet possible, again.

Magoffin County Judge/Executive Matt Wireman reminded the public that the community center will be open as a warming center for anyone that may lose power and/or their heating source during the winter storm.

Similarly, Salyersville Mayor James “Pete” Shepherd noted that the Salyersville Fire Department is used as an emergency warming shelter, and people can call the fire department at 606-349-3256 if they need help during the ice storm.

Shepherd also asked people to stay home if the roads are bad, noting that they will get out to salt the hills first, then the major roadways as soon as they can.

Kentucky Power released that they have nearly 800 personnel ready to respond should power outages occur, with crews from Kentucky Power, AEP sister companies and business partners making up the response team. In the event of outages, their restoration efforts will be an all-hands-on-deck approach, and crews will work until every customer is restored, Kentucky Power announced in a release on Wednesday.

They also explained that Kentucky Power crews will first assess the damage once it is safe for crews to travel, and restoration is completed through a prioritized process: 1) essential facilities (i.e. hospitals) are restored first; 2) then large circuits affecting the most customers; 3) and then to other homes and businesses on smaller outage cases.

Kentucky power urged customers to prepare for the storm, having an emergency plan for their family and elderly relatives or neighbors.

As always, stay away from downed lines or sparking equipment, and keep children and pets away from any fallen lines and anything the lines may touch.

Kentucky Power customers can report outages and check the latest restoration information for their account anytime at kentuckypower.com/outages or by downloading the Kentucky Power mobile app at kentuckypower.com/app. The outage map is updated every 15 minutes. Restoration information is added when known. Click on “View Outage Map” to access the map on a computer, cell phone, or tablet. Customers can report outages online, on their mobile device or to our Customer Operations Center at 1-800-572-1113.

Customers also can get specific information about outages via text message and/or email by subscribing to Kentucky Power outage alerts. To sign up, please visit www.kentuckypower.com/alerts. Information also is posted on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/KentuckyPower and on Twitter at twitter.com/KentuckyPower or @KentuckyPower.

Licking Valley Rural Electric Cooperative also urged their customers to download their Smarthub app to their mobile devices, which will help customers to be able to report power outages and also indicate if LVRECC is already aware of the outage.

LVRECC released that people can see the number of outages in their service area and report an outage on their website, at https://lvrecc.com/outages2/. They ask that members make sure their cell phone numbers are on file with their office, as outage updates can be sent automatically.

They reminded the public to minimize the amount of opening refrigerators and freezers during a power outage in order to extend the amount of time the food will stay safe to eat.

Prior to a power outage, LVRECC recommended securing a secondary heat source and checking it to make sure it is in good working order. Put fresh batteries in your flashlights and emergency radios and top off the gas tanks in your primary vehicles. If you require oxygen, make sure you have spare tanks available or have a backup plan in the event your power is off for several days. They also reminded the public to check on their neighbors and the elderly.

As another layer to this winter storm that we’ve not seen in years past, for everyone’s health and safety with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, do not approach power company personnel in the field.

While driving is highly discouraged when the roads are slick, Kentucky Transportation Department District 10 advised that they are preparing for the weather with salt trucks and chainsaws.

The state transportation department released that the public can help by following these tips:
– Reduce speed.
– Give KYTC road crews space on the roads to work.
– Stay in traffic lanes. Don’t drive on shoulders and emergency lanes.
– If you encounter a traffic signal that isn’t working, treat it as a four-way stop.
– Be patient. Remember that cleanup work is part of the job for KYTC crews.

Road crews will focus on the state’s highest priority routes (considering traffic volume and connectivity to hospitals and other critical services).

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