Drivers face snowy morning commute - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Drivers face snowy morning commute

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Drivers in Metro Louisville and southern Indiana are dealing with hazardous road conditions after a burst of heavy snow during the morning commute.

Heavy snow started falling after 6 a.m. in the Metro Louisville area, after Jefferson County Schools officials made the decision to keep schools open. Some JCPS buses were running as much as 20 minutes late, and parents and students were told to be prepared to wait.

Salt trucks and snow plows will be out in force Friday, and city officials hope to avoid the problems encountered during a brief snowfall Thursday afternoon, when more than 75 crashes were reported in Metro Louisville. At least 20 of those crashes involved injuries.

"We had a situation where conditions were just right, all of a sudden roads got very, very slick," said Trimarc spokesman Tim Emington. "Cars started to lose control."

Numerous minor crashes, including some involving school buses, were reported in Oldham and Jefferson County. MetroSafe dispatchers tell us at least five JCPS buses were involved in minor crashes, but no one was injured.

Some parents didn't understand why some schools were in session while others were not. Oldham County spokesperson Tracy Harris says she understands their concern.

"We understand their frustration, we understand their concern," Harris said. "For us, we have to make that decision at about 5:30 before our buses actually start their routes. Today at 5:30 we had no snow yet and the National Weather Service was predicting that the band would move through Oldham County after 8 a.m. -- after most of our routes are already completed.

"Unfortunately, they were about two hours off and their snowfall estimates have been incorrect this morning. Once we start running those routes, it's hard to cancel or delay with kids already standing outside waiting for the bus."

JCPS spokesman Ben Jackey says the decision to operate on a normal schedule was made between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. before the snow began to fall heavily.

"It's winter, Jackey said, "and there are going to be times where when snow is on the ground we do decide to come to school. I want to assure parents and the community that when we make a decision like this, the number one priority is the safety of our students.

"And although we may have an accident, or we might have a slideoff or we might have a bus that just can't get up a hill, when you consider a handful of those, in comparison to the 900 buses going around the district, I think that fact that remains ... the decision that we made was based on the safety of the students."

Traffic was heavy on the interstates, with traffic moving between 10 and 20 miles per hour.

We spoke with Harold Adams at Metro Public Works around 8:30 Friday morning. He says its employees are responsible for treating the major city roads as well as some side streets.

"We treat the major roadways, and the treated areas are becoming slushy and wet and are clearing up. Obviously the ones we haven't gotten to yet are snow covered. Our crews were called in about 4:30. The salting operations began at the 5 o'clock hour and we're making good progress."

[CLICK HERE TO VIEW MAP SHOWING ROAD CONDITIONS]

Adams says drivers on untreated roads should be prepared.

"Areas that have not yet been treated -- it's going to be slick," Adams said. "I was in the southwest area of the county just a short while ago, and there were some very slick conditions, but improving."

The snow started to taper off around 8 a.m. in downtown Louisville, and most main roads were clear by then. But falling temperatures and more snow showers during the afternoon could lead to re-freezing.

According to WDRB Meteorologist Jude Redfield, we can expect 25 mph wind gusts with temperatures steadily falling to around 18 by 5 p.m. Snow showers in most areas should end by nightfall, with an expected low of 14 overnight.

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