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Weather coats area in ice

BY CORIANNE EGAN cegan@paducahsun.com

Even though Tuesday's storm glazed western Kentucky in a thin sheet of ice, most of the region didn't report any major problems.

Icicles dangled from power lines and streets were soaked in slush, but high snow and ice totals missed the area Tuesday. From the Mississippi River counties to those bordering the lakes, the hard rain and sleet was only an issue to those traveling secondary roads, as most emergency management directors and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spokesman Keith Todd noted the highways and main roads were slick, but well traveled.

Crews worked to clear Sunday's snow from roads in time for Tuesday's weather and salt that was put down over the weekend helped to fight the ice. Travel was slow in most places. Wrecks and vehicles sliding off the road were reported in every county, but only minor injuries were associated with those wrecks.

Salt residue was still on the streets, easing the freezing. However, the wet weather and temperatures dipping below freezing yielded black ice and frozen patches. Secondary roads - some of which were still snow covered - were harder to navigate.

In Paducah, City Engineer and Public Works director Rick Murphy said the city is facing a salt shortage. The city has more than doubled its salt usage this year, Murphy told the City Commission on Tuesday night, and has about 250 to 300 tons of salt left out of 500 tons purchased.

It takes about 75 to 100 tons to salt Paducah's main roads, he noted. The city will likely treat the primary roads for the rest of the season, and send crews to remove ice and snow in subdivisions and secondary roads.

Todd said the state plans to re-evaluate its salt reservoirs in the coming days. If levels are low, personnel could begin conserving salt, he said.

There were minor power outages throughout the area, although no electric company reported widespread issues. The power to Barkley Regional Airport was cut off about an hour, but the airport stayed open and ran on generators. United Airlines canceled flights into Paducah on Tuesday night and this morning.

After the rain and ice slowed, Paducah Power reported outages along Lone Oak Road, Hillcrest and Cardinal Lane. Spokeswoman Andrea Underwood said the power was out for about 40 minutes, affecting about 350 customers. Jackson Purchase Energy Corp. had only minor issues.

In Calloway County, individual residences were affected by falling limbs, emergency management director William Call said. West Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative reported nearly 200 outages, mostly in southern Graves County and Calloway County.

In Marshall County, a traffic signal at the spur of U.S. 641 and Ky. 58 fell after ice accumulation weighed it down, Todd reported.

The Transportation Cabinet reported multiple trees down in Calloway County, concentrated mostly in the northwest portion of the county. There were also several spots where water was reported over the road in northern Calloway and southern Graves counties, Todd said.

Paducah Sun staff writer Leanne Fuller contributed to this report.

Contact Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652 or follow @CoriEgan on Twitter.

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