In a recent letter to President George W. Bush, Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher has requested a declaration for “a major disaster for the Commonwealth of Kentucky as a result of a winter storm that produced record and near record snowfall, ice, sleet and freezing rain beginning on Dec. 21, 2004 and continuing through Dec. 28, 2004.”
“I am asking President Bush to move quickly to get assistance to those counties that were affected,” the Governor said. “Our primary objective during the disaster was to utilize all available resources to help people impacted by the winter weather.”
The winter storm that moved across Kentucky resulted in power outages and hazardous traveling conditions. Heavy snowfall and ice on the roads left thousands of stranded travelers on the interstates and in shelters. On Interstate 24 in western Kentucky, a 29-mile long traffic jam formed from Trigg County to Lyon County.
“Under the Governor’s leadership, Kentucky Emergency Management wanted to make sure we used all of our state assets available to provide assistance as quickly as possible, especially for those who were stranded on the roadways. We rescued those stranded and worked to keep everyone in the area safe,” said KyEM Operations and Recovery Branch Manager, Charlie Winter.
The Public Assistance disaster aid is aimed at governments and organizations to help repair, replace or supplement parts of a community’s infrastructure. The joint assessment completed by federal, state and local teams has resulted in the Governor requesting Public Assistance for Ballard, Bracken, Breckinridge, Caldwell, Carlisle, Crittenden, Franklin, Fulton, Grant, Grayson, Hancock, Harrison, Hart, Hickman, Hopkins, Larue, Livingston, Lyon, Marshall, Muhlenberg, McLean, Nelson, Owen, Pendleton, Robertson, Shelby, Trimble, Union and Webster Counties.
Western and northern Kentucky bore the brunt of the winter storm. At the peak of the storm there were an estimated 30,000 customers without power. The storm was accompanied by gusty north winds that produced drifts up to 15 feet deep. Total expenditures for the storm are expected to be more than $5.5 million.
The following information is furnished on the nature and amount of State and local resources that have been or will be used to alleviate the conditions of this disaster. State resources, which have been or will be used include:
Department for Transportation: Deployed five districts assisting with snow removal and clearing the interstates and parkways for emergency access. District crews continued to work on intersection and shoulders along with the trouble spots and on some secondary roads. The Cabinet of Transportation spent more than $7,000,000.00 during this winter storm.
National Guard: Used more than 259 maydays over a 48-hour period assisting counties and the Kentucky State Police with stranded motorist and clearing the roads for emergency access and restoration of utility service. Graders were also brought in to help the Transportation Cabinet to clear the Western Kentucky Parkway of snow and ice in Muhlenberg and Hopkins Counties.
Kentucky State Police: Supported road closures, assisted stranded motorist provided traffic control.
American Red Cross: Reported shelters open in the following counties; Franklin, Henderson, Nelson, Scott, Trigg, Grayson, Pendleton, Ohio and Washington. The ARC reported 100 people in the helter in Trigg County, 60 in Pendleton, 3 in Scott, 2 in Ohio, 43 in Nelson, and 15 in the shelter in Lyon County.
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