Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Rain, late-season snow create power outages, havoc on roads

By Brett Barrouquere
The Associated Press

An SUV plows through standing water Tuesday at W. Fifth and Philadelphia streets in Covington. Skies are expected to clear by late morning.
The Cincinnati Enquirer/PATRICK REDDY
LOUISVILLE - An unusual late-season winter storm dropped rain and snow Tuesday on parts of Kentucky, covering roads and causing isolated power outages.

Slushy snow created road hazards in southwestern Kentucky. Salt trucks in Hopkinsville were on the roads by early morning, Hopkinsville police dispatcher Anna Smith said. Police blamed the weather for road problems, including several cars that slid into ditches, and power outages.

The snow ended before 4 p.m. CDT, leaving the area wet and cold, said Ruth Knight, a secretary for the Hopkinsville Police Department.

"I've lived a long time, and I don't think I've seen a winter day in April," Knight said.

A mixture of snow, sleet and rain fell around the state, said Tony Surey, lead forecaster with the National Weather Service in Louisville.

Surey said the last time snow accumulated in April was in 1974, and it was similar to the storm Tuesday.

There were reports Tuesday of one to three inches of snow in areas west of Louisville, including Meade and Breckenridge counties, Surey said. Counties along the Ohio River were getting sleet, while areas further inland were getting snow, Surey said.

Flooding was the biggest problem in the eastern part of the state. Floyd, Martin and Johnson counties were the hardest-hit.

The Kentucky Department of Transportation shut down several highways because of water in the road. Officials also closed a bridge in Floyd County as a precaution, said Darold Sloan, a branch manager for the highway department in Pikeville.

Between one and two inches of rain and snow was expected in the higher elevations of eastern Kentucky by Tuesday night, said Phil Hysell, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jackson.

"It's hard to believe in April we're talking about snow," Hysell said.

Kevin Smith, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Paducah, said it's not rare in western Kentucky to see snow in the spring.

In the Paducah area, snow has been reported as late as April 18, he said. Smith attributed the snow to a dynamic weather system that has pushed freezing temperatures almost all the way to the ground.

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