Smith

 Dennis Smith, Commonwealth Journal’s Safety and Health manager, attempts to keep sidewalks clean as snow falls.

“We dodged a bullet.” 

County officials couldn’t help but think that to be the case after seeing what areas just a scant distance north of Pulaski received in the way of snow. Winter Storm Thor has blown through, but Thor’s Marvel Comics brother Loki fortunately did most of his damage elsewhere.

While rain made things mildly uncomfortable and just a bit damp Wednesday night, Lexington residents were already dealing with yet another in a series of recent “snowpocalypse” events. On Thursday, Pulaskians woke up to a relatively minor snowfall.

Not that in most years, five inches of snow would be “minor.” But in 2015? It’s little more than a skiff of snow. Perhaps the proverbial rabbit tracker, if one will.

“Everything has gone real good; there’s not nearly as much snow as last time,” said Tiger Robinson, Pulaski County Public Safety Director on Thursday afternoon. “There have been very few accidents. No injury accidents (to that point) that I know of.”

Robinson also touted area firefighters, the Somerset-Pulaski County Rescue Squad, and Hazmat units for helping taking essential personnel to and from work, delivering medicines to those stuck inside, and other acts of helpfulness in the midst of difficult weather.

And better yet, after the series of roof problems many local buildings had a couple of weeks ago after the area was buried under nearly a foot of snow, then hit again with ice and more white stuff — and a heavy, wet snow was predicted for this week as well — Robinson said that there hadn’t been any reports of significant structural damage.

“There’s not a lot of snow left on the rooftops,” said Robinson. “We’ve been spared all the rough stuff that they got up north. We had some ice to deal with early on (but) everybody has handled it pretty well.”

Indeed, some parts of Kentucky saw over a foot — as much as 20 inches, by some reports. Pulaski’s worst problem this time was ice underneath the snow making travel a bit treacherous. Even then, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Tony Edwards, even the frozen water just stood about a 10th of an inch to two-tenths deep.

Edwards said that based on the amounts the Jackson NWS office determined, most of Pulaski received about four to five inches of snowfall, maybe a bit heavier to the far north and south.

“What we’ve gotten (in Somerset) is not far off from what we were expecting,” he said.

Places like Lexington were hit hard because the precipitation changed to snow earlier than was anticipated. When it was still raining in Somerset Wednesday night, drivers to the north were dealing with harsh winter conditions already.

“Here, it just stayed rain a lot longer,” said Edwards.

Temperatures that were nothing like the sub-zero blast that Pulaski saw in February helped to keep ice from forming too soon.

“Temperatures dropped off pretty quick, but kind of stayed around freezing (at 32 degrees),” said Edwards. “Once it started snowing, it dropped into the 20s.”

February saw about 11.5 inches of snowfall locally, noted Edwards, so the total for the last three weeks is a little over a foot. 

More good news is that the weekend will see warmer temperatures — mid-40s on Saturday and around 50 on Sunday — but it shouldn’t come so fast that there’s a lot of flooding, noted Edwards.

The positive vibes continued with Pulaski County Judge-Executive Steve Kelley, who reported having plenty of salt — which worked more effectively this time since temperatures were more moderate, as opposed to the virtual futility of salt in February’s arctic air.

“We dodged a bullet,” said Kelley. “Even though it’s still bad, it’s not too icy. We dodged a bullet by not getting 15 inches like they did up in northern Kentucky.”

The county’s trucks have stayed busy clearing roads this winter and went at it again on Wednesday.

“The plan is to get as much of (the snow) cleared off as we can before we run out of available time to work (Thursday night) and then jump on it again first thing (Friday),” said Kelley. “We’re out here working the best we can to get everything clear, but we’ve got 2,000 miles of roads, so we’ve got to go.”

While some piles of snow left over from February are still to be seen in places around the county, Kelley said the vast majority county roads were in good shape before the most recent winter event.

“I think everything had pretty well melted off when the next round came,” he said. “I don’t think we’re piling snow on top of snow, but I’m ready for spring.”