Preparing for Winter Weather

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and Western Kentucky University put plans in place for extreme weather situations

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Emergency situations can happen at any moment, which is why being prepared for them ahead of time is so important.

The same thought process can be applied to snow and ice storms during the winter. Those type of storms can happen overnight and out of nowhere.

Keeping that in mind, places like the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet prepare for these kind of extreme weather events well in advance of them actually taking place.

“It’s not something that we wait last minute for,” said Wes Watt, Public Information Officer for the District 3 Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. “Come fall, October, November, we are ready to go because we don’t know how early winter is going to strike.”

Those preparations made months in advance are finally put into action when the full onslaught of winter eventually strikes.

“That’s what our snow and ice team is dedicated to figure out is monitoring the forecast,” Watt added. “Once they figure out what it’s going to do, then they’ll put a plan in place for the crews across every county in the district.”

The KYTC can only do so much to keep people safe on the roads during winter, which is why Watt has several recommendations of ways people can take care of their own safety. He advises that you have new treads for your tires, make sure your windshield wipers are working properly, have a snow brush/ice scraper in your vehicle, and chip off all the ice and snow on your vehicle before starting to drive. Small steps like those could prevent you from finding yourself in a dangerous situation this winter.

“People really need to plan ahead. That’s something they have to do on their own,” said Watt. “Leave in plenty of time. I know everybody is in a hurry during the holiday season and we’re all pressed for time, but when we get impatient on the roadway, that’s when bad stuff can happen.”

Elsewhere in Bowling Green, Western Kentucky University has its own place in place to keep students safe this time of year.

“We use a variety of methods to contact students,” said Bob Skipper, WKU Media Relations Director and also the man in charge of sending out emergency alerts, hence why he has become known on campus as “Skipper, Bob.” “We have an emergency text-messaging system that reaches all of those who have subscribed. We also used social media, email, text messages, then we post it on our website.”

The university uses its own grounds-keeping staff to clear campus roadways, parking lots, and other sidewalks often used by students who live on the Hill.

“We have a grounds crew that works pretty hard. They’ll come in very early to start clearing walks, put down salt,” Skipper said. “If the weather is such that we have more than they can handle, we have contract crews on standby.”

Skipper went on to add that ensuring the safety of everyone on campus remains one of the institution’s top concerns.

“That is our top priority – the safety of our students, faculty and staff,” he said.