Motorists urged to stay off roads as winter weather hits

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Residents in Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia were warned on Monday to take precautions and stay off the roads as a second round of winter weather hit the states, resulting in multiple deaths.

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“We already have some accidents on our roadways,” Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said during a morning news conference. “It is slick and it is dangerous.”

Two people died in separate crashes Monday, one on Interstate 64 and one on I-75, Kentucky Transportation Secretary Jim Gray said in the afternoon.

“Do not get on these roads. These roads are extremely hazardous and dangerous now,” Gray said.

Officials asked people to limit travel as much as possible at least through Tuesday.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for central and western areas of Kentucky and Tennessee and an ice storm warning for eastern Kentucky and much of West Virginia. Up to 9 inches (23 centimeters) of snow is forecast for some areas and others could see up to a half-inch of ice accumulation.

Heavy snowfall of 1-2 inches (2.5-5 centimeters) per hour was expected at times during the storm, Kentucky Emergency Management Director Michael Dossett said.

“That’s far in excess of what we can manage on interstates so it’s going to take everyone’s cooperation,” he said.

Road crews were treating and plowing over most of the state, Gray said. As conditions worsen, crews will focus on priority roadways, he said.

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency also urged people to be cautious and to limit travel only to necessary trips as road conditions worsened Monday.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation said impacted roads were being treated and plowed. Shelters and warming centers were opened in Nashville, Paris, Jackson and Memphis.

A 10-year-old boy died after falling into an icy pond during a storm in west Tennessee, fire officials said.

The boy and his 6-year-old sister walked onto an ice-covered pond owned by their family in rural northeast Shelby County on Sunday, Shelby County Fire Department spokesman Brent Perkins told The Associated Press.

The ice was not sufficiently frozen to support their weight and they plunged into the water, Perkins said. The girl was rescued by an adult on the scene, and the boy was removed from the water by firefighters who entered the pond wearing dry suits, Perkins said.

The boy was taken to a hospital, where he died, Perkins said.

In West Virginia, Gov. Jim Justice said he put the state emergency management division on high alert and urged residents to take precautions if they travel.

“It’s wintertime, West Virginia, and absolutely you’ve got to take one more level of precaution,” he said. “We’ve had lots of these storms and we’ll get through it. Just be careful.”

Another system on Wednesday night was expected to drop more sleet, snow and freezing rain across the states.