Intense winter weather shut down two Kentucky highways Thursday afternoon after a near-record snowfall caused a huge pileup involving dozens of cars and hundreds of collisions.
A 10-mile stretch of Interstate 64 near Mount Sterling was closed in the afternoon after 50 to 75 cars piled up on the slick roadway, causing many hours of traffic delays, according to WKYT.
On Interstate 75 in Lexington, police stopped responding to non-injury car crashes after being on the scene of more than 100 during the day, the station said. About 20 other crashes resulted in injuries in the city.
A WKYT correspondent said it took seven hours to cross a bridge leading out of Lexington on I-75. By 7:30 p.m. the city had accumulated 9 inches of snow, just shy of the daily record, the station said. Lexington typically sees only 14 inches of snow per year, on average, according to government data.
In Elizabethtown, a 20- to 30-car pileup on the Western Kentucky Parkway Thursday afternoon closed the thoroughfare in both directions, the city said. Videos posted to social media showed disabled cars, trucks and 18-wheelers strewn across the snowy road.
Gov. Andrew Beshear said all three highways were back open in an evening tweet. The Democrat declared a state of emergency, urged drivers to stay home and closed state buildings Friday, when temperatures were expected to flirt with the single digits.
Kentucky State Police tweeted that many roads in the state remained icy, and warned conditions “will not improve tonight.”
As the winter storm barreled east, Virginia was hoping to avoid a repeat of earlier this week, when drivers were stranded on Interstate 95 for 16 hours amid heavy snow outside Washington DC. A state of emergency was in effect despite forecasts of more moderate precipitation.