FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear urged Kentuckians to make a plan as a "major" winter storm made its way toward the commonwealth Wednesday afternoon.
"We've fought too hard for 11 months through COVID to lose you to the roadways," the governor said during an update that preceded what meteorologists expect to be a strong winter storm system bringing snow accumulation and freezing rain.
As part of the state's response to the severe weather forecast, Beshear said Kroger's three major vaccination sites across the state -- including at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington -- would postpone their first day of appointments, originally scheduled for Thursday. Those appointments were all automatically rescheduled for the same time and place, a week later on Feb. 18.
Michael Bossett, executive director of the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management, said precipitation should start in the western region of the state by 5 p.m. Wednesday, with the worst of the storm moving east to west through central and southern Kentucky.
Northern Kentucky should get its own share of snow and freezing rain, as well, according to the 9 First Warning Weather Team of meteorologists: Up to 1 inch of snow and a glazing of ice could spread across Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties overnight into Thursday morning, with scattered snow showers throughout the day.
WEATHER: Your latest 9 First Warning forecast
The biggest hazards will come from snow-covered roads and power outages due to ice-covered limbs and power lines, Bossett said, adding that the expected amount of ice accumulation should only cause "sporadic" outages across the state.
This storm should not remind Kentuckians of the devastating ice storm in 2009, which hit multiple southern and midwestern states, leaving millions without power, both Beshear and Bossett emphasized. Kentucky was the hardest hit by that storm, with more than 100,000 customers without power for a week or longer. Half a million Kentuckians lost power for some period of time after that storm.
"We've all learned a lot since 2009," Beshear said, but he also urged families to make a plan in the event of a prolonged power outage in their area, especially as sub-freezing temperatures move across Kentucky over the next several days.
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray said his department has roughly 2,000 "snowfighters" deployed across the state using more than 1,000 vehicles and machines to treat and clear affected roads. Another 400 snowplow contractors are on standby.
"This is what they prepare for," Gray said but also warned some areas might see delays in snow removal and asked for residents' patience.
Watch officials' full remarks here: