County hit by severe thunderstorms one week, snow the next

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By The Staff

Snow and ice late Monday night created conditions treacherous enough to cancel school throughout the region.

In Henry County, the snowfall began shortly after 5 p.m. and continued through the night. In the early morning hours, sleet and freezing rain began falling, creating what would become a slippery mess.

Eminence Superintendent Donald Aldridge made the call just after 5 a.m. Tuesday morning to cancel school in the small district.

"Anytime there's ice, that's when we call it off," he said. The busses, he said, can't get enough traction on the ice, and several students and teachers live outside the district.

"It's the first time they've called it off in some time," he said.

Aldridge said he received a call at 4:45 from the transportation director, who at that time would normally be out checking road conditions. He couldn't get out of his own driveway.

"I said let's just call it off then," Aldridge said.

Henry County Public Schools Superintendent Tim Abrams said he made the decision to cancel school for Tuesday at 9 p.m. Monday night.

"I had people that were out and about last night, and the roads were very dangerous," he said. "With the forecast, we knew at that time that we needed to go on and cancel."

Tuesday morning, he said he could not yet say whether school would be cancelled Wednesday as well.

At midday Tuesday, Abrams said he hadn't had a chance to look at secondary roads.

Despite the conditions, Kentucky State Police said they worked just five accidents, and none were severe.

By 11 p.m., all area schools had cancelled, including Henry County. Eminence remained in session.

The snow and ice came less than a week after a severe storm system blew through the county, flattening half a dozen barns and resulting in relatively minor property damage.

On Feb. 5, the region was hit by a storm system that ultimately resulted in dozens of tornadoes in multiple states. Saturday, the National Weather Service said 24 tornadoes touched down in Kentucky, including two in Shelby County.

Statewide, seven people were killed, and 85 injured.

Henry County Emergency Management Director Bruce Owens said storm damage was relatively minor. Overall, damage was limited to a narrow strip through the county that included Pendleton, New Castle and Drennon Springs.

"We had minor damage by comparison," Owens said.

The majority of the damage was limited to barns and other farm buildings, though some homes and businesses incurred roof damage. The roof of a house on Maddox Ridge Road was completely removed.

Debris from the storms resulted in the closure of three major roads.

Because several roads were blocked by debris, Henry County Public Schools were closed Feb. 6.

No serious injuries from the storm were reported in Henry County, though New Castle Police Chief John Porter said one person was injured slightly when trying to seek shelter under a truck when the storm hit.

On Feb. 6, State Farm Insurance Agent Tony Whaley said he'd already handled more than 20 claims. Most of the damage reported to his office involved damage to farm and storage buildings, with some wind damage to homes and roofs.

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