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March 4, 2014

And snow it goes . . .

Corbin, region smacked again by winter blast

CORBIN — By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

True to the creed of her employer — the United States Postal Service  — Tonda Stevens delivered on a frosty cold day.

Despite the crazy quilt of snow, ice, freezing rain and falling temperatures that blanketed Corbin Monday morning, City Carrier Stevens brought the mail to the city’s east end.

By mid-afternoon, she finished up along a section of Ball Avenue.

And while Stevens agreed with the famous saying, she admitted this winter’s weather has been like no other in recent years.

“It’s true. It’s true about that saying. We’re happy to deliver the mail. But we’ve had a crazy winter. Probably the roughest winter all the carriers have had in a long time,” Stevens said as she returned to her postal vehicle.

“The streets were a little slick this morning, but we just drove slower and we kept in mind that safety always comes first,” Stevens noted.

“I am dressed for the weather. First thing in the morning, I put on what I need to wear to protect myself from the weather,” she said.

The storm system that produced the wintry mess reared its ugly head Sunday.

Temperatures that were in the low 60s around noon dropped during the afternoon, as the cold front began to sweep through the Tri-County.

By midnight, as Sunday night became Monday morning, the thermometer at the London-Corbin Airport had dropped down to the freezing point of 32 degrees.

On Sunday, the City of Corbin’s Facebook page posted, “If the need arises during this weather for an emergency shelter, we will open the McBurney Center. Please stay off the roads, if possible. The Corbin Police Department, Corbin Fire Department, Corbin Public Works Department and the Corbin Dispatch Center will be ready if assistance is needed.”

The National Weather Service Office in Jackson reported the rain in Corbin changed to freezing rain shortly after 2 a.m. Monday.

The changeover continued from north to south overnight. The Weather Service reported five trees down in the Rockholds community of Whitley County around 5:40 p.m. due to the freezing rain.

In Corbin, it was rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow to start Monday off.

Citing weather conditions, road conditions and the safety of city workers, there was no garbage pickup Monday in the City of Corbin. In addition, Corbin City Hall offices were closed.

Both Corbin Public Works Department crews and state highway crews were out salting roads and streets in the city Monday morning.

One of the city’s salt trucks slid into a ditch in the Tanglewood area during the morning hours. The driver of the truck was not injured.

“All roads in (the) Corbin area are covered in ice. If you have to travel please use extreme caution!” the City of Corbin said Monday morning on their Facebook page.

The Weather Service in Jackson reported 3-4 inches of snow and one inch of ice fell across Laurel County. The total included both freezing rain and sleet.

Also, the Weather Service reported Monday afternoon that around an inch of snow had fallen at the 911 call centers in both Barbourville and Williamsburg.

Normally, Josh and Caitlin Jeffrey, of Corbin, ride down Gordon Hill on four wheels. During the midday hours Monday, they used their feet to do the traveling downtown.

“It’s not too bad with Gordon Hill when the weather’s snowy, but if it’s not maintained, it can be a problem,” Caitlin said on Kentucky Avenue.

Like Stevens, the couple also dressed for occasion — in layers.

They decided to go downtown to pay a cable TV bill on West 3rd Street.

But one thing led to another.

Josh pointed out that “thing” turned out to make the trip not only invigorating, but quite refreshing as well.

“When we got to the cable office, they were closed. So we went down to a coffee place on the corner of 3rd and Main, and both of us got a cup to go,” he said, between sips from his coffee cup.

As Josh and Caitlin headed back up Kentucky Avenue towards Gordon Hill, the wind gust began to quiet down, as did the flurries that were flying just five minutes earlier.

They say walking changes your perspective on things. With the winter blast that came Monday morning, Caitlin noticed one thing right off the bat as she and Josh came down the hill.

“We’ve seen a lot more cops out making sure people are safe,” she said, referring to the offer of assistance by city police, fire and emergency crews during and after the storm.

By 2 p.m., the icy morning maze that was Master Street began to thaw out and melt. Traffic was back to normal, but a few feet away on the hill behind Sacred Heart Hall, a seasoned winter ritual was being played out.

Sledding down the hill on the property of Saint Camillus Academy’s been a Corbin tradition since records were kept.

Tyler Gist and his brother, Andon Asher, thought Monday’s snow would make for some good sled rides.

Having their schools close Monday due to the weather also helped.

“We like to play Xbox, but we’re pretty active too. Today’s a good day to take on the hill. It’s really cold, but it’s good sledding weather. The snow is just right,” said Gist, a senior at Lynn Camp High School.

Both Gist and Asher then went straight up the hill to sled down again.

Like those who tackle the hill the first time, there’s a bit of anxiety which Gist says goes away real quick.

“At first, the hill’s a little intimidating. But once you go you get this big rush, and it carries you all the way down the hill,” he said.

The brothers nailed it on the first try.

“Did you see me on the sled?” Asher proudly said.

Asher — a fourth-grader at Corbin Elementary School — then slid over a bump where the ground ends and the pavement begins on the Sacred Heart parking lot.

“In fact, Andon went down the hill on the sled and could have gone over to the convenience store across the street. We’ll take a break and go there in just a while,” Gist pointed out.

But before that, a snowball fight began.

Brothers being brothers, the running, throwing and satisfaction of watching someone get hit with a flying snowball as it explodes in the back of the head made their sleigh day a good one.

The snowy moment ended with Asher and Gist laughing as they fell to the ground.

And snow it goes.

The cold weather and icy conditions Monday night forced several schools to close Tuesday.

They included the Corbin Independent, Barbourville Independent, East Bernstadt Independent, Knox County, Laurel County, and Whitley County school districts.

In addition, all classes were cancelled Tuesday at Union College in Barbourville, with the college’s information offices closed.

Somerset Community College’s Laurel Campus in London was also closed Tuesday due to the weather.

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