FRANKFORT, Ky (WEHT) Gov. Andy Beshear issued a State of Emergency Thursday as a dangerous winter storm blanketed much of the Commonwealth in a wintry mix of snow and ice amid plunging temperatures.

The State of Emergency directs the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management (KYEM) and the Department of Military Affairs to execute the Kentucky Emergency Operations Plan and coordinate the response across state agencies and private relief groups.

It also directs the Finance and Administration Cabinet to provide funding for the response and authorizes the Division of Emergency Management to request additional resources.

Multiple crashes and intermittent closures on interstates, parkways and major routes across the state have occurred since last night into this morning due to icy roads, and downed trees and power lines. Transportation crews aggressively treated roads throughout the night as breaks in the weather allowed. Widespread reports of downed trees and limbs have been reported, with the most impact in Central and Eastern Kentucky. Partners, including the Kentucky Division of Forestry, are helping with tree removal.

“The damaging effects of fallen debris and frigid temperatures create additional challenges and delays. It’s going to take days to recover from this event.” said Transportation Secretary Jim Gray, “We plead for the patience of the public and ask for their help by staying off the roads if possible.”

Earlier Thursday morning, Gov. Beshear closed all state offices for the day to reduce traffic on perilous roadways.

On Wednesday, the Governor said the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management activated its State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) to monitor the storm system and coordinate with critical Emergency Support Function partners in transportation, law enforcement, power and utilities. The SEOC remains activated at Level 3.