Local/Regional News
7:08 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Dangerously Cold Temperatures Move Across Ky.

With near record cold temperatures and wind chills expected to blanket Kentucky, efforts to keep everyone warm were being made across the state.

A blast of arctic air pushed across the Bluegrass on Sunday night and early Monday morning, bringing temperatures near or below zero and wind chills dropping to as much as 20 below zero in some parts of the state.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spokesman Keith Todd says the main concern is roads soaked by the rain preceding the cold front freezing quickly as the temperature plummets.

Louisville and Lexington both opened warming shelters around the cities, with the mayors also calling on people to check on family members and neighbors to make sure everyone stayed warm and safe.

The National Weather Service forecast called for highs near zero on Monday and into the teens on Tuesday.

National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Spaeth in Paducah said 1 to 3 inches of snow and temperatures below zero were expected Sunday evening and into Monday.

Joe Sullivan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Louisville, said temperatures would be anywhere from 20 to 40 degrees below normal highs in the 40s and lows in the mid-20s.

David Nickell of Smithland, Ky., in the western part of the state, is doing just that. Nickell, an instructor at West Kentucky Community and Technical College, took extra hay into the field, moved his animals out of the wind, gassed up fuel cans and loaded up on batteries. An ice storm in 2009 that shut down large sections of Kentucky and knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of people is still a fresh memory, Nickell said.

"We are hoping this isn't going to be more than a few days of cold weather, but we did learn with the ice storm that you can wake up in the 19th century and you need to be able to not only survive, but be comfortable and continue with your basic day to day functions," Nickell said.

At Barkley Regional Airport in Paducah, Ky., United Airlines cancelled all flights in and out of the western Kentucky airport for Monday and Tuesday because of the freezing temperatures.

The coldest it has been in Paducah on Jan. 6 is 13 degrees. The coldest temperature recorded in the city on any day was 1 degree in 1985.

The last time subzero temperatures were recorded in Louisville was 2009.

Organizations including churches and the Salvation Army planned to open warming centers in some cities. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray called on residents to check on neighbors, the elderly, and bring pets inside. Lexington is opening warming stations and 24-hour emergency shelters.

Once the arctic air moves in, it was expected to stay for a day before warming up slightly heading in to Tuesday, when daytime temperatures will rise into the teens, Spaeth said.

"It'll be a better form of unpleasant (Tuesday)," Spaeth said. "If we hadn't had Monday before it, we'd think it was pretty darn unpleasant."