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Louisville officials advise residents to prepare for upcoming winter weather

Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg
Giselle Rhoden
Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg and other city officials explained their plans on Friday for the upcoming winter weather.

With temperatures expected to dip well below freezing in Louisville, city leaders gathered at the Emergency Operation Center to urge residents to take precautions ahead of winter weather conditions.

John Gordon, chief meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said at a news conference Friday an arctic front will impact Louisville through early next week.

Though the city is not expected to see heavy snowfall, Gordon said cold rain could turn into black ice on roadways. The wind chills heading into this weekend will dip below zero, and wind gusts could reach speeds up to 60 miles per hour.

“It's very cold here in [Anchorage, Kentucky]. And it may feel more like Anchorage, Alaska, next week,” Gordon said.

Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg said city officials will continue to monitor weather conditions into next week.

“We are operating at a level one alert status to monitor the weather system today and over the coming days. And we're taking active steps to keep everyone safe, so that we get through what are likely dangerously cold temperatures,” he said.

City officials encouraged residents to stock emergency kits in their homes and vehicles, run a steady drip in faucets to prevent frozen pipes, and take safety precautions when using home space heaters and generators.

Louisville Metro Public Works Director Jennifer Caummisar-Kern said the Metro Snow Team has been preparing for frigid temperatures since October. The team has 38,000 tons of salt on hand and is ready to run 24-hour shifts to clear icy roadways.

Caummisar-Kern suggested residents only leave home when necessary and to be patient with snow plows on routes.

“Our Snow Team's snowplows don't go very fast,” she said. “So if one is in front of you, please leave some room and also allow additional time.”

Caummisar-Kern said city waste collection will not run on Monday due to strong winds and the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Jefferson County Public Schools has notified families about the district's plans to move to non-traditional instruction, or NTI, if in-person classes are canceled.

At Friday’s news conference, JCPS spokesperson Carolyn Callahan said families will be notified by 5 a.m. Tuesday if schools will move to NTI.

In the meantime, Callahan encouraged parents and families to update school contact information and sign up for School Messenger.

Jon Pilbean, with Louisville Metro Homeless Services Division, said Operation White Flag will go into effect for temperatures below 30 degrees. Shelters at the Salvation Army at 911 S. Brook St. and Wayside Christian Mission at 432 E. Jefferson St. are participating in the program.

“We have eight outreach staff right now. They're out in the streets every day meeting people where they're at,” Pilbean said. “They’ll be out starting Sunday through the rest of the time that we have the cold weather, so they will be providing transportation to our shelters.”

Pilbean said the St. John Center at 700 E. Muhammad Ali Blvd. will provide emergency pop-up shelters.

People can call the Coordinated Shelter Access line at 502-637-2337 to locate the nearest shelter and make a reservation.

Greenberg said all Metro Government buildings, including libraries and community centers, will serve as warming centers during their normal business hours. Eight Neighborhood Place locations will also remain open as warming centers, he said. Government buildings will be closed Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Greenberg also urged residents to keep their pets inside. For those who must keep their animals outdoors, Louisville Metro Animal Services will be handing out free straw at its Animal Care Complex at 3528 Newburg Rd. from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Giselle is LPM's breaking news reporter. Email Giselle at grhoden@lpm.org.

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