Cold snap: Plans in place for sub-zero temps

Winter arrived with a vengeance this morning with temperatures in single digits and wind chills well below zero.

The National Weather Service issued a wind chill advisory through 2 p.m. today for wind chills as low as -15 degrees. Temperatures are only expected to reach 14 degrees during the day. Winds, particularly in the morning, are predicted to be above 20 mph.

Clark County Public Schools canceled classes for today because of the extreme cold.

All those things combine to create a severe risk of frostbite for anyone outside with exposed skin. The NWS said frostbite can occur as quickly as within 30 minutes of exposure. Hypothermia is also a possibility for those outside for prolonged amounts of time without enough clothing.

Clark County Emergency Management Director Gary Epperson said. the good thing is the forecast is only for cold; no rain or ice is expected.

“We’ve got two days ahead of us of extreme cold,” Epperson said Tuesday. Temperatures are not expected to be above freezing until Friday.

Epperson said the Red Cross in on standby to open an emergency shelter if needed, but it would only open if there is a significant power outage. Once it opens, the shelter would have to stay open for 72 hours, he said.

The Beacon of Hope Emergency Shelter is open 24 hours a day, he said, and Ark of Mercy Church will be open for lunch as well.

The Clark County Homeless Coalition is also offering help escaping the cold. The coalition will help anyone get to a shelter if they call 744-8733 or show up at 19 Wainscott Ave. betwen 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Epperson offered a number of tips for dealing with the bitter cold.

— Minimize outside activities, particularly for the elderly and the very young.

— Dress in layers. Several thin layers of clothing will keep a person warmer than one thick layer.

— Wear the correct gear including waterproof boots, a hat which covers the ears, a scarf and lined gloves or mittens.

— Watch for frostbite, especially on extremities. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and a pale appearance in extremities like fingers, toes, noses and earlobes. It should receive immediate medical attention.

— Bring pets inside, or at least into a garage, basement or barn with warm bedding.

— Watch for hypothermia. Symptoms can include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, incoherence and apparent exhaustion. If the person’s body temperature drops below 95 degrees, seek medical attention.

— Be careful around heat sources including fireplaces, wood stoves or space heaters.

— Seal off unused rooms with rolled towels the base of doors or cover windows.

— Let water drip from a faucet to keep pipes from freezing.

— Save your food. In case the power goes out, food can be stored outside as a makeshift freezer. Cover any food to keel wildlife out.

— Check on your neighbors, particularly the elderly or disabled.

— If traveling, keep the fuel tank full and carry emergency gear including blankets, non-perishable food, water and tools in case you get stuck.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@bluegrassnewsmedia.com or call 859-759-0051.

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