A blast of frigid arctic air is expected to bring snow and subzero temperatures as it sweeps across Kentucky on Sunday.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for areas of the state near the Ohio River, including much of western Kentucky and the Louisville area.
Meteorologist Christine Wielgos in Paducah said between 2 and 4 inches is expected for most of western Kentucky, with higher totals closer to the Ohio River. Meanwhile, the Louisville area is expected to get up to 5 inches of snow and central and eastern Kentucky could get up to 4 inches.
After the snowfall, temperatures are expected to plummet by Monday morning to 0 or below in much of the state. With the wind chill factored in, it could feel like 30 below.
Wielgos said it has been decades since such frigid temperatures hit the area.
She says that if the temperatures fall as much as predicted on Monday, “it’s definitely record-breaking.”
She said the coldest it has been in Paducah on Jan. 6 is 13 degrees while the coldest temperature recorded in the city was 1 degree in 1985.
Louisville meteorologist Ryan Sharp said such low temperatures weren’t unheard of in Louisville, but they aren’t common.
“It’s been a while since we’ve had temperatures this low,” he said. The last time subzero temperatures were recorded in the city was 2009.
Organizations including churches and the Salvation Army plan to open warming centers in some cities.
Meanwhile, state agencies have put out notices advising people on how to safely use supplemental heat and how to keep pipes from bursting.
Fire Marshal William Swope says most home-heating fires involve portable heaters and space heaters. He said the items should be kept at least 3 feet away from furniture, walls, curtains or anything that can catch fire and should be turned off while sleeping.
The Kentucky Division of Water also has issued advice to help keep water pipes from bursting. The agency says residents should wrap pipes and run a trickle of water from a cold faucet farthest from the water meter or one that has frozen before. People can also open cabinet doors to let warm air circulate around pipes.
Advisories also were issued to owners of pets and livestock to protect animals from the cold temperatures.