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EARLIER: Sub-zero temps, snow expected in winter storm

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Worst of cold expected Tuesday morning

By Lisa King

Forecasters say a major winter storm that blew into Kentucky over the weekend could bring sub-zero low temperatures, single-digit highs and even some snow Monday night and Tuesday.

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Temperatures plunged to zero by noon Monday, and are expected to fall to minus 3 below zero Tuesday morning, with a high of 13 for Tuesday.

It won't be as cold Tuesday night, forecasters say, with a low of 12 degrees predicted, and a warming trend of 33 degrees on Wednesday.

School plans

Schools were scheduled to resume following Christmas break on Monday, but were closed because of the frigid cold and will be closed again Tueaday, as will Jefferson County Schools. There is no word yet on private schools in Shelby County.

Parents could keep up to date on the public school situation through the school district’s  Twitter feed @shelbycountysch, Facebook page, and at www.shelby.kyschools.us.

Government offices

County offices as well as the Shelby County Judicial Center, most of which shut down Monday, will be open Tuesday, officials said. Shelby Circuit Clerk Lowry Miller said he is not sure how the court will handle the rescheduling of the docket for those who had court dates Monday.

Be prepared

With temps to hit zero and below, police, fire officials and auto mechanics all had words of caution and advice that they said people should keep in mind before facing what would be the coldest temperatures in several years.

Bagdad Fire Chief Rusty Newton said that in frigid weather, people also tend to supplement their normal heating sources with things like kerosene and electric heaters, which can also cause fires.

“You have to be extremely careful, when using electric heaters, make sure not to overload circuits they are connected to, because you can overload a circuit before you know it,” he said.

 “If you’re going to be using a stove or fireplace, make sure you’ve had it checked or cleaned, and make sure you’ve got working smoke detectors,” Shelby County Fire Chief Bobby Cowherd said. “Sometimes you get people, if their electric goes out,  they use other types of heating sources and it causes problems, because if they use electric or kerosene heaters, they get them too close to combustible materials.”

Newton said that along those same lines, people need to be careful how they clean their chimneys, as chimney fires are a big hazard in very cold weather.

“I don’t know enough about that product [creosote logs] to know how effective it is,” he said. “But the entire flu and chimney needs to be cleaned out, and you have to be sure your liners are not cracked inside the chimneys. Also, anytime you use a wood-burning stove, you should have a mat under it to prevent catching the floor on fire.”

 

About your vehicle

Eddie Doyle, owner of Performance Auto Care in Shelbyville, said that most people he knows have already had their radiators serviced to protect their vehicle engines against colder than average temperatures, but if people haven’t done that yet, they still have time.

For those who want to do it themselves, Doyle said he advises to get a particular type of antifreeze.

“If you buy the fifty-fifty antifreeze, you can just add to it, just pour it right in, and you should be safe,” he said. “That kind comes premixed – pure antifreeze will freeze. It takes water to make it work.”

Shelbyville Police spokesperson Kelly Cable said people should make sure to keep their tanks filled up and leave early.

“Make sure you have plenty of fuel in case you get stranded somewhere, and make sure you give yourself plenty of additional time to get somewhere,” he said. “When conditions get slippery, you know, if you’re one of these people who is always running just on time or five minutes late, you’re going to be even later, so you’re going to want to leave earlier.”

As for avoiding a weather-related traffic accident, he said, put extra distance between you and the car in front of you.

“The most important thing is to give yourself extra braking distance,” he said.” A lot of people stop right at the sign or the light. In weather like this, you need to give yourself additional car lengths and space so you can react safer.”