Quick Takes

Beshear declares a state of emergency ahead of anticipated arctic front across Kentucky

By: - December 21, 2022 1:36 pm

A year after the tornado, campers at Camp Graves provided transitional housing for some who lost their homes during the December 2021 tornado. (Kentucky Lantern photo by Julia Rendleman)

Ahead of anticipated extreme freezing temperatures as part of an arctic front across Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency and signed an executive order to prevent price gouging. 

The governor and other administration officials stressed preparation for the weather in a Wednesday news conference. Beshear urged Kentuckians to stay home Thursday into Sunday and take steps to prepare, such as putting together an emergency vehicle kit or making a plan in case the power goes out. Those planning to travel, especially during the holiday weekend, should arrive at their destinations by midday Thursday. 

“We’ve been through too many natural disasters. We’ve been through too much. We’ve lost far too many people,” he said. “So everybody, let’s be prepared for this and let’s make sure every single individual gets through it.”  

The National Weather Service’s Louisville office said in a special weather statement that rain in that area is expected to change to snow Thursday evening as a strong cold front enters the area. Minor snow accumulations will be accompanied by temperatures quickly falling into single digits. Wind chills are expected to be 10 to 20 below zero. 

The Jackson office said in a similar statement that a potent arctic cold front and a low pressure area is expected to cause gusty rain showers to change to snow Thursday night in that region. Temperatures will rapidly fall and some light snow accumulations are expected. Wind chills are also expected to be 10 degrees to 20 degrees below zero with colder readings possible at elevations above 2,000 feet. 

The emergency declaration allows state resources to be “available and ready to go,” Beshear said. The executive order would prevent price increases on necessary items. 

Counties have been asked to open at least one warming center location. State parks will act as backup warming centers. Eastern Kentucky families in travel trailers will have access to Jenny Wiley and Buckhorn Lake state parks in case their travel trailers lose power or water. Travel trailers were recently equipped with larger than normal propane tanks, Kentucky Emergency Management Director Jeremy Slinker said. Park updates can be found on parks.ky.gov.

Officials said to keep in mind some of the following when preparing for the winter weather:

  • Know where your local warming center is.
  • Have gas in your car and make an emergency vehicle kit that includes items such as blankets, chargers, flashlights, water and food.
  • Have a backup heat source in case of power outages. 
  • Monitor local news, radio and social media for immediate updates.
  • Be mindful of carbon monoxide and fire hazards when using alternative heating sources. Use a monitor to detect harmful levels of carbon monoxide and know the signs of poisoning. According to the Center for Disease Control, symptoms include “headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.” 

Lexington’s Office of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention activated its Emergency Winter Weather Plan last week, which is in effect Thursday through next Wednesday. Updates and additional information can be found at www.bereadylexington.com.

In Louisville, the city’s Operation White Flag system will begin when wind chills reach below 35 degrees. Three shelters participate in the operation and more details can be found on the city’s website

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

McKenna Horsley
McKenna Horsley

McKenna Horsley covers state politics for the Kentucky Lantern. She previously worked for newspapers in Huntington, West Virginia, and Frankfort, Kentucky. She is from northeastern Kentucky.