January 27, 2010

A cold front will affect Kentucky Wednesday night through Thursday morning, giving the state a chance for a wintry mix. Colder temperatures, combined with wind and followed by accumulating snow will create a cold stress emergency for livestock and outdoor pets .

"After the passing of the cold front, Gulf moisture will head toward the state. At this time precipitation from the system looks to be snow, and will affect the area from late Thursday night to Saturday night," said Tom Priddy, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture meteorologist. "The heaviest precipitation is expected to fall late Friday morning to early evening. At the moment snow totals will differ a great deal from north to south; south receiving the most snow totals."

Priddy said it's difficult to tell where the sharp snowfall gradient begins and ends, so southern counties for the moment should expect snow totals between 4 to 7 inches while more northern counties should expect 1 to 3 inches.

Starting Friday morning a strong arctic blast will enter the Ohio Valley. This cold air blast will settle in for the remainder of the weekend and will put Kentucky in the livestock cold stress emergency category, Priddy explained. As such, he urged livestock producers to provide plenty of unfrozen water for their animals. Also, extra feed, wind breaks and/or shelter are most helpful for livestock. Producers may want to consider moving livestock closer to the farmstead.

Families should take similar precautions for their outdoor pets. The combination of cold air and high winds could produce wind chills in the single digits and put parts of Kentucky into periods of dangerous and emergency categories for livestock cold stress after the initial system passes through.

Roy Burris, beef specialist at the UK Research and Education Center in Princeton, said producers can weather the storm with a few simple strategies.

"The biggest thing for producers to do is to make sure animals have good hay and feed and that they have a good wind break," he said. Burris said keeping cattle dry, fed and comfortable goes a long way in protecting them from cold spells like this.

"Most producers have weaned their calves and most fall calves have been born by now," he said. "So really you just need to keep them dry, their bellies full and keep them out of the wind."

The National Weather Service predicts the following snowfall amounts for Kentucky:

  • Along and south of a line from Butler County to Casey County - 4 to 7 inches.
  • North of this line and south of Ohio County to Clark County - 1 to 3 inches.
  • The rest of Northern Kentucky, north-central Kentucky - fewer than 2 inches.
  • Southern Indiana - little to none.
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