January 16, 2009

Two successive cold fronts passing through the Ohio Valley are bringing a dual shot of very cold air during the last half of the work week and setting up a potential cold stress emergency for livestock and pets.

"The Canadian air mass that will settle over the region behind the cold fronts will provide the state with the coldest temperatures of the season thus far," said Keys Arnold, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture meteorologist.

In much of the state, low temperatures will drop to single digits Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings. Kentucky residents may even wake up to negative temperatures Friday morning in some areas.

"During this time period, wind chill will also be a major factor," Arnold said. "With sustained wind speeds up to 20 mph and gusts up to 30 mph, wind chill values could drop as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Consequently, livestock cold stress will be in the emergency level from Wednesday evening through midday Saturday."

Livestock producers should make sure animals have adequate shelter, water, dry bedding and feed to make it through this cold spell. Pet owners should bring pets indoors.

Animals have a higher requirement for energy in the colder months so producers should have high-quality grains and forages on hand to meet their needs.