Community

Louisville hasn’t been hit by Winter Storm Landon as hard as some of its neighbors, but officials say the city isn’t out of the woods yet.

The storm is predicted to bring potentially dangerous amounts of ice and sleet to the Ohio River Valley. Temperatures cooled last night, with heavy rain falling earlier Thursday. As the afternoon progressed, the rain started to freeze, leaving layers of ice on trees, power lines and roads.

John Gordon, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said during a Thursday evening press conference that Louisville didn’t get as much cold air as nearby areas in Southern Indiana, so ice hasn’t accumulated as much on the ground. But that could change later Thursday night as temperatures in Louisville dip lower.

“Our window for ice is between [5 p.m.] and about 8 o’clock tonight, and the closer we get to 8 o’clock, we’ll start transitioning over to some sleet, and then eventually to snow,” Gordon said.

Gordon said most of the major roadways in Louisville are “OK,” but could worsen as the night progresses. Untreated roads, back roads, bridges and overpasses will be the biggest areas of concern.

Some snow and sleet is expected to fall between 10 p.m. and midnight. Gordon said that will taper off into a very “light snow” or “freezing drizzle” in the wee hours of Friday morning.

Once the precipitation leaves the area, Gordon said residents can expect cold temperatures to stick around.

“Friday night, [it’ll be] single digits,” he said. “If you live in Southern Indiana, could be below zero.”

Though parts of western Kentucky have experienced widespread power outages, Louisville’s grid hasn’t been affected as badly. As of 6 p.m., LG&E’s outage map showed about 2,600 customers without power.

“We’ve had less than a handful of wires down and no broken poles,” said LG&E Media Relations Director Natasha Collins. “That being said, we do continue to be as prepared as possible for what we know has the potential to come in over the next several hours and overnight. We also continue to keep safety the top priority, which is why I’m going to continue to stress that if you do come across a wire down, please treat it as an energized power line. Stay away, give us a call.”

Mayor Greg Fischer said about 56 snow removal crews have been treating local roads throughout the day and will continue “around the clock.” He urged residents to stay off the street to allow crews to work and to prevent accidents.

Fischer also asked people to take precautions inside their homes, citing fires earlier in the day.

“Arson investigators had determined the cause of one of those fires to be combustibles placed too close to a propane space heater,” he said. “So please, I want to stress the importance of safely using alternative heating generators, gas space heaters and fireplaces. Really think through that if you’re going down that route, and check the conditions around those alternate fire sources.”

There are still beds available at white flag shelters in Louisville. White flag status goes into effect when temperatures or wind chills fall below 35 degrees. People can stay at participating shelters for as long as the low temperatures persist. Those in need of services can call 502-637-2337 or go to one of the following sites:

  • Wayside Christian Mission, 432 E. Jefferson St.
  • St. Vincent de Paul, 1034 S. Jackson St. (men only)
  • Salvation Army Center, 911 S. Brook St. (daytime only)

In-person facilities at Louisville’s library and parks, the Waste Reduction Center, Metro Animal Services Animal House, and the Louisville Zoo will remain closed Friday. Jefferson County Public Schools has announced a snow day, University of Louisville has canceled classes and closed buildings, and Oldham County Schools are also closed.

John Boyle is a reporter and editor at WFPL news focused on Southern Indiana. He is a corps member with Report For America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.