Mayor provides update on city preparedness for winter storm

February 14, 2021

Mayor Greg Fischer today provided an update on the city’s preparedness for Winter Storm Uri, a major weather event expected to impact communities from Texas to Maine. He was joined by John Gordon with the National Weather Service, Director of Public Works Vanessa Burns and Director of Emergency Services Jody Meiman.

The city is currently under a Winter Storm Warning, and the city’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is on alert status level 1. This is a situational awareness status, meaning the city is tracking the weather and preparing to respond accordingly.

The National Weather Service expects heavy snow, sleet, and freezing rain in the area starting tonight. The most impactful snow is expected to begin tomorrow afternoon, with snow rates exceeding one inch per hour. Power outages are possible due to snow and previous ice accumulations on trees and power lines. Very cold temperatures are expected through the week.

“We may be dealing with the impact of more snow and ice for the next few days, and we still have snow and ice on the ground from the weather system that came through last week,” said the Mayor. “All of this could create dangerous road conditions and power outages, so we’re working with our community partners to keep all our residents safe. Especially when freezing rain starts to fall, I ask everyone to please stay home and avoid traveling unless absolutely necessary for food, medicine, medical care or work.”

Metro Government’s preparations for this storm are well under way, with the Metro Snow Team transporting salt from the underground storage at Louisville Megacaverns. Roughly 3,000 tons of salt were used during last week’s snow event, but the Snow Team is well supplied to get the city through the winter season. The city started the season with 49,000 tons of salt, and an estimated nearly 35,000 tons still remain in storage ready for use. The city also has adequate stores of other materials used, such as brine and calcium chloride.

“I want to thank our Snow Team for the great job they did before, during and after the winter weather system that came through in the middle of last week,” said the Mayor, “and I’m confident they are ready for what comes next.”

Metro Public Works reminds residents not to shovel snow onto storm drains because the clogging could lead to pooling, and as weather drops, could create additional hazards on the roads.

To stay informed on the Snow Team’s progress, click on the METRO SNOW MAP

https://www.lojic.org/snow-map

Vulnerable residents

As the city is expecting low temperatures in the teens and single digits, the Mayor and his team remain in constant conversation with the Coalition for the Homeless and other partners to protect the city’s most vulnerable from harsh winter conditions.

“Our Office for Resilience and Community Service has reached out to all shelters in Louisville and we have been advised that they are not at max capacity. There are beds available and space to provide daytime and evening shelter for all those who want it,’ said the Mayor. “We are also working with Wayside to ensure there is transportation available to shelters for those who need it. In addition, if by chance we do fill up existing shelters, we have the ability to expand existing contracts with Wayside on an emergency basis to ensure adequate overnight temporary shelter.”

Operation White Flag goes into effect when the temperature or wind chill is below 35 degrees.

Shelter availability:

Salvation Army is operating a Healthy Day Shelter location at their campus at 911 S. Brook Street with a 400-person capacity. No reservations are required. They also are operating a Healthy Overnight Shelter with a 70-bed capacity for men and women at the Brook Street campus. Call 502-671-4904 to check bed availability.

The Healing Place at 1020 W. Market Street has a 48-bed capacity. Call 502-585-4848 to check bed availability.

Wayside Christian Mission a 432 E. Jefferson St. has shelter space available and is operating 24/7. Wayside is also helping to provide transportation services for those needing to reach shelters. Call 502-996-1888.

In addition, Wayside Mission, which operates Hotel Louisville, has capacity to make overflow/shelter beds available if needed.

For additional details on shelter space, individuals can call the Coalition for the Homeless Single Point of Entry line at 502-637-2337.

The city’s Resilience and Community Services (RCS) team is monitoring the forecast, and a decision for Meals on Wheels deliveries on Monday has not yet been made. Homebound seniors continue to be contacted by RCS staff for health check-ins and to check food supply.

In the event that Neighborhood Place drop-off locations need to be closed due to inclement weather, applicants with scheduled appointments for the Eviction Prevention, Metro Utility Assistance and LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) programs will be provided an extension for submitting documentation. 

LouVax

The LouVax vaccination site at Broadbent Arena will be closed Monday, Feb. 15. Appointments for those scheduled to receive their vaccinations tomorrow have been cancelled. Those individuals will receive an email from LouHea[email protected] inviting them to reschedule according to their availability. There are doses reserved for anyone who must reschedule. The LouVax team will continue to monitor the weather, and decisions for the remainder of the week will be made and announced daily.

Parks

Louisville Parks and Recreation will open hills in seven parks for sledding from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on days when snow accumulation reaches 2-3 inches. As long as the sledding hills maintain adequate snow coverage, they will remain open. Park users are asked not to attempt to sled when hills are closed because sledding on slopes that lack appropriate snow depth will cause turf damage. The rule of thumb for determining if enough snow accumulation has occurred is that if blades of grass are poking through the snow cover, it’s not deep enough to sled safely. Designated sledding hills:

  • Cherokee Park (Baringer Hill, intersection of Alexander Road and Scenic Loop)
  • Joe Creason Park (Trevilian Way, across from Louisville Zoo). 
  • George Rogers Clark Park (1024 Thruston Avenue, behind playground, near McKinley Avenue)
  • McNeely Lake Park (6900 Cooper Chapel Road, near Korean War Memorial)
  • Tyler Park (1501 Castlewood Avenue, on Tyler Park Drive side of park)
  • Charlie Vettiner Park (5550 Charlie Vettiner Park Road, near Easum Road entrance)

Library

The Louisville Free Public Library will operate on a modified schedule on Monday, Feb. 15, with all locations closing early at 5:30 p.m. Curbside pick-up and computer appointments before 5:30 p.m. will still be offered. Library staff will contact everyone with appointments to confirm or reschedule, depending on patrons' preferences. Please check the Library's website, LFPL.org, or social media for weather-related updates.

Utilities

LG&E is monitoring the forecast and planning accordingly. Safety is the top priority for employees, customers and the general public. Because a good portion of the ice resulting from last week’s storm has not melted, adding the multiple rounds of heavy snow and/or ice expected with this incoming weather event will undoubtedly cause tree limbs and trees to fall into power lines. These conditions could pose a threat to safety and hamper power restoration efforts.

Residents must be cautious of downed wires around fallen trees that may be hidden in the snow. LG&E reminds everyone to stay away from fallen lines and treat them as dangerous live wires. LG&E customers should call (502) 589-1444 to notify the utilities of the location of any downed powerlines. Customers can view the utilities’ online outage map and report outages online at lge-ku.com. You can also report an outage by using Outage Texting or the automated phone system.

Louisville Water continues to remind homeowners to take precautions to prevent their pipes from bursting – wrap expose pipes with insulating material, tag outdoor water shut-off valve, cover crawl spaces and outside vents, keep garage doors closed and run a small steady stream of water from a cold water faucet.

TARC

TARC will continue to monitor conditions throughout the service area and implement Winter Weather Detours as needed. For real-time updates, and to help plan ahead with a list of the most common detours implemented during severe winter weather, visit the News & Events page at ridetarc.org.

Animal Services

Louisville Metro Animal Services (LMAS) reminds pets owners that “if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for them,” and they advise to bring pets inside. If pet owners are unable to do so, LMAS recommends pet owners make sure they have proper shelter, which should be insulated with the doorway properly covered and to check water bowls often and replace frozen water.

Often outside cats seek out car engines for warmth. LMAS recommends checking under the hood or make noise before starting your vehicle. To report a neglected pet or animal without proper shelter, call 502-473PETS, or submit a service request at www.louisvilleky.gov/animal-services.

 

 

You can learn more about the snow removal plan here:

https://louisvilleky.gov/government/public-works/services/snow-removal

Track the Louisville Metro Snow Team's snow removal progress here: https://apps.lojic.org/metrosnowroutes

Stay up-to-date with the latest news at https://louisvilleky.gov

Watch city media briefings at https://www.facebook.com/MayorGregFischer

Keep up with the latest weather advisories: https://www.weather.gov/lmk/

Keep up with how winter weather is affecting COVID-19 vaccinations at https://louisvilleky.gov/covid19

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