Looking at agriculture, our livestock cold stress index will dip into the Emergency category for an extended period of time. We need to take precautions now for our animals. The UK College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment just released an article on the topic, titled "Arctic cold blast prompts livestock cold stress emergency". Check it out for timely tips and precautionary measures that we should be thinking about right now.
As specialists recommend, "adequate shelter, water, dry bedding and enough feed to make it through cold periods are vital elements to surviving these weather patterns". In my eyes, one of the most concerning aspects of this storm is the 40-degree drop in temperatures, preceded by rain. As the article states, a wet and muddy hair coat leads to reduced insulation, increased heat loss, and thus, makes cold stress that much more severe. Bottom line, take precautions!
Fortunately, it's not all bad news moving forward. Temperatures will gradually take a turn for the better next week. In fact, the 8-14 day outlook hints at above normal temperatures in place as we head into the New Year. Just to put into perspective, normal high temperatures for January 1st run in the low to mid 40s across Kentucky, while lows average in the mid to upper 20s. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see us back in the 50s.... at least.