Kentucky Horse Owners Urged to Prepare for Winter Storm

Kentucky livestock producers and other animal owners have been urged to prepare for a severe winter storm that is expected to strike the Commonwealth near the end of the week.

"Kentucky has been slammed by severe winter weather many times in recent years," said Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer. "We remember all too well the ice storm that paralyzed most of the state almost exactly a year ago. That experience reminded us that we need to get ready before it hits."

Tom Priddy, Extension meteorologist at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, said a weather system from northern Mexico will track south of Kentucky Thursday and Friday. That system will pull a tremendous amount of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico that will combine with cold air from the north, resulting in heavy snow and cold temperatures.

Those conditions will put Kentucky in the livestock emergency stress category by early to midday Friday, Priddy said. Older and younger animals and pets might be more susceptible to health problems stemming from the severe weather than others, he said. Stressful conditions are expected to continue until Monday morning, he said.

Warren Beeler, assistant director of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture's Division of Value-Added Animal and Aquaculture Promotion and a Grayson County farmer, said it's most important for animals to have a readily available source of water in extreme weather conditions. Beeler said it's critically important to animals' safety and comfort to provide shelters or windbreaks for relief from extreme cold and wind.

Now is the time to get out the generator, make sure it is in good working order and fill it up with fuel, Beeler added. But don't connect it to your home's power system unless it has been properly installed and is disconnected from the main power grid when it is operating.

Kentuckians can monitor their local weather at the University of Kentucky Agricultural Weather Center's Web site.

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