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Mayor Greg Fischer Newsroom

More Residents Seeking Shelter as Power Restoration Continues

Thursday January 29, 2009

 See list of metro facilities that will be open Thursday and Friday .

Utility crews continue to work across Louisville to bring power to homes and business — but, just as some customers are restored, others are losing power.

As of 1 a.m on Friday, January 30, LG&E is reporting 172,000 customers were without power in the Louisville area.(Visit the LG&E website to see the latest and view area outtage maps.) 

“We are making progress – one street at a time, one neighborhood at a time,” Abramson said. “But, unfortunately, we are still seeing are of the city lose power because of the severity of the ice.”

The number of people seeking shelter is also increasing. The Red Cross shelter at Walnut Street Baptist Church in Old Louisville now has 300 residents. The Red Cross and the city are considering opening a larger shelter later this week, as they expect more people to seek warmth and food.

At today’s afternoon news briefing, Abramson announced that the Dare to Care food bank and the Community Action Partnership are offering packages of food to people who need it. Call MetroCall, 311, to request food.

Fire officials also reported more instances of carbon monoxide poisoning, as people use alternative heat sources. People are reminded to not keep generators in their homes and to keep the generators away from open windows that would the gases to seep inside homes.

Tips from the Louisville Water Co to prevent water lines from freezing (Visit the Louisville Water Company website to learn about any boil water advisories that may be in effect.)

Wrap exposed pipes with insulating material. Pipes under kitchen sinks and in crawl spaces, near windows or in unheated basements are prime areas for pipes to freeze.

Locate your inside water shut-off valve. If pipes burst during freezing conditions, you can save valuable time and prevent water damage if you can turn the water off inside the house. The shut-off valve may be located in the basement, under the kitchen sink, in a utility closet, near the hot water heater, or even under the house in the crawl space. If you cannot locate or do not have a shut-off valve, call a plumber.

If you think you’ve found the shut-off valve, and to be sure it’s the right one, try turning it off. If all your faucets are without water, you’ve found the right one. If not, try again.

Once you locate the shut-off valve, place a waterproof tag over it, so it's easy for you and your family members to find if there's ever a problem. If you need a tag, call our Customer Service department at 583-6610.

If your house has a crawl space, cover outside vents to prevent winter winds from entering and freezing pipes.

If your house has a slab foundation, keep the garage door closed. Water pipes are often located under the concrete floors of the garage.

If you’ve had problems with frozen pipes in the past, try running a small steady stream of water from a cold water faucet in extremely cold weather. The cost of the water is small compared to dealing with the cost and inconvenience of frozen or burst pipes. Make sure you run the water from a faucet children don’t use — they may inadvertently shut off the faucet after using it.

Tips for Staying Warm & Dry from the Louisville Metro Health & Wellness

  • Wear layers of cotton and wool clothing to help insulate the body
  • Slacks are warmer than dresses or skirts. Long socks and leotards will protect the legs.
  • Mittens will keep your hands warmer than gloves.
  • Don’t drink alcohol when outside during extreme cold temperatures.
  • Be careful shoveling snow. Overexertion may lead to a heart attack. The signs of a heart attack include chest or arm pain, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, pain, sweating, and dizziness.
  • Stock your vehicle with blankets, a flashlight, a tin of food that requires no cooking, jumper cables, and a sack of sand.
  • Make sure you have adequate fuel in your tank before the trip.

Police concerned about black ice

City managers are concerned about the formation of black ice on roads. Black ice is a thin glaze of ice that forms on streets and is nearly undetectable to drivers. The ice often forms after snow melts and re-freezes, or after a period of freezing rain.

“Drivers may think the pavement just appears wet and they’ll drive at regular speed, then lose control when their tires hit a patch of that thin ice,” said Lt. Doug Sweeney of the LMPD Traffic Unit.

A four-wheel drive vehicle is no advantage when driving on ice. “You’re just as likely to spin out in your 4x4 truck as in a rear-wheel drive vehicle,” said Sweeney. “We’re urging drivers to slow down tonight and keep a considerable distance between your vehicle and other cars.”

Tips for Driving in Icy Conditions, from Police Traffic unit

Be aware of where ice may form: icy patches are likely on bridges, overpasses, ramps and curves.

Give yourself plenty of space between your vehicle and other nearby vehicles.

Allow extra time to stop.

Observe other vehicles in front of you – if you notice cars swerving for no apparent reason, it’s likely due to black ice.

Shift into a lower gear to give yourself more traction and control.

Test for icy patches in a safe place like a parking lot. Wiggle the tires a bit and see if you notice a change in the feel of the pavement.

When slowing down, use short, rapid application of the brakes.

If you skid, stay calm and turn your wheel slowly in the same direction as the skid.


City starting to see fires, carbon monoxide poisoning

Abramson said the city is beginning to see fires and health problems caused by people attempting to heat their homes. Three fires in St. Matthews overnight were caused by fireplaces that apparently hadn’t been checked for debris.

“If you are going to burn a fireplace, make sure you have someone check the chimney first,” said Louisville Fire Chief Gregory Frederick. “It could save your life.”

No deaths have been attributed to the cold, however Emergency Management Services responded overnight to five reports of carbon monoxide poisoning. EMS Director Dr. Neal Richmond said they were likely caused by people using generators and other devices. He reminded people to make sure any heating sources, especially generators, are properly ventilated.

Red Cross Shelters houses 189 overnight

The Red Cross shelter at Walnut Street Baptist Church in Old Louisville had 189 residents last night. Red Cross has provided shelters to 1,300 people in the Louisville Metro area, which includes Southern Indiana.

The Red Cross is prepared to open more shelters, if needed, but Walnut Street can hold 300 people.

YMCA opens facilities for showers

The YMCA of Louisville has opened its facilities for people who wish to take showers. There is no charge. The Y has several branches across the city. Call the Y to determine the nearest location. The Mary T. Meagher pool in Crescent Hill is also open, free of charge, for people wishing to shower.

Major roads cleared

Most major roads have been cleared of snow, though side and neighborhood streets remain hazardous. Public Works Director Ted Pullen said crews will continue spreading salt and plowing snow as needed, but they are now focusing their attention on removing trees and limbs that block streets across the city.

The crews this weekend will also focus their attention on school routes, to ensure that those roads and streets are ready to handle buses Monday morning.

Replacement food stamps

People can apply for replacement food stamps at Neighborhood Place locations across the city.

Airport operating on normal schedule; few delays

The airport is open and operating as normal, with only one flight cancellation this morning. Passengers should call their airline prior to departing for the airport to determine if their flight is operating as scheduled. Passengers may also access and click on flight status.

Frozen pipes a growing concern

The Louisville Water Co. is warning people that frozen and burst pipes could become a problem for homes without power. Water Co. President Greg Heitzman says people without power should either turn on their water to a pencil-sized trickle to keep them from freezing – or shut off the main water valve to the house.

“It’s better to be safe than to have a house-full of water,” he said.

Sledding in city parks dangerous

Metro Parks is strongly discouraging any recreational use of our parks, including sledding hills, because of the dangers posed by falling trees, hanging limbs, icy conditions and downed power lines. Metro Parks crews are currently focusing their efforts on clearing city streets, rather than opening parks

Shelters offer food, cots

Several other shelters are operating in addition to the Red Cross shelter at Walnut Street Baptist.

Healing Place – Men's Shelter, 1020 W Market St. 585-4848

Women's Shelter, 1607 W Broadway 568-6680

must be over 18

must be sober

no family accommodations

No one turned away, but beds fill quickly. Once beds fill, they have mats and chairs

Salvation Army831 S Brook St., 625-1170

can accommodate all homeless

includes families - although man in family may not be able to stay with rest of family

Wayside – Men’s Shelter, 432 E Jefferson, 584-3711 (answered 24/7 - call for all info)