An arctic front worked its way across the state Tuesday, bringing unseasonably cold weather that is expected to linger.
"The cold over the next few weeks will be nothing short of impressive," WKYT chief meteorologist Chris Bailey said.
In Murray, a Veterans Day parade was canceled after organizers decided that a cold drizzle was too much for people who were planning to come from the local nursing home and for high school students who had planned to march with their musical instruments.
Wednesday's high of 40 degrees might be the warmest weather we see for a while.
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Highs in the 30s are expected for the rest of this week and into next week, with overnight lows hitting the teens early next week.
There is a chance for snow on Sunday.
Bailey said this prolonged period of weather that looks more like December or January is "probably a pretty good signal as to where we're going" for the rest of the winter.
Charlie Lanter, director of Lexington's Office of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention, said he met with shelter providers last week to develop a strategy for helping the homeless during cold spells this winter.
While he said "we weren't necessarily expecting it to get this cold this quickly," Lanter said the city is prepared.
When temperatures are below freezing, Lanter said, the Hope Center, Salvation Army and Arbor Youth Services don't turn anyone away — even a person who has been kicked out before.
And, Lanter said, "if it's really cold during the day, they're going to stay open."
Lanter said the city is working with Lextran in hopes of getting a route set up to pick up people and take them to shelters when temperatures dip. Lextran also would transport people from overnight shelters to daytime shelters so they would not have to walk in extreme cold.
"We feel like we've got a pretty secure system to get us through," Lanter said.
Ginny Ramsey, co-director of the Catholic Action Center and the Community Inn, said those facilities also are gearing up for the cold.
"When you shift 50 degrees in temperature, everybody's systems will be shocked," she said.
The Christian Appalachian Project has donated blankets, which Ramsey said will be distributed on Wednesday to a variety of community agencies, including other shelters and school resource centers.
But she said other cold weather gear — coats, hats, socks and gloves — are still needed, not only for the homeless but also for people with "marginal housing" who cannot keep their homes warm.
"Being without sufficient heat is not unusual for people," Ramsey said.
She said volunteers will be accepting donations at GodsNet, 614 East Seventh Street, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday and Friday.
"We want to make it our goal this year to blanket our city and keep everyone warm," Ramsey said.
Columbia Gas of Kentucky issued a news release urging customers to prepare now for the coming months and to let the company know early if they are having trouble paying heating bills.
Community Action agencies throughout the state are accepting applications for the LIHEAP Subsidy Program energy assistance through Dec. 11. Low-income families may also qualify for other help with weatherizing their homes or paying for heat. For more information, call 1-800-244-2275.