Below-freezing temps headed for Kilgore

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The new year will start on a chilly note with below-freezing temperatures expected as people prepare to say goodbye to 2017 and welcome 2018.

“We have an Arctic blast coming our way,” Lisa May, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Shreveport, said.

Before businesses re-open in 2018 on Tuesday, the NWS in Shreveport is forecasting temperatures as low as 16 degrees Fahrenheit. May said this will be the low temperature Monday night, meaning the temperatures could still be in the teens into Tuesday morning, Jan. 2.

Friday and Saturday, when temperatures was in the 40s during the day, will most likely be the area’s warmest days through the start of the new year, May said. The low temperature Saturday night of 38 degrees is only one degree colder than Sunday’s high temperature of 39 degrees.

The forecasted high temperature for New Years’ Day Monday is 32 degrees Fahrenheit – freezing.

“It’ll be sunny, but it’s going to be cold,” May said.

The forecasted low Monday night of 16 degrees is as close to 32 as it is to 0 degrees Fahrenheit. The last time Shreveport was in the teens was in 2002, and that is probably the same for Kilgore also, she said.

“It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen temperatures this low,” she continued.

The temperatures could feel even colder with wind chill. Layering is the best way for people to stay warm in the freezing and below-freezing temperatures.

The area could see some rain Saturday and Sunday with a 20 percent and 30 percent chance of precipitation, respectively. The high temperatures are expected to get into 40s and upper-30s, and the rain should clear out before the temperatures dip below freezing Sunday night.

May said the NWS is not anticipating ice accumulation in the Kilgore area, noting most of the winter precipitation and ice will be further north near Texarkana and up to Oklahoma and Arkansas.

There is a chance, though, for some ice to develop in Kilgore and Longview on bridges and overpasses, which typically freeze before surface roads. Texas Department of Transportation has pre-treated East Texas roadways with a brine solution – a mixture of salt and water – that creates a barrier on roads to help prevent snow and ice from sticking if it forms. (See sidebar for more)

May encouraged residents and those traveling in the area to watch for any updates to the forecast on the NWS website and social media pages.

With such cold temperatures, May said, the best thing to do is to prepare by dressing in warmly with layers and covering exposed pipes.

“Definitely layer,” she said. “Warm jackets. Make sure you head and ears are covered. Scarves. Put on as much as you can. Put extra blankets in your vehicle if you’re traveling.”

May noted it is a good idea to check fire alarms and fire extinguishers at this time also as people are using their fireplaces and space heaters that are not normally used. She noted there have been house fires across the NWS coverage area in the last week or two as temperatures have dropped.

There are four P’s which should be checked during such cold weather: people, pets, pipes and plants.

People should check on others, especially the elderly, bring pets inside, wrap exposed pipes and cover their outside plants. Other things that can be done around the house are to open cabinet doors to let the warm air get to pipes and to let water faucets drip.

In the winter, which officially began Dec. 21, power can go out due to ice on power lines and falling tree limbs. Ready.gov, operated by the Department of Homeland Security, suggests having extra blankets, sleeping bags and warm winter coats on hand to keep warm in case of a power outage.

“Just take extra precautions to stay warm,” May said.

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