By Alyssa Schnugg
The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Chill Warning for much of the Mid-South, including Lafayette County for Thursday night into Friday morning.
The day will start off with rain moving into the area around 1 p.m. with a high of about 52 degrees.
Temperatures will begin to drop rapidly during the late afternoon hours as a very strong arctic blast moves into the area.
There is a 50 percent chance of rain and snow before 10 pm, then a 30 percent chance of snow between 10 pm and 1 am. The predicted low for Thursday night is 5 degrees; however, due to northwest winds around 15 mph with gusts up to 35 mph, the windchill value could drop down to -14 degrees overnight.
The NWS is calling for less than a half inch of snow if it does snow in Lafayette County.
The high for Friday is expected to be just 18 degrees with a low of 8 degrees Friday night. The temperature will gradually increase over the weekend but remain cold.
Christmas is expected to have a high of 33 degrees under sunny skies.
Gusty winds Thursday night could knock down powerlines.
Lafayette County Public Information Officer Beau Moore said citizens need to prepare before the frigid weather arrives.
“For your home, you need to make sure that your outside faucets are covered up and insulated,” Moore said. “If you are using a space heater or any alternative heating source please make sure it’s 3 feet from any object and that it has a safety feature to shut off if it gets knocked over.
“Remember never to use your stove or oven to heat your home. Also never run a generator in your home. Check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and make sure they are working. If you have outdoor pets bring them inside if possible. If it’s not possible make sure they have plenty of food and water and are not overly exposed to extreme cold.”
It is recommended to leave faucets dripping overnight and open cabinet doors under sinks to allow the warmer inside heated air to get to the pipes.
The NWS has strongly discouraged anyone from traveling Thursday night as exposure to cold if a car break down could become life-threatening. Frostbite could set in 30 minutes after exposure.
Moore suggests if someone must drive, to make sure there is a winter survival kit in the vehicle.
“Some items in this kit should be jumper cables, flashlight, first aid kit, food, water, clothes, warmers, blankets, and a portable battery charger to charge your cell phone,” he said.
If you’re working outside, try to adjust your schedule to avoid being outside during the coldest part of the day, typically early in the morning.
“All agencies in Lafayette County are prepared to respond to any type of conditions,” Moore said.
For a complete winter checklist, download the Lafayette County app in the App Store.