“Winter is coming…” Wait, it’s already here! Maybe… It is hard to tell sometimes in Louisville, where temperatures can drop or rise thirty or more degrees from one day to the next. Here are some tips that no one ever tells you about surviving this roller coaster of a season in Louisville, so that you’ll know exactly what to expect! (Maybe.)
1. You’re going to need milk and bread.
For some inexplicable reason, every single time there is snow in the forecast, every grocery store in Louisville is flooded with customers buying milk and bread. Once you are stocked up on these two things, you’re ready to hunker down and weather any snowstorm Mother Nature can throw at you.
2. They’re going to be salting the streets — a lot.
With the advent of new weather-predicting technology that allows us to know over a week before a snow or ice storm hits, Louisville has taken up a new tradition of preparing the streets the night before a storm is expected... even if nine out of ten times, that storm never comes. Be prepared to wash your car a lot in the winter, because that salt really cakes up on your fenders!
3. There will be no school.
A chance of snow? Unexpectedly cold temperatures? Your kids are staying home today. In the past few years, the number of snow days for JCPS (Jefferson County Public Schools) has gone way up — and so has the number of days kids have to make up at the end of the year.
4. Winter is not a constant in Louisville.
Everyone in the Ohio Valley is familiar with the old adage: "If you don’t like the weather here, wait around a minute and it’ll change." This is never more true than with winter in Louisville. One day will see sub-zero temperatures, the next you will be outside in short sleeves because it’s 60 degrees. But don’t put away that coat just yet! The next day will probably bring temperatures even colder than before.
5. Have a backup plan for getting to work.
If it snows or is extra icy, many side streets in Louisville become blocked off or shut down. Always know at least three different ways to get where you’re going, just in case.
6. Make sure to take care of your pipes.
In Louisville (especially in the current 2017-2018 winter season), water main breaks are a common occurrence if the temperature stays below freezing for long. If one of the main city pipes break, whole blocks will be flooded and out of water for days at least. At home, though, you can take precautions to make sure your pipes don’t freeze. For example, if the pipe to the sink in your kitchen is in a cabinet underneath it, leave the cabinet doors open so that the warm air from the house can warm the pipes enough that they won’t freeze solid.
7. If it snows, head to the floodwall.
For sledding! Louisvillians don’t get a lot of heavy snow these days, but when we do, we enjoy it! The floodwall around the Ohio River makes a great hill to sled down, although you might regret it on the long walk back to the top.
8. Expect every store you go into to be too hot.
For reasons unknown to most of us, in the winter, every store in Louisville is just about a thousand degrees inside. For a few minutes, it is nice to come out of the cold and into the warm embrace of central heating, but be prepared to lose your jacket (and hat, and gloves...) a few minutes later as you quickly realize that you walked into a sauna.
9. If the roads are icy, you’re going to slide.
Remember how I mentioned that the city over-salts the roads whenever there is a threat of snow? Well, that only really applies to the main roads. If you travel on the side roads (or sometimes even on those main ones), you should expect to slip and slide your way to every red light, so allow yourself extra stopping time and apply the brakes slowly so you don’t get into any fender-benders!
10. Enjoy winter while you can.
Winter is like a roller coaster in Louisville: the temperatures go up and down, people are divided on whether they should enjoy the snow or be angry about it, and after a while, you’re just begging for spring (which has its own set of contradictions). So if you have the chance to go out and play in the snow, be sure to take it! You never know when it might happen again.
Do you have any tips for surviving a Louisville winter? Share your advice with us in the comments below!