Cold blast leaving, Kentucky looking to clean up

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Associated Press

Posted on January 7, 2014 at 10:03 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — After two days of sub-zero wind chills, Kentucky could see some relief Wednesday as temperatures are forecast to rise above freezing in the coming days and into the weekend.

The National Weather Service is calling for highs on Wednesday to be in the 30s, a dramatic swing from the early part of the week when the thermometer didn't reach double digits in most places.

Meteorologist Kevin Smith in Paducah says the things will warm up to the high 40s and even low 50s by the weekend, giving some areas a 60 degree swing from lows of -10 on Monday.

"I'm sure we're not going to have any complaints, Smith said. "But, spring's not in a hurry yet. It's going to take a while."

Mike Crow, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Louisville, said there's a chance rain could turn into snow on Thursday.

"That looks kind of iffy," Crow said.

The warmer temperatures will also give businesses and residents a chance to clean up.

Maintenance crews at Fort Knox spent part of Tuesday repairing a burst water main at the main Chaffee Gate into the military post. Spokesman Kyle Hodges said the repairs were complete by Tuesday afternoon and the gates were reopened.

Other locations weren't so lucky.

"We do have damage from pipes and water so we are assessing that now," Murray State University spokeswoman Catherine Sivills said.

The cold weather also pushed power suppliers to ask customers to recommend conservation efforts on behalf of customers.

LG&E and Kentucky Utilities, the two largest suppliers in the state, called on customers to lower thermostats, dress warm and use extra blankets to avoid blackouts. The Tennessee Valley Authority, the nation's largest public utility supplying power to about 9 million people in seven states, also has asked some utilities to reduce usage.

TVA said preliminary figures show demand for power at 9 a.m. EST on Tuesday reached the second highest winter peak in TVA history.

According to the utility, preliminary power demand reached 32,460 megawatts as temperatures averaged 4 degrees across the TVA region. That is 112 megawatts less than the record winter demand set on Jan. 16, 2009, when temperatures averaged 9 degrees.

TVA, the nation's largest public utility, supplying power to about 9 million people in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia, had asked local power companies to try to reduce power usage, but by late morning, demand was decreasing. A TVA spokesman said the utility is was no longer requesting conservation measures from customers.

Sivills said power went down on campus Monday night and early Tuesday morning as part of a provision in the school's contract with TVA, but had returned to normal by 9 a.m. Tuesday. When demand gets high enough, the school cuts off power to some buildings and, in some cases, uses generators to keep lights and heaters functioning.

"In return, we receive discounted services," Sivills said.

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Follow Associated Press reporter Brett Barrouquere on Twitter: http://twitter.com/BBarrouquereAP

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