Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Having said that, the GFS model continues to show a major ice storm for the Bluegrass counties primarily Sunday night and Monday morning. If you take the 12Z GFS verbatim it would be pretty much a guaranteed disaster with widespread power outages and trees down. The ECMWF does lend some agreement to this idea. Here's the GFS from today:
More details will come as they are available. For now I'd just file this in the back of your head...it's POSSIBLE that we're looking at a major storm early next week.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Another weather system will come through Kentucky on Valentine’s Day. Depending on where you are exactly, you may see rain, snow, or a mix of the two. Let’s break it down:
Timing: Precipitation may break out across central Kentucky as early as late morning, though the brunt of the system looks to come through later in the day. The late afternoon rush may be impacted, as will evening travel in areas that see snow accumulation.
Amounts: If you draw a line basically along the Bluegrass Parkway from Elizabethtown to Lexington and then along I-64 to Ashland, this will roughly be the cutoff line for accumulation with this system in my opinion. South of this line, it appears that surface temperatures will move into the upper 30s tomorrow which will drastically cut down on accumulations. North of this line we will have the best shot at putting more snow on the ground, with 1 to 3 inches of snow possible. Even farther north into Ohio and Indiana amounts will be less because this looks like a compact and relatively small system that will push through. The northern half of Kentucky is basically where the most action will be in terms of snowfall.
Impacts: Travel will become dangerous in and around Louisville, Frankfort, Lexington, and Maysville by Friday evening. This system appears to be a small one, but a strong one. It may drop a quick 1-3 inches of snow in this area, with a few isolated spots nearing 4 inches. In my opinion will we probably see the NWS issue a Winter Weather Advisory for this area later today. In southern Kentucky, a rain/snow mix will likely turn to all rain during the afternoon and then end as snow late Friday night. Little to no accumulation is expected here.
If you have plans to go out Valentine’s night, plan to take your time and drive slowly. Be careful and don’t ruin your night!
Monday, February 10, 2014
We're only about half way through February but I thought it would be neat to look at how this winter stacks up to previous winters in central Kentucky. So for perspective, here are a few stats:
We're at a little over 16 inches of snow for the season so far. We need 27 inches by the end of the month to break into the top 10 winters in history. (Meteorological winter is December 1 through February 28/29). The winter of 1977-1978 is #5 on that list with 32 inches. The winter of 1917-1918 had 41.2 inches! Can we get 11 inches of snow in the next couple of weeks to crack the top 10? Sure, it's possible, but with the models predicting a more zonal flow setting up across the country with warmer temperatures coming I don't think it's looking likely.
The greatest amount of time spent with snow cover on the ground is 57 consecutive days ending on March 10, 1978! We are on the 8th day as of today so this winter has no hope of coming remotely close to that record.
As far as temperatures go...we're not even in the top 20 coldest winters.
The bottom line is that this winter is only slightly worse than average.
I will leave with this thought, however: most winters that do feature quite a bit of cold and snow like this current one are usually followed by at least one more if not two more in consecutive years. We saw harsh winters most recently in the 1950s, 70s, and 90s, so we are due for more in the 2010s if history repeats itself. I think it would be wise for city planners to stock up on salt when October rolls around because this very well may be an indicator that the next couple of winters are going to be worse.
Monday, February 3, 2014
Based upon the 00Z data from last night, the map I posted (below) still looks good. All the available model data takes central KY into the mid 30s for temperatures at the surface this afternoon and mitigates a major ice storm for this area. Per the model data, the main impact should be north of I-64.
HOWEVER... The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning anyhow. This basically runs along I-64 west to Lexington, then to Lawrenceburg, then to Elizabethtown and north of that line.
The reason is we have a snowpack on the ground. Snow is a great insulator. It not only traps warmth in the ground, but it cools the air via evaporation during the day and it reflects sunlight with it's high albedo. So what that basically means is that there is a good possibility that the computer models are not accounting for the snowpack and it's affect on surface temperatures today. We may not make it above freezing.
IF that happens we are looking at an ice storm this evening anywhere inside the Winter Storm Warning area. The wise thing to do is to prepare for ice and snow that will make travel almost impossible, and may affect utilities as well. This could turn out to be a nasty storm. Here is a look at the counties in the Warning:
I would like to stress again that IF we do not go above freezing today, we've got big problems. Plan accordingly.
Update Monday afternoon:
The 12Z model data is coming in, and boy it's a headache. The guidance is all over the place with this next system. NAM takes the low into Kentucky and brings rain to the Bluegrass. GFS is trending southward and brings an ice storm to a narrow strip of the state. The WRF brings the freezing line at the surface northward throughout the day, sort of a compromise of the two. It's really going to be hard to pinpoint this weather as we will see it. Who will get snow? Ice? Rain?
For now, here is my thinking. I believe a strip of freezing rain will affect the counties along the OH river tomorrow night and I also think counties north of I-64 in Kentucky will see freezing rain. This could be a significant amount of freezing rain as well and it could affect utilities and break trees, not to mention making travel almost impossible. If you live to the north, prepare for a possible ice event tomorrow night.
Along the I-64 corridor we will be very borderline with temperature profiles. We could have a mixed bag. Some of us may see a small amount of freezing rain. The wintry weather will have a minimal impact on this area.
Southern Kentucky looks to enjoy a cold rain tomorrow night. Everyone will see colder air move in on Wednesday and the precip. will end as flurries or light snow showers.
These areas will move around a bit as the new data comes in. More data will be coming later via Twitter @WXinKY. Here is a rough outline of what I'm thinking for now:
Well it looks like our snow totals ended up slightly lower than some forecasts showed. I was expecting about 4" and ended up with 2.5" at my house. I saw some forecasts for as much as 10" and we'll have to see when reports come in later this morning if anyone in central Kentucky got close to that.
All eyes now turn to the system that was originally getting all the hype last week. A low will develop and move across the southeast tomorrow. There will be heavy snow on the north side of it, and perhaps a little ice as well. To the south of the low there'll be heavy rain. The issue all along has been trying to nail down exactly where this low is likely to go. A week ago it was progged to ride up the windward side of the Appalachian mountains, bringing ice and snow to Lawrenceburg and surrounding areas. Then a few days ago the models started trending northward with the low and hinted at more of a rain event for us.
To say that this storm is a headache would be an understatement. It's going to be all about the track of the low. As of 7:00 Monday morning, here is how it looks to pan out currently:
Along and north of I-64 corridor in Kentucky we may see another round of accumulating snow Tuesday night. This would be enough to cancel schools again Wednesday for sure. Several inches would be possible if this idea pans out.
South of an Ashland to Lexington to Elizabethtown line, we would see a rain/snow mix with lighter accumulations, if any. Southern Kentucky would see only rain.
When the new 12Z data comes in today I'll post an update. This could still be a significant winter weather system for the Commonwealth. Stay tuned...
Thursday, January 30, 2014
The data is looking like this: A narrow band of snow will work through central Kentucky tonight. Along and north of the OH River we should be seeing lighter amounts this time on the order of just a few inches. Along the I-64 and Bluegrass Parkway corridor we'll see the highest amounts with a half-foot of snow possible. Southern Kentucky will remain warm enough to mitigate a lot of the accumulation of snow and will likely see a rain/snow mix developing.
After this system passes we go quiet for a short time on Monday afternoon and evening and then Tuesday the next system will approach the area. I've seen some other mets. talking about this system taking on a colder and more wintry look the closer we get to it. I'm not sure what they are looking at because the latest data shows warm temperatures in central Kentucky Tuesday with close to 60 degree readings as you go south toward Tennessee. The track of the low appears to go northwest of the Lexington area, which is great news because it'll take the threat of ice northward with it.
There is yet another system that may take aim at Kentucky by the end of the week but we will cross that bridge when we get to it. For now, get those shovels ready because the snow is coming tonight!
Wow. I haven't seen a storm hyped this much in years. Yes, the computer models are showing a major winter storm developing near Texas next week and then affecting the Ohio Valley in a negative way. However, at this point it is impossible to say exactly what the sensible weather impacts will be in Kentucky. This is one of those storms where the track of the low will make all the difference in the world.
I will post more details when the system comes into the U.S. and starts getting sampled by weather models.
I have heard from LOTS of people that "we're getting 15-18 inches of snow next week!". I honestly don't know where they are hearing that from. But here is my response to one of them: