MURRAY — Murray and Calloway County has taken many punches in the past week, courtesy of Old Man Winter.
Three storms — an ice storm, followed by two significant snowfalls — all landed direct hits on this community and western Kentucky in general. The latest of these came Wednesday afternoon into early Thursday morning with a winter storm that provided the final 3 inches of snow that gave Murray an official total of 8 inches for the week.
Add to that, Murray achieved a new record low on Tuesday morning when the temperature sank to -3 degrees during a week where residents resorted to the ritual of dripping water faucets and keeping cabinet doors open in the overnight to prevent pipes from freezing. In other words, it has been a tough several days.
But there is finally light at the end of the tunnel.
“I know I’m feeling better, knowing that I’m going to be not as busy for a while,” said Murray’s Justin Holland, an official government observer for the National Weather Service Office in Paducah. All week, he has been in constant contact with meteorologists in Paducah in an effort to obtain up-to -date information that he relayed to residents via social media.
“Now, I don’t have much to track.”
Today, Holland said Murray and Calloway County should see significant melting of the snow that has left the community caked in white. The sun will be present most of the day and that will go a long way to removing snow and ice from side streets and roads that may not have been reached Thursday. Most main roads in Murray were either clear or barely had any patches of ice by Thursday afternoon as snow plows were able to make strong progress after the sun appeared a few times and the mercury stayed in the upper 20s, as opposed to not even reaching 20, which had been the case earlier in the week.
“That’s allowed the salt brine that was put down several days ago to finally start working,” Holland said. “Before, it was so cold that there was no way for that brine to work. That goes to show you that it is amazing what happens when we’re able to get the temperature up a little bit and the sun comes out.
“(Today), we should see a lot of progress because the sun is going to be out just about all day. People have a hard time understanding that, while it is still cold, the sun can really help us.”
Saturday will see even more progress as the high temperature, forecast to be in the mid-30s, should be above freezing for the first time since last Wednesday, Feb, 10. Then comes Sunday, when the mercury jumps even higher, to the mid-40s.
However, to reach this weather oasis, Holland said there is still some tough times to endure. This morning and again Saturday morning could prove very dangerous on area roads as the melting ice re-freezes after dark and forms black ice.
Also, Holland said low temperatures Friday and Saturday morning will continue to probably require dripping faucets in the overnight hours. He said he has heard reports from throughout Murray that some residents have experienced having their pipes burst.
“And that’s unfortunate. That can cost thousands of dollars,” he said. “So we really need to keep that up into Saturday morning. However, once we get through Saturday morning, I think we can stop doing that because the temperatures at night are going to start getting much better.”
Holland said Sunday could bring more precipitation, but that will be in the form of rain. And if the warmup of Sunday pleases residents, he said what will follow that during next week will add to the joy.
“It’s going to seem like spring, actually,” he said of how the forecast is calling for highs in the mid-50s by Wednesday.
“Now, I do need to remind people that we are still in February. So there is a good chance that we will see some more cold weather and that could be the case into March too. Hopefully, it won’t be nearly as bad as what we’ve seen in the last week.”