MURRAY — Western Kentucky appears to be headed toward resembling places like Buffalo, New York or International Falls, Minnesota over the next few days.
That is because snow is expected to be very prevalent and temperatures will be falling toward the zero mark.
Murray’s Justin Holland, official government observer for the National Weather Service Office in Paducah, said Sunday afternoon that a storm system was expected to bring snow to Murray and Calloway County Sunday evening and continue into this morning. Accumulations are expected to be between 2 and 3 inches from that as a winter storm warning continues through 6 a.m. Tuesday.
Then comes the second punch of this winter storm.
“That will be the main event of this system and that should last from about 10 in the morning through about 6 in the evening.” Holland said. “I’d say the totals from this, when it’s all said and done, will be in the range of between 8 and 10 inches. There’s a small chance there might be some sleet included, but this is mostly going to be snow and it’s going to be heavy.
“Potentially, we’ll have it falling at a rate of an inch per hour and that’s not something we’re used to around here. Snow plows won’t be able to keep up with that kind of rate.”
Holland said today’s snow will aggravate already treacherous driving conditions in some parts of the county, as well as the city. Late last week, an ice storm struck, leaving about .30 inches of freezing rain and sleet that still had side roads providing a struggle for drivers Sunday, while most main roads were mostly clear.
Along with the snow will come bone-chilling cold. Holland said overnight lows will be in the upper single digits, while daytime highs for the next few days may not rise past 20.
“People need to be protecting those water pipes. Open your cabinets and drip your faucets. Also, disconnect your outside hoses. You don’t want those freezing,” he said. “Also, if you have dogs and cats, bring them inside. Don’t leave them out in those cold.
“If you’re doing any traveling, you might want to pack an extra blanket, along with some food and water, because, if you get stuck in this, it could be several hours before anyone sees you.”
Holland said it would be a good idea to start automobile engines if they have not been used in a few days as this keeps them in working order.
“But please make sure your garage door is up,” he said. “You don’t want the exhaust fumes accumulating inside the garage or getting into your house. That can be incredibly dangerous.”
Holland also said that an incident from Saturday serves as a reminder that homeowners need to have things like candles and batteries, as well as a significant amount of blankets, always on standby. A wreck northeast of Murray led to a power outage that affected about 2,000 customers with West Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation when the vehicle struck a utility pole.