‘Very active week’ of winter weather ahead

FRANKFORT – (KT) A powerful winter storm system is taking aim on Kentucky over the next few days, with ice accumulations of up to 0.75 inch possible.

“It’s going to be a very active week,” said John Gordon who heads the National Weather Service office in Louisville on Monday.

While Monday night could see some travel issues with snow accumulating up to two inches, primarily in the Ohio River counties between Louisville and Cincinnati where Winter Weather Advisories have been issued, the main event will come Tuesday night into Thursday.

While some areas could get an inch or two of snow during that time, Gordon says ice will be the biggest culprit.

“On the low end, a tenth to 0.15 inch of ice accumulation, with some areas seeing amounts approaching 0.75 inch, could be even higher, depending how this thing evolves and sets up the rate,” he stated.

Wednesday is when Gordon says he expects the worst icing conditions, especially overnight into Thursday morning.  “You could get a prolonged period of freezing rain across Kentucky, which could be pretty substantial.”

Gordon says at this point, the main axis of the heaviest icing will run along an east-west line from Paducah to Ashland, with the Western Kentucky and Bluegrass Parkways and I-64 at the center, extending a couple counties north and south of that path.  However, there is a possibility that the line could move either north or south of the projected path.  

As a result, a winter storm watch has been issued during that time for central and eastern Kentucky.

Gordon notes that despite the forecast of up to 0.75 inch of ice or more, this will not be a repeat of the 2003 or 2009 ice storms, that paralyzed parts of the state for days, adding, “Kentuckians can still expect to see trees down, power outages, and hazardous travel.  Pretty much a mess across the Ohio Valley this week, for sure.”

He added, he fully expects a Winter Storm Warning or Ice Storm Warning to be issued, probably Tuesday.

The much-anticipated deep freeze that forecasters have talked about for a week or more is now expected this weekend, according to Gordon.

“I feel very confident that Saturday night through Sunday night is the coldest period that we feel confident about,” he said.  “I know we’ve been pushing this cold off.  It’s really there, the question is will it get this far south?  Single digit temperatures are definitely on the table, especially Sunday night.  If we get a lot of ice, it could even be lower.  We’ll have to see.”

(By Tom Latek, Kentucky Today)

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