National Weather Service
WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: After participating in a conference call with the Louisville National Weather Service about the approaching winter storms (yes, there are two…more on that later) the consensus was our first focus should be on the potential for heavy rain and localized flooding starting Thursday afternoon.
FIRST, THE RAIN: The graphic above is called a QPF map – or quantitative precipitation forecast. It basically paints the areas of rainfall accumulation expected over a particular time period. As the rain begins in earnest over Southern Kentucky tomorrow, it could be heavy at times with drenching downpours. The good news, any precipitation that falls Thursday will be all rain for the WBKO viewing area. Rainfall rates could be high enough that we could see a few spots with standing water on area roadways or small creeks and streams rising to bank full. Periods of heavy rain and even a rumble of thunder is possible Thursday night into early Friday morning. Widespread amounts between 2-3″ of rain is possible during this time period.
FRIDAY NIGHT FREEZING: Even though we may mostly see only rain mixed at times with freezing rain and sleet Friday, temperatures will dive quickly into the low to mid 20s before sunset. This will cause any standing water to freeze on area roadways, trees and power lines. It certainly looks like hazardous driving conditions will not only exist Friday night but also much of the day Saturday as temperatures are not forecast to rise above the freezing mark (32 degrees).
FREEZING RAIN POTENTIAL: One more concern is with the abrupt change in temperature Friday afternoon and evening is just how much freezing rain or sleet will fall. This graphic shows a “slight” chance of icing over the immediate Bowling Green area – but only a few miles west, that increases to a “moderate” probability. Western Kentucky is of higher concern for icing Friday night where there could be some .25″-.50″ amounts of ice on trees and power lines causing sporadic outages and hazardous travel conditions. On top of that, there may be a period of freezing drizzle and/or snow flurries overnight until this first storm clears the region.
SATURDAY AND THE NEXT STORM: We do get a break between the two winter storms Saturday…a very short break. There are district football championship games Friday and Saturday, Holiday Bash Friday night and Christmas Parades on Saturday. I cannot suggest what will happen with these events…that’s their call. However, if things play out the way we see them now, it will be very rainy Friday followed by colder air and slick roads that evening and again for much of Saturday regardless of any return to a bit of sunshine. Keep watching TV, our station website and our social media pages for any cancellations or postponements regarding all these events.
Winter Storm #2 will get cranking Saturday evening as overrunning moisture from the Gulf moves northeast into the region. This storm looks to be as tricky to forecast as the first. However, guidance suggests storm #2 could potentially be more of an ice maker than the first one for Southern Kentucky. More on that to come in a later update. Let’s get through this storm first.
WHAT TO DO? HOW MUCH SNOW? BREAD AND MILK? You know my answer to that…know the weather before it knows you and prepare for just about anything. Honestly, while most of the precipitation will be rain at first, there could be periods where it sleets for a while, then changes back to rain, then to freezing rain or snow. It is one of the most complicated forecasts we’ve seen here in a long time. Any source claiming they have these two storms nailed down is lying to you just to get attention. You know how I feel about that, too. If you feel the need to run to the store, that’s your prerogative – but this first storm doesn’t appear to be the kind to keep you shut in for days. The greatest impact would be minor flooding Thursday night and early Friday to slick roads Friday evening and Saturday.
The National Weather Service will most likely expand the current Winter Storm Watch (in fact, they added Logan County as I am writing this update) or issue a Winter Weather Advisory that would take in more of the Bowling Green/Southern Kentucky area. Regardless, don’t look at counties in or out of the watch/advisory area…go ahead and plan for possible slick roads and maybe even some power outages between Friday and next Monday – basically the entire weekend.
Snow is not the big issue this time, at least for our area.
I will have another update here in the blog tomorrow morning along with a fresh radio podcast on the situation. By the way, I will once again participate in a nationwide Google+ hangout which will be broadcast LIVE on YouTube tomorrow at 10am CT. I will be part of a panel of weather experts discussing the two winter storms affecting our region. A link to this special webcast will be posted on my social pages and at http://www.hotairwx.com
Mainly clear this morning with a few areas of patchy fog.
8am: MClear 56°
10am: MSunny 66°
Noon: Sunny 74°
MORE BEAUTIFUL WEATHER:
As high pressure reigns supreme over the region, our nice weather will remain in place. Each day through the end of the week will start mostly clear with skies turning partly sunny by afternoon as fair weather clouds build in to the area. Our warm-up will also continue as temperatures will hit around 80° today and into the low 80s Friday. Overnight lows will be in the mid 50s.
COLUMBUS DAY WEEKEND:
A weak front moves in late weekend with just a slight chance for a shower late Sunday. Columbus Day (Monday) will be mostly sunny with highs in the mid 70s.
BIG CHANGES NEXT WEEK:
A major storm system moves across the Plains and into the Ohio River Valley late Tuesday into Wednesday bringing a good chance of rain and possibly strong thunderstorms. Behind this system will come a shot of colder air which will bring temperatures down some 10-15° below average!
Mostly Sunny & Warm…High 80, winds NE-5
Mainly Clear with Patchy Fog…Low 51, winds Calm
Mostly Sunny & Warm…High 82, winds SE-4
The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch effective until 10:00pm CDT for the entire WBKO viewing area including the counties of Adair, Allen, Barren, Breckinridge, Butler, Christian, Clinton, Cumberland, Edmonson, Grayson, Green, Hardin, Hart, Hopkins, Larue, Logan, Metcalfe, McLean, Monroe, Muhlenberg, Ohio, Russell, Simpson, Taylor Todd and Warren.
A severe thunderstorm watch means conditions are favorable for thunderstorms to form that may have the capability of producing damaging winds, large hail, flooding rains and even a few isolated tornadoes.
While the overall tornado threat is relatively low, a tornado threat can never be completely ruled out.
We could begin seeing individual cells, or “isolated” thunderstorm cells pop up this afternoon anywhere in the WBKO viewing area. Should this happen, a few of these storms could become supercell (rotating) thunderstorms which could cause damaging winds and large hail – possibly even a brief tornado. However, persistent cloud cover may keep formation of these cells to a minimum.
Aside from this, we are expecting a large complex of thunderstorms containing damaging straight-line wind potential and flooding rains to move into the region sometime this evening – most likely some time after 7pm.
In any case, this is the time to “know the weather before it knows you”. Make sure you have more than one way to monitor the weather as it develops – from NOAA weather radio to text alerts to several of the maps and apps we have available at WBKO.com/weather.
We typically do not answer questions as to “when” and “where” a storm may hit because your best course of action is to prepare for any severe weather situation, no matter the threat. If you are prepared, you’ll be ready for whatever comes. You can see preparedness tips at WBKO.com/weather that will answer any safety questions you may have.
Do not depend solely on outdoor warning sirens to alert you. They are designed ONLY to alert those already outdoors to come inside to monitor the weather or to seek shelter. Have a backup plan should you lose power and still need to monitor the weather. Charge up any cell phones, tablets or other electronic devices so they will be ready in case power is lost.
Should we go into full severe weather mode, we will stream our coverage LIVE to WBKO.com and to our partner radio stations SAM 100.7 FM and Howdy 103.7 FM.
TONIGHT – FREE Basic weather spotters class at Bowling Green Junior High Auditorium presented by WBKO’s Stephanie Midgett and National Weather Service Warning Coordinating Meteorologist Joe Sullivan, 6-8pm. Registration at the door.
Partly cloudy skies this morning with a few isolated rain showers or sprinkles mainly west of I-65. Temperatures will start in the mid and upper 60s and rise to near 75° by 10am and around 80° by noon.
SOME RAIN RETURNS:
We’ve enjoyed several days of dry weather after a wet start to May. Changes are coming, though. Increased moisture over the region combined with a front stalling out just to our north will lead to chances for rain returning. We’ll have a pretty decent chance for scattered showers and thunderstorms today and again Friday, with locally heavy rainfall possible where storms develop. Highs will be a bit cooler but should still reach the lower 80s both days.
STILL WARM, STILL UNSETTLED:
There will be no major change in the overall pattern through early next week. It stays warm and rather humid with a daily chance for isolated to scattered showers and thunderstorms over the weekend into Monday and Tuesday. It appears we’ll have a better chance for more widespread rain and storms Wednesday as a cold front punches through. Highs remain in the 80s through Tuesday with overnight lows rising into the upper 60s.
Partly Sunny, Scat’d Thunderstorms…High 82, winds SW-11
Precip Ch. 30% – Rain Amount 0.20″
Scat’d Showers and Thunderstorms…Low 61, winds S-5
Precip Ch. 30% – Rain Amount 0.20″
Partly Sunny, Scat’d Thunderstorms…High 83, winds SW-10
Precip Ch. 50% – Rain Amount 0.20″
The next time you hear us mention a Tornado Warning, you might notice more enhanced wording designed to get your attention.
Starting April 1st, the National Weather Service will introduce “Impact Based Warnings” to the region which includes severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings issued by the NWS office in Louisville.
“A test of this concept was conducted in eastern Kansas and most of Missouri last year, and I believe the expansion of the test to Kentucky and Indiana will be beneficial for everyone here” says Joe Sullivan, the Warning Coordinating Meteorologist at NWS Louisville.
2011 proved to be a historic year in terms of the number of tornado fatalities across the United States with over 550 fatalities. The May 22, 2011, Joplin tornado resulted in 158 of those, making it the deadliest single tornado since modern record keeping began in 1950. Following the historic Joplin tornado, the National Weather Service (NWS) conducted a service assessment for the purpose of evaluating NWS warnings and societal response to those warnings.
The new concept uses enhanced wording that the National Weather Service hopes will add a sense of urgency to the warnings that is not there now. For instance, a Tornado Warning may contain new “tags” that highlight the difference between a “radar indicated” tornado or one that has actually been “observed” by a trained spotter or the public.
“You might hear the “TORNADO…POSSIBLE” tag in a Severe Thunderstorm Warning which will be used primarily with squall lines” Sullivan said. “Storms like these can produce short-lived tornadoes like the ones that occurred during the January 30, 2013 event. These often show up on radar at nearly the same time that they occur on the ground, so it is believed that highlighting this fact in the Severe Thunderstorm Warnings that typically precede them will heighten the awareness and action of people in the storm’s path.”
When there is credible evidence that a tornado, capable of producing considerable damage, is imminent or ongoing, the warning will be worded “the tornado damage threat is considerable”. Furthermore, when a severe threat to human life and catastrophic damage from a tornado is occurring, you may hear the word “catastrophic” but it will only be used when reliable sources confirm a violent tornado.
Sullivan says the goal is to help not only NWS meteorologists but emergency managers, media and the general public make better decisions based on the urgency heard in the warnings. “We are constantly talking up preparedness and situational awareness when it comes to severe weather – this takes that effort one step further by giving people a clearer picture of what we see and what we know in hopes it will be a call to action.”
It is hard to believe it’s been five years.
One of the deadliest severe weather days in our recent history occurred on the night of February 5th and the morning of February 6th of 2008. It was Election Day.
57 people from Arkansas, Tennessee and Alabama were killed. Seven of those who died were from Allen and Muhlenberg counties here in South Central Kentucky.
It was the second largest February tornado outbreak since 1950 in terms of fatalities. Much like the severe weather that struck the region last week, these severe weather events act as a stark reminder that just because the calendar says it’s winter, tornadoes can happen anytime the atmospheric conditions are right.
Here are links to photos and data gathered by the National Weather Service from the Super Tuesday outbreak…
Mainly cloudy this morning with temperatures in the mild 40s.
After the last in a series of “clipper” systems brought some light rain to Southern Kentucky last night, skies will become partly sunny allowing for a little more sunshine today. Expect highs to top out around 50° this afternoon.
A MILD WEEK:
Temperatures will run a little above seasonal averages through the week with mainly quiet weather aside from a small shower chance late Thursday. Afternoon highs will be mainly in the low to mid 50s, with overnight lows in the 30s to near 40°.
The weekend starts off with fair and mild conditions Saturday before clouds and rain chances move in for Sunday. Highs will climb into the upper 50s late in the weekend with lower 60s for Monday. We’ll also have milder overnight lows through the period.
Becoming Partly Sunny & Mild…High 51, winds SW-7
Partly Cloudy…Low 36, winds Calm
Mostly Sunny & Mild…High 52, winds E-4
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory through 1am Friday morning for much of the WBKO viewing area with the exception of our westernmost counties.
The 12z NAM (North American Model) computer forecast spits out a dusting up to a half-inch of snow along and west of the I-65 corridor including the Bowling Green area. Further north and east, higher amounts around 1″ are possible before ending early Friday morning.
In addition, brisk northwesterly surface winds of 10-20 mph will make for blowing snow which will cause near zero visibility tonight. As the “clipper” system moves through, it will send overnight temperatures down into the upper teens. There will certainly be slick spots around the region tonight and early Friday morning.
Shane Holinde will have an update on the snow forecast tonight. Follow our facebook and twitter feeds for further updates.
Needless to say, it’s been a wild morning across South Central Kentucky with numerous reports of downed trees and power lines. I’m just now finding some time to update the blog but the podcast had to be scrubbed today due to the nasty weather.
While there have been no confirmed tornadoes, there are several areas of significant damage that give the appearance a few may have touched down. The NWS will begin their survey of those areas this afternoon and will make that determination.
By the way, we set a record high for today of 72° at 2:40am breaking the old record of 71° set in 1917.
Now comes the colder air and even the possibility of some snow showers for Thursday night. We’ve gone from ice on Friday to severe storms and tornadoes today to cold and (maybe) snowy by Thursday evening. Gotta love Kentucky weather!
All severe weather has moved well east of the WBKO viewing area but any leftover rain – mainly east of I-65 – will taper off by early afternoon. Some breaks of limited sunshine may appear west of I-65 as we go into the afternoon. A few scattered showers will move back in later today as colder air rushes in.
SEVERE WEATHER SHIFTS EAST
After numerous reports of downed trees and power lines overnight, the brunt of severe storms and possible tornadoes has pushed into portions of Central and Eastern Kentucky. However, as much colder air sweeps in later today, scattered showers will return and temps will begin a tumble down through the 40s and 30s, down into the 20s tonight.
MUCH COLDER LATE WEEK
Old Man Winter is back by Thursday, with much colder temperatures to close out the work week. A weak Clipper system could bring us a little light snow Thursday night, but amounts should be very minor. Highs will struggle to reach 40 Thursday, with only lower 30s for afternoon readings Friday.
WARMING UP A BIT
Readings moderate over the weekend thanks to a warmer southwesterly flow. There’s a slight chance for a shower Saturday with Sunday looking dry. Another chance for showers shows up Monday, with highs back into the 50s before another cool down Tuesday.
Mostly Cloudy, Chance of Showers…Falling Temps, winds NW 18-32
Precip Chance 50% Rain Amount 0.10″
Cloudy, Chance of Showers, Colder…Low 28, winds W-18
Precip Chance 30% Rain Amount 0.05″
Cloudy with Afternoon Snow Showers…High 39, winds NW-16
Precip Chance 50% A dusting of snow or less expected
From all indication, we should see a sunny and rather warm Thanksgiving Day here in South Central Kentucky and for much of the Commonwealth.
Average high temperatures are running near 58° this week with forecast highs 5-8° degrees above average. Overnight lows will be slightly above average (37°) in the upper 30s to mid 40s.
As you can see from the historical graph posted by the National Weather Service in Louisville, we’ve had some eventful Thanksgiving holidays in the past – some have trended wet and warm while others were cold and snowy.
The warmest Thanksgiving on record for Bowling Green was in 1896 when we hit 75° for a high temperature. We went “cold turkey” in 1912 and again in 1950 when it was a chilling 15°…and that was with 2.1 inches of snow on the ground!
We could use some rain but there’s very little in the forecast this Thanksgiving week. As of today, we’re nearly eight inches below average year-to-date precipitation.
(Whitesburg, KY) – The United States Geological Survey says a magnitude 4.3 earthquake struck at 10:18am CT this morning eight miles west of Whitesburg in Letcher County.
The epicenter of the quake was located a little over a half-mile under the Appalachian Mountains near the Virginia border.
No reports of damage have been reported but officials with Whitesburg Police and Fire departments said they felt the ground shake for what seemed to be about 15 seconds. The tremor was also felt at the National Weather Service office in Jackson.
Many South Central Kentuckians also reported feeling the tremor from the quake as far west as Todd and Logan counties. Additionally, there were numerous reports of tremors as far north as Cincinnati and as far south as Atlanta.