Rounds of Wintry Mix in Southern KY

After a weekend of warm temperatures and rain we now find ourselves in the low 30s with sleet falling in the area.  A very strong cold front blasted its way through the commonwealth yesterday bringing in much colder temperatures.  At one time Sunday afternoon temperatures dropped 15 degrees in an hour.  The front has since moved to our south and east but has stalled generally from Virginia to the New Orleans area.  Meanwhile and upper-level disturbance is moving across the southern plains which is pulling moisture up and over this boundary.  When you have moisture being pulled up and over a cold airmass at the surface, winter weather enters the conversation.  Not just winter weather but usually a wintry mix including sleet and freezing rain.  This is setting up ahead of the disturbance across the mid-south and is impacting us here in south-central Kentucky.  Currently a large area of precipitation exists from Mississippi into our area bringing with it mainly sleet.

Radar imagery around 4 pm shows a large area of snow, sleet, and freezing rain from MS in southern KY.

Radar imagery around 4 pm shows a large area of snow, sleet, and freezing rain from MS in southern KY.

Snow has been reported on the northern end of the precipitation but its the freezing rain and sleet in Mississippi and Tennessee that have made headlines today. With temperatures hovering between 30 and 33 across the area and with dewpoint temperatures in the 20s, precipitation is falling as snow and mainly sleet.  Precipitation amounts should be very light and with roads still warm after this weekends record warmth any impacts should be minimal but there could be some issues on bridges.  All precipitation should move out quickly this evening and we should be left with just cloudy and cold conditions by 9 pm.  That likely won’t be the end to the wintry weather however.  Yet another upper-level disturbance will move in tomorrow and once again moisture could be pulled up and over the cold air we have in place at the surface.  Models are indicating that this event could be more significant however with around 0.25 of an inch of moisture.  Right now models indicate that this would fall as a very cold rain but I fully expect sleet at times and if temperatures remain below freezing longer than expected some freezing rain is possible too.  Models show that BG would reach a high of 39 but I don’t expect that to occur either.

NAM model simulated reflectivity for 6 pm Tuesday.  Temperatures at this time are expected to be in the low to mid 30s.

NAM model simulated reflectivity for 6 pm Tuesday. Temperatures at this time are expected to be in the low to mid 30s.

I think temperatures will struggle to reach 35 tomorrow with precipitation and clouds.  The models forecasted a high from 35-40 today and we only very briefly hit 34.  Thus I expect a mix of sleet, freezing rain, and a very cold rain tomorrow.  Depending on the temperature we may see some travel problems especially late in the day as the sun angle decreases.  Precipitation should move out late tomorrow evening and we return once again to just cloudy and cold conditions.  As for the rest of the week, there could be a few peaks of sun by Wednesday but several clouds will stick around as well.  By Thursday models greatly disagree on the movement of an upper-level disturbance moving through the southern US.  Most models agree that the system will pass off to our south and thus only bringing in a few clouds to our area while the NAM indicates that some rain or even a wintry mix could move in.  Until any of the other models bring the system further north, I’ll leave this out of the forecast but it does at least need monitoring.  I’ll give an update on this system during the midweek update.  One thing is certain in the long term and that is the COLD.  How cold and how long remain unknown but it seems likely that very cold air will move in by early next week which could mean lows into the teens and highs struggling to reach the freezing mark.

Daily Forecasts:

Tonight: 20% chance of a sleet/snow possible before 8 pm otherwise cloudy and cold with a low near 27.  North winds from 5-10 mph.

Tuesday: 70% chance of a wintry mix of sleet and freezing rain, and rain mainly after noon.  Some minor sleet and ice accumulations are possible.  Cold with a high near 35.  Rainfall around 0.25 in.  North to northeast winds from 5-10 mph.

Tuesday Night: 40% chance of a wintry mix before midnight, otherwise cloudy with a low near 28.  North winds 3-8 mph.

Wednesday: Mostly to partly cloudy with mainly high clouds.  Still cool with a high near 44. West to northwest winds 5-10 mph.

Thursday: Partly cloudy with a morning low near 30 and a high near 47.

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