Sleet & ICE Likely for Friday Morning Rush

Winter has been in full force here is south-central Kentucky this week.  We had the coldest air of the season makes its way into the area for Monday night and Tuesday.  We reached a low of 16 at the Bowling Green airport Tuesday morning and only climbed to a high of 28.  Thanks to southwesterly winds today along with sunny skies we managed to reach a high of 46 yesterday but don’t expect that to last.  Another re-enforcing shot of cold air is currently making it’s way into the Ohio Valley from south-central Canada.  So what does that mean regarding our temperatures… more cold!  It looks like for the 2nd time this week we won’t make it above the freezing.  Highs should be from 28-31 across the region today.  It’s this late tonight when the weather gets interesting.  With the cold air that will be in place as well as a mid-level disturbance that will be moving through the area wintry weather will likely be impacting our area.  Models agree that temperatures will be cold enough to support an all winter weather event but it looks like that winter weather will be in the form of sleet and freezing rain.  Why sleet and freezing rain and not snow you may ask?? This is because further up in the atmosphere the temperature will be above freezing thus allowing what was a snowflake to melt.  Then when it re-enters the cold air which we will have here at ground level the  raindrop freezes; it would be sleet if the snowflake doesn’t fully melt in the

The HPC's model guidance for ice accumulation suggests up to a 60% of <0.01 ice accumulation both before (left) and after (right) 6 am.

The HPC’s model guidance for ice accumulation suggests up to a 60% of >0.01 of ice for both before 6 am Fri (left) and after 6 am (right).  Notice the best chance for accumulating freezing rain is along the KY/TN border.

atmosphere.  The biggest question with this event will the the amount of precipitation that falls.  Overall models agree that this event should be light in that total precipitation should remain below a quarter of an inch… the problem is that even just a tenth of an inch of ice could cause considerable impacts especially during the morning rush after a very cold week. In the end I think this will be more like a winter weather nuisance more so than anything else but once again due to the timing as well as the fact that surfaces including roads/bridges are cold due to this weeks cold temperatures the system could cause impacts.  On the bright side of things it appears as though we could see a nice warm up next week.

Hi-resolution NAM shows precipitation in the form of  freezing rain and sleet Friday morning.

Hi-resolution NAM shows precipitation in the form of freezing rain and sleet Friday morning.

Winter Nuisance Outline:

-Freezing drizzle should begin sometime after midnight tonight.
-Freezing rain and sleet should be heaviest between 5 am – 9 am.
-Temperatures will range from 29-32 during this time frame.
-Precipitation totals should generally be between 0.05-0.10; this could be primarily ice (freezing rain) but sleet could often mix in which would bring ice totals down.  Precipitation totals will increase as you go south (ie. the closer you are the TN border, more precipitation should fall).
-The amount of precipitation is still not certain! Some data suggests only about a tenth of an inch while some data suggest at least a quarter… that’s a big difference when talking ice! Thus stay tuned to an evolving situation.
-Even the lightest precipitation WILL STICK due to the very cold temperatures we have had this week including over 24 hours at or below freezing preceding this winter weather event.
-Roads, especially bridges/overpasses will likely become slick during rush hour Friday morning.
-Temperatures will warm above freezing between 10 and 12 am which should allow any wintry accumulation to melt.

Daily Forecasts:

Today: COLD!! Mostly sunny with a high near 31. Northeast winds from 5-10 mph.

Thursday Night: Cloudy with a 70% chance of freezing drizzle/rain and sleet after midnight (primarily after 3 am). 3-8 mph winds switching from the east to the southeast.

Friday: 80% chance of freezing rain & sleet before noon; some drizzle may linger through midday.  Total ice accumulation between 0.05-0.15 in.  High near 36.  6-12 mph winds switching from the southeast to the west.

Friday Night: Mostly clear and cold with a low near 22. WNW winds from 3-8 mph.

Saturday: Partly cloudy, increasing clouds especially late in the day.  High near 33.

Sunday: Mostly cloudy with a high near 42.

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