forecast insights and a walk down winter’s memory lane


1. Skies should clear out today as a strong low pressure system which brought hvy rain, strong winds and isolated severe storms in the dry slot moves away, highs should be  able to rebound into the upper 40’s and low 50’s.

2. Tonight lows fall into the upper 30’s with thickness values above the 540 threshold and 850 mb temps above freezing only light rain showers are expected with the next disturbance late Wednesday night and Thursday morning. With clouds Thursday highs will likely stay in the 40’s with some wind as well.

3. A warm period will follow from Friday through early next week as a massive trough slams the west coast and arctic air spreads across the northern plains. A frontal boundary with air more typical of January should move through before thanksgiving. This sets the stage for something interesting as i called the other day ” the secondary low theory”. we get one storm Tue-Wed of next week that tracks across the plains which means rain/thunder and 60’s. This is followed by the rush of cold which would make January proud.  Then another low forms over deep south and moves northeast. How much cold can come south? Where will this low track? I’m starting to think a thanksgiving winter system may be in the works for the Ohio and/or Tennessee valleys late next week. The 00z CMC from last night and today’s 00z gfs are similar which would imply a winter system for the upper Ohio valley for late next week.  The 12z gfs had 5 inches of snow in Memphis. The ECMWF is more suppressed but still has a secondary system with a close call.  Again this still in the theory stage 7-10 days out and these models have problems one day let alone 7-10 days out. overall for now I would think An upper Ohio valley event then snow showers for us on the backside for now with a cold Kentucky rain.

4. This leads into what should be the fun period of winter through the middle of December. A tanking AO and NAO means cold and stormy, hopefully snowy.

5. Now a walk down memory lane  thanks to the nws, make sure to read their winter weather awareness program for the upcoming winter.

Of course I moved to Kentucky only a few months after the 98 storm so I’ll rank the most memorable winter systems, my personal views.

So I’ll start with the Dec 2002 winter storm. Snow with ice for the south moved across the state on the 4th. In high school at the time we watched as snow fell during the day by noontime schools were released early as a few inches already fell. This was a decent snowfall in Versailles with at least 4 inches and that week was a nice break from school. Overall a moderate snow event occurred in the I-64 regions with ice over southern KY. However this was a very typical winter storm and usually occurs on the frequency of once every few years for the region.

The Feb 2003 Ice storm is number 1 on my personal scale. Rain fell across most of the region changing to freezing rain with ice accumulations from 1-2 inches in a local area in the Lexington metro. Power was out for several days with numerous trees, power lines and the region in turmoil, shelters open etc.. Really my first experience of mother nature’s power. Only minutes away from going to a hotel before the power came on.

Christmas 2004 storm. The main issue with this system was the freezing line moving east. Moving through western Kentucky rapidly then stopping west of the bluegrass. Heavy snow fell for the 1-65 regions with rain in the east. No snow for me with 20 inches on the ground 2 hours away.  This storm was hyped and hyped some more as a major winter defining storm with the region on the fine line between rain and snow as usual and getting rain.

In April 2007 after record warmth a massive freeze came and the plants died. Snow accumulated on Keeneland’s opening day as I sat back and enjoyed a very late season snowfall.

We can’t forget Jan 2009. The widespread nature of ice over 1/2 inch thick spanning hundreds of miles from LEX to CIN was a site to be seen. In terms of a widespread natural disaster this was it. Bluegrass airport closed as once again over 50% of people were without power but over a much wider area. Numerous trucks and cars were stranded along I-75. This was one of the rare times UK was closed.

My personal rank

1. FEB 2003

2. JAN 2009

3. APR 2007

4. DEC 2004

5. DEC 2002

However in terms of the entire region

1. JAN 2009

2. DEC 2004

3. Feb 2003

4. APR 2007

5. DEC 2002

thanks to the nws for letting us go down memory lane.


3 Responses to “forecast insights and a walk down winter’s memory lane”

  1. mitchg Says:

    A quick glance at the new cmc run holds true with the secondary low theory this time with a new orelans to outer banks track for the thanksgiving storm giving us a white turkey day. However once again this is another run that should be taken with a high degree of skeptic views.

  2. Seth Says:

    Given the frequent southeast and cold biases of the gfs is the long term, we will probably be seeing a lakes cutter with the Thanksgiving system with severe weather and thunderstorms in Kentucky. 😉
    Just my hunch.

  3. mitchg Says:

    yeah we just saw that this week. a correction followed by another correction to the northwest.

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