I was in Bowling Green 24 hours ago today. I was also stressing about forecast verification, whether I’d get back in time, the snowfall rates, etc. I was there. I had a doctors appointment to make in Lexington by 4:40. I was gonna pack up all of my stuff for spring break in preparation for being stuck there, but I didn’t imagine this.
I did not imagine that we could have 1-3″ of rainfall across the state, and then quickly changeover and accumulate snowfall. I did not imagine that. Just think about that. Before it snowed yesterday, it rained. Not lightly, but hard. It rained really hard yesterday, and we had several instances of flooding across the state.
Farm flats in Butler County almost entirely under water. pic.twitter.com/gW1BHFFIIE
— Landon Hampton (@WxOrNotBG) March 4, 2015
I did not imagine that when I went to sleep at 2 am with 9″ of snow, I would wake up with 18-20″ of snowfall. I still can’t believe it. The SREF was alarmingly consistent when talking about the chances of historic snowfall, but I mean this couldn’t happen. The state hasn’t seen something like this since 1994.
In the initial stages of forecasting this system Sunday and Monday showed significant precip type issues across the majority of the state with this one. Some would see a lot of sleet, while others were drilled with snowfall. However, the consistent thing was that the Parkways, and a tier of counties north and south of them, were going to see the brunt of this system.
For Bowling Green, I feel like my thoughts on the region held up fairly nicely: I thought BG would see 6-10″ of snow, and 1/2″ to 1″ of sleet, and that seems to have been a good forecast. Further north, I thought the parkways would see 10-15″, but I mean even my wildest imagination didn’t dream this up.
I mean, the transition happened exactly the way we thought. We went from rain to sleet in a relatively short amount of time. Except, the sleet was huge. It was the largest sleet I have ever seen.
What was cool was that the transition from sleet to snow was gradual enough to where it was easily to see the snow/sleet ratio gradually increase from like 25/75 to 33/67 to 50/50 to 75/25, etc. The snowflakes were initially sleet based and fell pretty inefficiently. But when the snow switched over, it poured. And I mean it poured. Check it out at multiple times…
We had flakes that were the size of half dollars often times. It would eventually lighten up, but the parkways were stuck in a very narrow and consistent snow band that just kept dumping on them. The band had strong, localized mesoscale bands within the larger band, and this helped intensify snowfall rates across the region. Between 10 and 11 pm here, we saw 2″ of snowfall, and out total went from 4 to 6″.
@NWSLouisville up to 6″ now. 2″ since 10.
— Pierce Larkin (@pierce_larkin) March 5, 2015
The snowfall just kept coming and coming and coming. It fell at varying intensities, but was generally moderate in intensity, and led to quick accumulations. I went to bed at 2 am this morning, and expected to have between 10 and 12″ of snow, and we ended up with 18″. I can’t even fathom 18″ of snow, and yet I have looked at it this morning.
I cannot stress just how historic the past 3 weeks have been in terms of Kentucky snowfall. And if you wanna get technical, its been even crazier since January 16th. Since I wrote the “Anatomy Of A Kentucky Winter Storm” piece, we have seen 4 winter weather events that have been either unusual, historic or both.
The fact that the state has seen 2 events of record-breaking magnitude has left me speechless. The 3 H’s argument has been debunked by the past three weeks. The “we need a big one” has been reached, not only once, but twice within three weeks. We have seen 2 winter’s worth of snowfall in 3 weeks. I wish that I could express to you all just how incredible this is.
There is a very good chance that many of us will not see something like this again. We may, and I sure hope that this state sees something like this again. However, it hasn’t happened like this since ’94. As much as I know all of you hate the cold and snow, please just realize just how special this is. Experience it, take it in while you have it. Odds are, we won’t see this again for 20+ years.