Winter Storm Conditions Begin in South-Central Kentucky

Winter Storm WARNING is in effect NOW; seeing transition to freezing rain already.

Posted by Landon Hampton on Friday, 12 January 2018

Nowcasting the Winter Storm

Posted by Landon Hampton on Friday, 12 January 2018

Winter Storm Warning in effect through 3:00 AM Saturday

The changeover from liquid to frozen precipitation has taken place in the Bowling Green area this morning thanks to temperatures tumbling behind a stout cold front poised to bring us winter storm conditions throughout the day today.

Winter Storm Warning

A Winter Storm Warning continues for our entire area through 3:00 AM on Saturday Morning. This is for the likelihood of snow, sleet and freezing rain will adversely affect travel conditions through the day today and into early tomorrow.

Something like this. (Giphy)

The Timeline

Phase one of this system has already begun as a shield of precipitation is overtaking the area along and behind a cold front that is already dropping our temperatures dramatically this morning.

Bowling Green Mesonet site temperature graph for the last 24 hours. (Kentucky Mesonet)

This winter storm is beginning with a period of freezing rain. As the precipitation starts, cold air will rush in at the surface, allowing the rain to freeze on contact. This has already been the case out to our west in Murray, KY this morning, which has been seeing precipitation longer than we have. They’ve already built up a tenth of an inch of ice.

As temperatures continue to tumble, we’ll see more of these reports come in for our area through the morning hours. Once we get into late morning around midday, freezing rain will give way to sleet as temperatures throughout the atmosphere begin to fall as well. You might hear it bounce off of your windows or roof as it comes down. We finally transition to all snow this afternoon as temperatures tumble well below freezing. Snow will continue through the evening hours before finally tapering off overnight.

NWS Louisville’s timeline for this ongoing winter storm.

As more freezing rain, sleet and snow fall, conditions on area roads will become more and more hazardous. Many schools throughout the region have closed today for this very reason

By this afternoon, it’s probably best not to be on the roads unless you absolutely have to. The evening commute will likely be treacherous as the roads will be glazed and snow-covered.

The Totals

The question on everyone’s mind is “how much are we going to see?” The answer has been shifting the last few days. We’ve seen the models spit out more ice and less snow, more snow and less ice, lots of sleet mixing in with snow plus some ice, they’ve been all over the place.

Watching the models these last few days. (Giphy)

Luckily, we’re beginning to hone in on the forecast. The cold air has filtered in a bit faster than the models predicted, this could cut down a bit on ice totals and slightly increase snow totals because how quickly the air above us is cooling off. At this point, it looks like we’ll see snow totals somewhere between 3-4 inches when all is said and done, with locally higher amounts possible, especially north.

NWS Louisville snow forecast.

One thing we’ll be watching when the snow gets here is where the “deformation band” sets up. Wherever that sets up will see higher snowfall totals, models have been taking that mostly to our north and west but have been shifting it eastward as the system has gotten closer.

As for ice accumulations, the earlier onset has lessened this risk somewhat, but we’ll still see anywhere from 0.1-0.2 inches of ice before the sleet and snow take over later in the day.

NWS Louisville ice accumulation forecast.

Stay tuned throughout the day as this storm continues to unfold, we’ll continue to adjust the forecast.

Beyond Today

Anything that falls over the next 18 hours isn’t likely to go anywhere anytime soon, as high temperatures Saturday and Sunday will hover in the mid-20s, even under mostly sunny skies. All of this as another chance of snow moves toward us for your Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Stay tuned.

When that last bit of info sinks in. (Giphy)

That just about does it for me! Thanks for checking into wxornotBG this morning, and be sure to follow @wxornotBG on Twitter for real-time weather updates, we’ll have updates throughout the day as this winter storm continues to unfold.