Wintry Mess On The Way

Good evening, south central Kentuckians. It’s been, well, let’s be honest…a kind of terrible day in the weather world.

We had a wintry mess of rain, sleet, and snow early this morning, followed by blahhhh conditions this afternoon, complete with temperatures in the 30s, thick clouds, drizzle, and a swift, north wind.

This cold weather pattern won’t be going anywhere, anytime soon. Thanks to variations in our atmosphere’s behavior over the next few days, it may lead to a wintry mess on the way. Let’s dive in…

via giphy

Cold Air Settling In

As of this evening, an area of high pressure (air flows clockwise around areas of high pressure) is set up over the Plains, churning in winds out of the northwest.

This is causing temperatures to fall. We’re in the low 30s as of 6:45pm. By sunrise Wednesday, we’ll be in the mid/upper 20s. Here’s a better view of what’s exactly unfolding:

This, in part, was responsible for our brief changeover to a wintry mix earlier this morning.

The cold air is settling in, won’t be moving too much, which will aide in bringing another round of frozen precipitation to our coverage area.

What and When

Our Wednesday will start off partly cloudy early, with temperatures hovering between the mid and upper 20s. As HuMp DaY wears on, clouds will thicken, thanks to an upper level low evolving near the Texas/Arkansas border.

Hit & miss rain showers will arrive between mid/late afternoon, as thermometers hold steady in the upper 30s/low 40s.

The upper low will lift more abundant moisture out of the gulf, streaming it into our vicinity, as temperatures fall to around freezing at some point late Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

As this occurs, the low will then shift northeast, following the path of preceding precipitation.

Here’s how this system may evolve over the next 48 hours, courtesy of the GFS model.

Note the evolution of the system over the Deep South near the Gulf, and the northeast path it takes following initial development:


At this point, a transition to freezing rain/sleet is anticipated during the night, with colder air more conducive for snow development remaining lodged to our north and west.

That doesn’t mean we won’t see snowflakes, we just expect to see more of the ice variety falling from the sky.


For a closer look at how this system may unfold, here’s an illustration from the latest NAM 3km model, valid from this evening through Thursday night.

Again, maybe a few snowflakes mixing in, but right now, it appears a cocktail of freezing rain and sleet is what we’ll be dealing with for this particular scenario:


Here’s a simpler breakdown of what we’re anticipating:

via NWS Louisville

Amounts and Impacts

Given the current analysis and guidance, we’re not anticipating any significant snow accumulation with this event.

Temperature profiles within our atmosphere favor a freezing rain, sleet mixture at this point, with snow mixing in here and there.

This is obviously not ideal, however, if there’s any good news, temperatures should quickly scamper back above freezing shortly after sunrise on Thursday.

*we’ll be keeping close eyes on Thursday evening as well, just in case any moisture is left over, which may bring another brief stint of wintry weather*

Our interpretation of the given data would result in minor ice/slushy accumulations, mainly taking place on elevated surfaces.

As of this writing, we’ve been given a 20-40% probability (depending on your location in our coverage area) of seeing at least .01″ of ice accumulation.

This isn’t much, but could cause problems regarding travel, nonetheless. Here’s a look at the latest indication probabilities of seeing at least .01″ of ice:

via WPC

It appears we will have a window of concern, taking place Wednesday evening through sunrise Thursday, with a focus on the Thursday morning commute.

With temperatures expected to be right on the line of freezing at 32˚, this will need to be closely monitored over the upcoming hours. The National Weather Service made mention of a possible winter weather headline being issued (i.e. a winter weather advisory, etc.) in the near future, and we’ll update accordingly if this occurs.

Given the conditions, any nudge north or south of this complex event will result in major changes to the forecast. Stay aware of these impending changes, and regardless, don’t forget your milk & bread. It is tradition, after all.

High pressure will build in behind this weather producer, opening up the door to warmer temperatures and sunshine Friday into the weekend. For a nice summary, here’s a look at the next few days, courtesy of the National Weather Service:

via NWS Louisville

That’ll do it for this evening. OH WAIT, I ALMOST FORGOT! Speaking of Winter Weather, we released our 2018-2019 Winter Outlook, y’all!

Have a great one, and keep up with the latest on our real-time weather feed @wxornotBG. Stay safe.