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Ag Weather Update

Matt Dixon, Meteorologist

UK Ag Weather Center

Updated 1-30-23 at 5PM EST

Impactful winter weather on the table tonight/tomorrow

Outside of the Arctic air event in December, the winter season has been relatively subdued. In fact, January hasn't really felt like winter at all. We've seen numerous days with highs in the 50s and 60s. Some even hitting the 70s early in the month. Put it altogether and the preliminary data from the Ag Weather Center shows the average state temperature for the month at a balmy 44 degrees (through January 29th). Folks....this is "warmest January on record" territory! Below is a look at the current top-10 list, courtesy of the Midwestern Regional Climate Center. Look for the official data to come out in a week or so.

Saying all that, we do live in Kentucky and we know conditions can turn on a dime! Unfortunately, we have one of those "turns" on the horizon with a winter storm set to pass through the area tonight and into tomorrow. A good portion of Kentucky is currently under a "Winter Weather Advisory" (map below from NWS Louisville), starting this evening and lasting through early tomorrow afternoon.

This will be one of those "mixed bag" events with multiple forms of precipitation. Freezing rain, sleet, and snow will all be on the table. The key with this event is how cool it will get at the surface and the depth of a warm layer aloft. I included an image from the National Weather Service below that gives an idea of how each can impact precipitation type. The problem is...a degree or two here and there can lead to a large swing at what you actually see at the surface and extent of the impacts.

As it sits now, impacts are a good bet, but the questions really sits impactful? This won't be a major ice or snow storm. The best prospects for a major ice storm lies to our southwest in Western Tennessee. A tenth or two of ice accumulations are on the table across the Purchase and Pennyrile regions of Western KY and extending east into South Central KY. Below is a look at the probabilities that a location hits or exceeds that 0.10 inch threshold of freezing rain.

Bottom line, you can have impactful driving conditions with less than a tenth of inch. If you go out in the morning, take it SLOW! Moving north of the Parkways, the better bet is for a mix of sleet and snow. Generally speaking, most look to stay under an inch, but there are some hints of a narrow band of higher accumulations (1-2 inches) across the Bluegrass in the latest model runs.

Below is a link to each NWS office's briefing slides on the event. Again, this is NOT a major winter storm. We are not expecting any major power outages (maybe some isolated events), but travel impacts will be on the table. Take it especially slow on bridges and overpasses, which typically are the first to become slick!

Central KY - NWS Louisville

Western KY - NWS Paducah

Eastern KY - NWS Jackson

All of this activity will be moving out of the area by tomorrow afternoon. Unfortunately, this is the first storm of a few active days ahead. Two more weak disturbances will follow, each at least showing the potential for additional rounds of mixed precipitation, but nothing major. There's even the possibility we dodge them. Saying that, let's focus on this one first! Be safe, everyone!

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