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Ag Weather Update

Matt Dixon, Meteorologist

UK Ag Weather Center

Updated 3-31-23 at 1PM EDT

Dangerous Severe Weather Outbreak on the horizon (3/31)

A dangerous severe weather outbreak is in the cards today across much of the Mississippi Valley and east into the Ohio and Tennessee Valley's. The focus will be later this afternoon and evening across Western KY and moving east into the overnight. The map from the Storm Prediction Center below shows the risk of severe storms across the area. Western KY carries the highest threat, a level 4 out of 5, "moderate risk". A level of this magnitude is something that's not seen very often through the year and should be taken VERY seriously. This area is where we'll see the highest tornado and damaging wind risk in KY. Even the possibility of some large hail. Some strong to long-track tornadoes ARE on the table.

Something to point out...there are 2 areas of "high" risk on the map below. This is exceptionally rare to see. If you know folks in these areas, get on the phone with them now and make sure they're weather-aware. Some strong to violent tornadoes in these regions are probable.

As a side note, don't let your guard down farther east, as most of Central KY and into Eastern KY remains in a level 3, "enhanced risk", or level 2, "slight risk". These areas will likely see this event occur after the sun goes down. Again, tornadoes and damaging winds will both be a possibility.

Timing-wise, the worst of the event will likely fire late afternoon and into the evening hours across Western KY and then press east. The current model runs are hinting at an arrival of 3-4 PM in Western KY, but the storm threat will remain through the evening hours. In the end, some folks could see multiple rounds of storms, so don't let your guard down until any potential watches have expired. Storm motions are very fast with this system, so if a warning is issued, take shelter immediately. Please refer to the links below to each National Weather Service office in KY for additional information.

Western KY - NWS Paducah

Central KY - NWS Louisville

Eastern KY - NWS Jackson

Identify those ways you will receive warning, whether that be a NOAA Weather Radio, TV, radio, cell phone apps, etc. In addition, know where you will take shelter. That will be the lowest level and inner-most room of any residence. See the image below for sheltering guidelines. You're trying to put the most walls between you and the outdoor environment. If warnings are issued, take shelter IMMEDIATELY.

Following the severe weather, strong winds are expected Friday night and into Saturday with 40 to 50 mph+ gusts on the table. Some power outages will again be possible, but don't expect anything like we saw in early March.

I'm just focusing on the severe weather today. Be on the lookout for a planting update early next week. Stay safe, folks!

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