What has been interesting to watch today is how nature can cause so much havoc with so little stuff actually falling. As of 2:00 there as been nothing ‘officially’ measured in terms of liquid equivalent at the Blue Grass Airport or even most of the Kentucky Mesonet stations…it was coming in at a big fat 0. A ‘Trace’ is not considered measureable. But for many folks driving this morning, and even this afternoon, there have been trouble spots…nature creates something from nothing.
The first of the trouble spots this morning came as a result of freezing drizzle and very light snow mixing together and creating havoc on roads (even I-75) and bridges. The freezing drizzle results when the moisture is not high enough or cloud temperatures are not cold enought to generate ice crystals. So a drizzle falls and as it hits, it freezes creating the thin sheet of ice. As our our Michael Berk described it, “It was a 5 mile skating ring from Dry Ridge to Williamstown in Grant County.” Issues developed around other parts of the area as well, with bridges again being the primary concern.
When we look at the radar this afternoon, there is an extensive area of very light snow and snow showers. There are subtle features aloft helping this to overachieve, but it’s definitely not a huge or powerful system by any stretch.
We may also be seeing just a hint of enhancement with the increase in elevation from the Ohio River southeastward…again, there’s not much going on that will overwhelm you. However, the Winter Weather Advisory for a good chunk of the area has been expanded into tonight as we could see about an inch of snow in places. The evening commute may end up being slower than a lot of folks would like…but patience is the key.
The other aspect really is the remarkable cold. This is doing mid January proud with highs today in the 20’s. Highs are near freezing all the way down to north Georgia. Unlike Thanksgiving’s Arctic shot which targeted the Northeast, this one came right down the through the Heartland.
In mid January when our ‘normal’ high is in the low 40’s, highs in the 20’s are pretty doggone cold. When you do it in November when our normal highs are in the 50’s, now it’s remarkably cold. We’ve talked about before how we essentially skipped fall (aside from about a day and a half) when we went from mid summer 80’s in early October to what is now mid winter. We never saw a string of nice sunny warm days typical of our autumn season. We jumped straight into late fall and now winter.
After a brief shot of Pacific air toward the weekend, the pieces are falling into place for another Arctic shot next week. In the interim, the annual rainfall record should fall this weekend…and then have a month’s worth of time to pile on the stats.
If you’re looking for any comfort from this early winter barage…it is better to be 25 degrees below normal in November than in January..and the atmosphere can only hold these extremes for so long. It’s difficult to maintain this for an entire winter season, so maybe…just maybe…there might be milder days ahead toward ‘real’ winter.
Until then…stay warm, and drive carefully.