Second wave moving in

More ice than snow expected
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Posted at 12:35 PM, Feb 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-15 17:01:37-05

The second wave of winter weather is moving in for the southwestern part of the viewing area. The primary type of precipitation is freezing rain and will continue as such. Snow amounts seem to be waning as freezing rain and sleet shows a more northerly path. That being said, there will be areas between Lexington and Louisville, and Cincinnati that receive several inches of snowfall with this wave.

Ice becomes more of a concern and with that, Most of our forecast area will receive between 0.25” to 0.75” of ice. For reference, most areas that received ice with the last ice storm only picked up about 0.25.” If we make it up to ¾ of an inch, things will get very dangerous. Power outages and near-impossible travel become more commonplace at that point.

Keep in mind, we still have snow, sleet, and ice on the surface (including roads). Ice will collect on this and make for more of a problem. Despite snow amounts being less with later updates, travel is still NOT recommended tonight and tomorrow morning.


Looking ahead, the latest models are still showing North-Central Kentucky as the dividing line between heavy snow, sleet, and freezing rain. Counties along the Ohio River still have the best chance for high snow amounts anywhere from 4” to 8” of new snow. Bluegrass, northeast counties, and a line extending down to Bowling Green will be in the transition line. These areas will see all three types of precipitation with the emphasis on sleet/freezing rain. Snow amounts could still reach 1” to 4” with the final wave, but more sleet and even freezing rain is expected. Up to 0.75” of ice is possible in this line, or the one shaded in yellow below.

Ice will be a significant factor for those in the pink area. 0.25” to 0.75” of ice is possible for the Lakes, South-Central, and Eastern Kentucky counties with most of the precipitation falling as liquid on freezing surfaces. 0.50” to 0.75” of ice can lead to near-impossible road travel (especially areas with changing elevation) and significant power outages.

Light icing is possible for those in our extreme southeastern Kentucky counties. The spine of the Cumberland Mountains and surrounding areas will get around 0.10” of ice. While this is not significant, it can still lead to slippery and dangerous travel, especially in the mountain passes.


Wave number 2 will be the more significant of the two and will bring the biggest impact on roads. Timing will have it moving into the Lakes Region and the I-65 corridor around and after noon. By 3:00 p.m. most counties are under the second wave. Snow, sleet, and freezing rain could get heavy at times. Showers are expected to scatter by the evening hours. By the overnight and early morning hours of Tuesday we’re seeing the last of the heavy or moderate precipitation leave Kentucky, and only flurries or drizzle leftover.


Roads will not get better until after the last of the heavier showers leave. Crews will make the treated roads passable quickly, but you can bet that the evening commute tonight and the morning commute tomorrow will be difficult or near impossible. If you must travel on untreated roads, especially with changing elevation, you should not venture out until Tuesday morning at the earliest. Road conditions will improve through the day tomorrow, but some may stay ice and snow covered through the end of the week.

Power outages are also still possible with the second wave. Heavy ice amounts will likely bring down trees, limbs, and power lines through the afternoon and evening. Be prepared for power outages to continue through tomorrow, especially in areas in pink on the graphic up above.

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