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Severe/Flood Threat for the start of 2022

Strong storms with plenty of rain
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Posted at 3:19 AM, Jan 01, 2022

We begin 2022 on a very active note with a low sliding into the Ohio River Valley through the day. The warm front of this low is connected to the previous cold front and has since stalled over the region. We sit on the moisture-laden side of the system; therefore, we are stuck with widespread rain through the entire day. Showers will be mostly light to moderate, but waves of heavy rain are expected. These cells of heavy rain are moving rather slow, and with hours of slow-moving heavy rain showers (especially with thunderstorms) things could get hazardous quickly.

We’ll first start off with the severe and tornadic threat this morning. Instability and wind shear seem to be adding a rotational element to these storms coming in from Western and Middle Tennessee. The unstable air extends all the way into our southern counties, and so we will have a tornado threat this morning. This will NOT be a widespread outbreak of tornadoes like we saw a few weeks back. Instead, some of the cells may produce spin-up tornadoes. A TORNADO WATCH has been issued for the Lakes Region and the southern counties through the southern I-75 corridor. In addition to the tornado threat this morning, we have a chance for damaging wind gusts and some hail. Use caution when outdoors and seek shelter if a warning goes into effect for your area.

On the other side of the coin is the flood threat for today. We’ve had a couple of dry days between the last rain system and the current system. That helped tremendously. However, we are eyeing about 3” to 4” of rainfall for Central and Eastern Kentucky through this entire event. Persistent light rain, mixed with the heavy rain showers periodically will continue to allow streams, creeks, and rivers to swell. Flood prone areas are likely to see high water with this event, and some could rise to hazardous levels for low-lying roads. Remember to NEVER drive through a flooded roadway. Your vehicle *may* make it across, but you also don’t know if there are underwater hazards or a washed-out road. These things could lead to you being stranded in your vehicle. The best thing to do is turn around and find another route or wait for the water to subside. The FLOOD WATCH continues through Saturday and will end Sunday morning. Watch for high water through this time.

Rain will continue into the evening with strong storms embedded. The widespread rain will filter out overnight, leaving clouds, light showers, and cold air. The cold air pouring in will cool us throughout Sunday. We may even get to see a little rain to snow transition as we cool down into the low 30s later in the day Sunday.

Above all, be safe today. Many are wanting to get out for the holiday, but it’s one of those days where if you don’t need to be out, don’t be. Save yourself the headache.