Winter Storm THREAT Christmas Night & Wednesday

Good Saturday everyone. Old Man Winter is coming on strong over the next week as we have several snow systems coming our way. I’m tracking three storms that will impact our weather during this time. The one getting the majority of my attention comes Christmas Night and Wednesday. My confidence has increased enough to shift the blog into WINTER STORM THREAT mode.

More on that storm here in a bit. We have a system moving in for Christmas Eve that we need to talk about.

Clouds and a light shower or two will increase on Sunday. The air across northern Kentucky may be just cold enough for a bit of a mix. A weak area of low pressure rolls eastward on Christmas Eve. This will tug down colder air behind it and the light rain during the day may end as a period of light snow and flurries in time for Santa. You can see that well on the GFS…


Temps by Christmas morning will be in the mid and upper 20s with highs in the 30s. That brings us to the Winter Storm THREAT Christmas Night and Wednesday. A storm will develop across the western gulf region and head northeast. We are likely to see a lead low head into the Tennessee Valley before transferring energy to the primary low across the Carolinas. That storm will then lift to the northeast along the coast.

The above scenario is actually shown nicely by the GFS…


That doesn’t mean every aspect of that model run is exactly correct, but I do think it has the right overall idea. If we strictly take that run as the gospel (and I’m not at all), this is what it shows for snowfall…

GFS Snowfall

It also features a period of freezing rain…


Again… the placement of the axis of snow and ice will change with each run and you should NOT take those maps to heart. I’m showing them to illustrate the possibilities. The GFS Ensemble mean doesn’t bring the lead low as far north and shows a colder scenario for the entire state…


The new European Model is similar to the GFS, but appears to be a bit farther east with the heavy snow axis…


While I feel confident this winter storm will have a big impact on the weather here in Kentucky, I cannot tell you the impact it will have where you live. That will have to be ironed out as we get closer to the event.

By the way… I already have my eye on the next possible threat coming by next Friday or Saturday.

I will have updates later today. Have a great Saturday and take care.

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86 Responses to Winter Storm THREAT Christmas Night & Wednesday

  1. Which Way Is the Wind Blowing says:

    Let the frustration game begin. This is going to be exciting can these models finally pull out a victory.

    • Andy Rose says:

      and for who

    • Todd says:

      This will be a wild ride hopefully, those first maps looked like the winter storm from 2004, western ky and Indiana got most of that one, Frankfort had about 2 inches of sleet and Ice! we need that low to track through Tennessee?

      • Andy Rose says:

        if you want a repeat personally i would like it go more east so more of KY will ge in on the action

      • Neil says:

        I thought 2004 when I saw that, too, except where I live in Wilmore, we got the famous 33 degree rain, followed by light icing, and less than an inch of snow. VERY frustrating to say the least for a snow lover like me, to see places so nearby getting hammered with snow (up to 30″ in S. Indiana). I REALLY don’t want a repeat of that! I would LOVE to be in the sweet spot like the good ol’ days!

  2. Lincoln says:

    This will be frustrating for sure, at the end of the day I think I will get 1 inch and be ticked off as someone else gets a foot.

    • Which Way Is the Wind Blowing says:

      Yeal,unfortunately Ky is always on the edge and that probably means someone is going to get burned. Dire Sraits song “So Close But So Far Away From Me”.

  3. Go Cards says:

    What would happen to the UL UK game if we do get all this snow in Louisville? It is next Saturday. Chris mentioned a storm for that day. This city can’t handle two inches of snow let alone two storms within a couple days.

    • Which Way Is the Wind Blowing says:

      Will UK be able to make it to Louisville. Who cares about that game I want to see the underdog snow defeat rain.

  4. Drew says:

    If there are many louisville people on here 00z euro has 1.07 qpf of frozen precip. Good run once again for a lot of ky.

    • Go Cards says:

      Here are your odds for the Kentucky Winter Storm Derby. Bubba Buster 99-1,Rolo typing replies correctly 90-1,Sleet 25-1,Virga stole your snow 12-1,Stupid storm went that way (pick a direction) 5-1,freezing rain 7-2,and the morning line favorite at 1-9 the unbeatable rain.

      • feederband says:

        I’m waiting a little longer to place my bets. Right now I like Stupid Storm, Unbeatable Rain and Freezing but that will change as more info comes in. I would like to see an entry with 78′ or 96’er.

      • BubbaG says:

        For now, seems darn accurate odds to me.

  5. weather blog troll says:

    Cool! This is fun stuff. think SNOW!!!

    Thanks Chris.

  6. james says:

    Someplace is going to get a thumping of snow. Just where is the big question.

  7. Danny says:

    NWS out of Paducah just basically layed it out there in there discussion this morning. Alot of things would have to come together just right but the potential is there for blizzard conditions with snow drifts similar to the snowstorm of 2004. My opinion is this until this storm hits the US grids anything is possible from a foot of snow to absolutely nothing. If the model’s by Sunday evening / Monday time frame are still showing what they have been I will feel alot better. This storm still has alot of bust potential written all over it. I just don’t know if the model’s are showing eye candy or are they on to something or on something, one of the three. The track is the main concern since we are in a progressive flow it just makes sense to me that this low will track way south of us and go into the Carolina’s. This is what usually happens but for some reason the model’s want to take this low right up the Apps so that cannot be ignored either.

    • Joey Wilson says:

      I was nearly shocked to see the Paducah NWS discussion this morning. They’re normally very conservative. Wonderful to see that!

      • Danny says:

        It was a definet surprised to see NWS out of Paducah take so much emphasis on this storm this early in the game. NWS in Louisville is right on board. I’m personally am not as of yet until this storm hits the US grids. Let the model’s sample the storm once the storm does hit the US grids then we all will have a much better understanding on storm track etc etc.

  8. Reeneyinky says:

    Oh…Let it snow! I’ve been praying for snow for two years! Why are we in such a snow “drought”?? Since it’s winter, we need cold and snow! Have a great day in the Lord! Merry CHRISTmas!

  9. Bernard P. Fife says:

    Good news for some…got a sinking feeling in my gut that the Lake Cumberland Area’s gonna get left out of this one, unless we’re talking rain of course!

  10. Andrew says:

    Humm..not often, at least that I can recall, that CB goes into Threat mode 4 days out.

  11. rolo says:

    like ROLO told u yesterday the ole left turn CLYDE, by time storm hits the SNOW AXIS will be on that OHIO RIVER LINE!!

    actually suprised BAILEY pulled trigger on threat mode, as the WKYT veiewing area doesnt look that great at all as far as a WS goes snow wise, but hey the 2 inches yesterday was SEVERE WEATHER ALERT DAY so.

    • BubbaG says:

      Rolo, how can you not be excited about this one, but predicted four inches for Christmas Eve with as system having no chance a few days ago?

      Sure, the chance of an all Kentucky big snow are low, but better relatively better than the outlooks you were excited about.

      Come on Rolo, get er’ duunnnnn! πŸ™‚ πŸ˜‰

  12. rolo says:

    not EXCITED one bit bout the storm XMAS nite and Wed, as FRANK DREBIT said,


    • Andy Rose says:

      thats good because everytime you get excited we miss out πŸ˜‰

      • Lincoln says:

        Andy,you make a valid point.:P

      • BubbaG says:

        True, but also (for now, based on current outlooks) equally true that the further east s/e from the Louisville you get, the less a big snow seems likely. The evil “D” has not held true for 14 years for nothing.

        It lets clippers through every now and then to give people hope, and then for big snow southern fed events- ICE is the bitter result.

        Ok, too dramatic.

  13. Ready4Snow says:

    Western ky looking good…If anyone needs a snow its that part of the state..Hope they get buried..

    • Joey Wilson says:

      YES, we “need” a big snow in western KY. Comparisons to the Xmas 2004 storm make me smile very wide. I had 22″ in my backyard with winds nearly to blizzard levels. It took me two hours to shovel my driveway the next morning with drifts up to my waist. I’m in Owensboro.

  14. Tom N Lincoln says:

    I can see the storm going 2 ways, it could go to our west, that would give western Ky a good snow, or it could go up the east coast, which would probably give perhaps eastern Ky a little bit of snow. I think for us in central Ky we’re gonna get left out again. Same ol song and dance. I hope I’m wrong.

  15. Earl says:

    Canadian GEM and many other models showing heavy snow axis across lake Cumberland into eastern ky area

    • Ready4Snow says:

      I think one of the bias for the GEM is it has systems too far SE…I’ve only looked at the ukmet a couple of times but i think it was in agreement with the GEM…For us folks in E KY you should be hugging the GEM..LOL…..Honestly though hard to go against the GFS and EURO at this time..But you never know..

  16. Muddy says:

    I would love to see some snow love for McCreary !!!

  17. Mike says:

    Oh but wait until the Mexican weather balloons get hold to this one… I will believe it when I see it… The trend is your friend… My magic numbers are 8, 6 and 24 (8 years in KY, never more than 6 inches at one time and 24 total)…

    I respect everyone’s work but winter forecasting seems to more of winter forguessing. Now – the other three seasons, the mets really seem to get it done. They can absolutely nail the spring storms it seems.

    We’ll see…

    • MikeM says:

      They nail the winter storms as well as far as moisture. Its the type of moisture (snow or rain) they never get right. They could be right 99% of the time if they just forecast rain 100% of the time.

    • Which Way Is the Wind Blowing says:

      Predicting snow amounts this far out is almost impossible. Look at Chris snowfall totals graph an imagine only a fifty to seventy mile directional swing with the low.

  18. BubbaG says:

    Folks, this seems more of a Louisville region centric event, so anybody to the south east and on the fence is going to probably get more ice. Of course, central Kentucky appears to be in the “sweet” spot for the ice.

    We need an eastern shift of the system to avoid mix, ice and then a topping of snow for central Kentucky. Depending on the feed of moisture and how long warm air stays aloft on the fence, it could be like a few years ago.

    • MikeM says:

      When was the last time the fence was moved west of central KY?

    • Danny says:

      Yeah I fully agree Louisville and southern Indiana stands a real good shot of a real decent snow right along the Ohio River of course subject to change and I’m sure it will. Whoever gets the snow or sweet spot is going to get a substantial snowfall.

      • BubbaG says:

        I hope CB points this out when he can since folks to the south east of the track will probably be mainly mix and ice, followed by the usual snow scraps.

        The fence for this event IF it pans out will probably not be a good place to be in. Folks in the fence zone will want moisture to NOT be anywhere near heavy.

  19. Robbie says:

    As someone who lives in Louisville, I’m pulling for the Euro, but I’m prepared to be bitterly disappointed. History has been so unkind to the entire state with predictions like this.

    Having said that, DT discounts the GEM because he doesn’t think this will be a Miller A storm that rides the Gulf and then swings up the coast. He sees it as one low transferring to another off the coast.

    One thing to consider though. If this storm hits as the Euro and GFS predict and the CFS and Euro weeklies are correct for January, we could have snow on the ground for quite some time.

  20. Earl says:

    I’d much rather be on the fence than in a sweet spot 4 days out with the o famous gfs

  21. JJTeach says:

    Somebody please post what the 12z model trends show when they come out this afternoon! Anxiously waiting to hear about the trends πŸ˜‰

  22. Lincoln says:

    I can’t wait to see how the NAM handles this storm

    • BubbaG says:

      Perhaps in the future for winter storm threat post titles CB subtitles, “For areas not in central Kentucky”. πŸ˜‰ …… πŸ™

    • Which Way Is the Wind Blowing says:

      I guess that means Sunday nite at the earliest. This is kind of like being a child again, instead of anticipating Santa we are waiting anxiously at our computers beds for weather models.

  23. Ready4Snow says:

    Looks like it went a tad north west on this run…

  24. Robbie says:

    The new GFS, I’m looking at the maps on Weatherbell, shifts the storm to the north into Indiana. The snowfall map is almost zero for the state. We’ll have to see what the ensembles say, but quite a shift to the north.

    • Robbie says:

      DT says he totally rejects the new 12z GFS at this time.

      • TONEY says:

        good rejection, given the amount of blocking that is backing west

        • TONEY says:

          i still think this will be an appy runner either on the east or west side, not sure on that yet, could be wrong but that is my opinion at this time……just like when the marshall thundering herd plays the kentucky wildcats in bb today….imo……kentucky will win, hope i am wrong…rooting for the herd all the way….could be wrong and i hope i am in the bb game prediction but not the weather prediction…lol

          • Ready4Snow says:

            It also looked like this run of the GFS was more amped up…Thus maybe coming around to a more Euro solution as far as snow totals..

  25. TONEY says:

    right now the nam isn’t handling the christmas eve and day storm good at all as it would imply a lot of rain eve and day……the gfs has shifted west at 12z and now has 1 main low going through central ky through central ohio and into the great lakes which would put west ky in a sweet spot and then leave the rest of ky in wrap around light snows and snow showers but this is 1 model run and the nam does not go out that far yet…..bottom line is chris will stay in threat mode until at least sunday evening and possibly monday evening when all the models have had a chance to converge on one track but 1 thing is for sure is that some one west of the appys is going to get big dump of snow out of this with cold artic air to follow and then if you think this is bad just wait until after the new year, we may be looking at some days in the singel digits for highs and lows below zero, depending on the snow pack….time will tell… the time spring gets here next year we may welcome it with open arms…lol

    • Joey Wilson says:

      Actually, latest GFS is a track that has given WKY huge snows in the past. We’d be right on the sweet spot between ice/rain and snow and that’s where the very heavy snow usually falls.

      There’s not really a good track that ever gives the entire state a big snow. Someone will “win” and others will be waiting on the next one.

  26. BubbaG says:

    Outlook history results suggest taking big snow with a grain of salt, but watch out for a twenty pound salt lick if outlooking ice.

  27. Which Way Is the Wind Blowing says:

    I am not surprise, this is how Gobbels Forecasting Service model plays the game. THE BIG LIE.

  28. WXman says:

    12Z GFS on top of Lexington. GFS consistently north, Euro consistently south. Similar, but different enough to make a difference.

  29. Danny says:

    Still looks like a western Ky Louisville southern Indiana right along the Ohio River snowstorm as of now one heck of a snow for those who live in that path

  30. Mitch says:

    I wouldn’t panic based on the new 12z gfs. The 12z candian has the most snow southeast of our region still.

  31. Drew says:

    12z gfs ensemble mean came a little further nw but is still se of the OP run.

  32. MarkLex says:

    Miller A??????

    Is that what the weather channel is naming the next storm?

    • Robbie says:

      Just google “Miller type A” and “MIller type B”. They are two common tracks for winter storms. An A storm moves through the Gulf states and swings north east up the eastern seaboard. A B storm moves into out region and as the low in our region dies out, the energy is transferred to a low off the coast.

  33. Ready4Snow says:

    Basically a low pressure system forming in the south pulling in moisture from the gulf and atlantic but staying far enough east to pull down cold air from Canada..Usually affects states on the coast

  34. Drew says:

    New euro is no longer a snow lovers best friend. Warmer run and further nw

  35. Robbie says:

    As I wrote earlier in the day, I’m prepared to be bitterly disappointed so the NW movement of both the GFS and the Euro isn’t a surprised. Whenever it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

    Joe Bastardi at Weatherbell is holding strong with his call though. He’s got Louisville and much of central Kentucky in an area of 8 inch plus snow. The other areas are in 4 inch plus. That would be a good deal for the entire state.

  36. Bjenks says:

    Lake runner in the process. Rain for all of ky…

    In lex right no waiting for daughters bball game at 600. Walking the mall in all my u of l clothes…..oh the looks I am getting.

    Think snow

  37. I would not give up hope until tomorrow or early Monday. The storm forst gets sampled tonight at the 0z runs, and the 12z runs wil reflect that.

  38. Wxman says:

    Euro finally coming around to the GFS idea, again? What a surprise. πŸ˜‰

  39. Go Cards says:

    These runs were only good for Western Ky. The rest of us would get a mixed bag of goodies. Only based on these runs. Tonight and tomorrow will tell the story.

    • Joey Wilson says:

      I wish we’d know “for sure” by tonight’s and tomorrow’s runs but I’m thinking it will be Christmas Eve afternoon before we can start “locking” anything in. Still lots of variables.

  40. Marie says:

    I am getting more and more afraid that Lexington will hear that dreaded ICE word before this is all said and done πŸ™ please no ice!

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