A Major Arctic Outbreak On Tap

Good Saturday to one and all. Arctic air is getting ready to overwhelm the pattern across our part of the world. Once it gets in, it’s going to hang around for a long while. This is the pattern we’ve been targeting for the past few weeks. The arctic air won’t be the only thing next week will bring. Snow chances will be on the increase, as well.

Today’s temps will be fairly mild with upper 40s and low 50s. Winds are going to crank up with gusts of 30mph or better. Enjoy it… the first in a series of arctic fronts slips in early Sunday. This will knock temps way down with upper 20s and low 30s for highs with a few snow flurries possible.

The big time blast of arctic air arrives Monday and will bring a round of light snow and snow showers. Those show up well on the NAM Simulated Radar…


Temps Monday will be in the upper 20s ahead of that front and then nose dive during the afternoon. This will unleash the beast that’s been building up in Canada. Take a look at the temps for Tuesday…GFSThe NAM only goes out to Tuesday morning and backs up the single digit start…

NAM 2Highs Tuesday will be in the teens and this will mark the coldest day since January, 2010. Winds are going to be gusty and this will likely lead to wind chill temps going below zero.

A fast moving system will dive into the area Tuesday night and Wednesday. This will likely have a swath of light snow with it and will bring a reinforcing shot of arctic cold.

I’ve been talking about the likelihood of one of these systems amplifying into a big storm at some point next week. Many of the models have pointed toward late in the week. The GFS continues to come around to that way of thinking…


The GFS Ensembles like it, too…


The fun part about all of this is… The end of the month into February looks even colder than what’s coming next week.

Make it a great day and take care.

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80 Responses to A Major Arctic Outbreak On Tap

  1. Johnny says:

    All of that cold and no snow for London and Corbin. What a waste. Bring on Spring.

  2. dawnp007 says:

    Brrrrrrrrr………. Hoping we will finally get to see some snow! Fingers crossed here in Jackson. Thanks for the update!

  3. KeavyMan says:

    Thank you Chris for your update. I have also been following a storm-chaser and he to has been predicting this arctic outbreak. He even had a map up yesterday evening , on facebook, that showed a possible major snowstorm for us and heavy rains down into the SE part of the country. Can’t be all the wrong if a Met in Ohio, upper Ohio, is saying the same thing Chris is saying. Watch out folks….it is coming and when it gets here, you’ll wish you kept some words top yourself. As ROLO would say……………..


    It’s coming and alot of the models are showing it.

    • Johnny says:

      I’ll believe it when I see it. It ain’t happening. Rolo also said there was an Old School coming. Maybe he was talking about the movie sequel. πŸ™‚

      • BubbaG says:

        You have to keep track of Rolo’s posts since the rolocoaster goes up and down. Old school-nothing to see here-Old school-Nothing to see here. πŸ™‚

  4. Cosmokramer says:

    Could “next week” be in sight? Finally, finally there is hope….have been hearing about “next week” forecasts since the week of Dec. 7th-14th. This one feels a little different; someone’s gonna get it. Has been a tough season for forecasters.

  5. Luvzsnow says:

    there is HOPE!!!! thanks chris.

  6. weather blog troll says:


    I mean…COLD…brrrrr.

    I like our chances for a good snow!

    And – thank you, Chris.

  7. kyteach74 says:

    YEAH for cold!!! Kill all the bugs!!!!

  8. Coffeady says:

    Dig out the long johns everyone. Looks like we are gonna need ’em! Kudos to you, Chris, and thanks. It is very nice if you to take time out of some R & R to keep us updated. Can’t wait to see what unfolds.

  9. Leeannie says:

    Really anxious to see how all this plays out for the tri-state area! Even a “certain weather website” is calling for a high of 17 on Tuesday for Kenova,WV. (Hopefully a quick and certain death to stink bugs everywhere πŸ™‚ )

  10. Chris Mercer says:

    If we had put some snow on the ground this pattern might have led to a morning of below zero temps. We’ve got a long way to go to get this winter out of the Top 10 Warmest and days like today won’t help that. It will be interesting to see after this cold snap where we stand.

    Using Lexington Data,
    Through January 18:
    Average Temp 2011-2012 39.0 Snowfall 1.1
    Average Temp 2012-2013 40.4 Snowfall 3.6
    Normal Average Temp 34.9 Snowfall 4.6

    • MarkLex says:

      Chris Mercer – An I correct that the record LowMax for Lexington is three below?

      • Chris Mercer says:

        You are correct it has happened three times, and the amazing thing is it happened twice on one date. January 12, 1895 and January 12, 1918. The other was during probably the most famous arctic outbreak in U.S. History. February 9, 1899. The highs in Lexington were -3, 0, 1, 2, and 2 for five straight days! Lows were -15, -17, -4, -12, and -20. Could you imagine?

        December of 1989 gets an honorable mention for a day with a high of zero and a low of -19.

        • weather blog troll says:

          Chris Mercer – Thank you for all the good stats. I find it very interesting. Please keep those coming!

        • MarkLex says:

          Thanks Chris Mercer –

          That sounds terrible. I mean, zero and below zero for daytime highs. Crazy

        • KP says:

          December 1989 must have been brutal here because I was in Austin and it got down to 2 degrees. Absolutely unheard of in my life in Texas. I was trying to get our Australian Shepherd to calm down in the garage and she hit a 50 lb barbell and it fell on my foot. Shattered foot, husband at work, and too cold for me to think straight. I wrapped my foot in ice and waited for hubby to get home at midnight. He unwrapped my foot and screamed. Not a good sign!!!

          • Mark says:

            While I was only about five years ago and thus have no real memory of Dec 89 here in our area, one person I know remembers watching on tv the old Houston Oilers playing a game in the Astrodome with viewers being shown occasional exterior camera shots where it was near zero outside. It was said the indoor heating was barely able to keep up against outside conditions more typical of Minneapolis!

            I dug up this unreal video of Dec 89 in Houston:

      • Chris Mercer says:

        Check out this article. Pretty amazing stuff, if you ask me. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Blizzard_of_1899

        • BubbaG says:

          Wild stuff. Could you imagine CB as a met back then? πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚

          • Chris Mercer says:

            No! The blog would have 400 comments and would be updated every two hours! And someone would complain it wasn’t snow/cold enough!

        • MikeM says:

          Didn’t the warm temps we had last week or before tie record highs in 1899?

          • Chris Mercer says:

            I think it was 1890 we tied. 1889-1890 is by far the warmest winter on record here.

            • Mark says:

              Yes, winter/spring 1890 also had several significant tornado outbreaks. Such as a January 12 event that included a rare January F4 for KY. Also March 27 which was KY’s deadliest day of tornadoes ever recorded, including 76 deaths in Louisville alone.

  11. Cole in McCreary says:

    Thank you Chris for your time to keep us updated, it is really really appreciated. I want the snow too! It was so close Thursday! 10 miles made the difference.

  12. Weatherdadof2 says:

    After all of these near misses lately, I’m getting really anxious to start preparing my ground for my Spring garden…fresh broccoli…yum. But until then, let’s be hopeful that January exits as “one to remember.”

  13. MarkLex says:

    Hey Chris:

    I know you rarely reply to comments, but I know that you do read them. Could you make an exception and give us your thoughts about the NWS having a forecast for next Thurs of sunny and high 44, then friday rain showers with a high of 40.

    • In Lincoln Co. says:

      They are on something? πŸ™‚

    • BubbaG says:

      National Warming Service πŸ˜‰

      • Todd says:

        They are not alone most Louisville mets have temps close to 50 by Thursday and Friday with rain!

        • Danny says:

          NWS in Louisville has started to trend back the temps for Thursday night rain/snow showers low 32. Friday 30/40% rain high 40. So the trend is cooler temps. The models struggle with Arctic air. Models try to scour out the Arctic air to quickly.

          • MarkLex says:

            I’ve always noticed on their extended or even three day they tend to go from conservative to liberal the closer it approaches (relatively speaking)

    • scully says:

      This is just my opinion and I’m not a weatherperson, just a mom to three kids. This is my experience: I used to use the 5 day forecast from weather.com to plan the clothes I ironed for my girls each week. Too many times it was wrong. Especially the end of week temps. I would think it was going to be in the 60’s and it would end up being in the 40’s. Then I started following Mr. Bailey’s blog. It looks to me like he tells us about the possibility of what is coming from several days out. Sometimes it pans out sometimes it goes in a different direction. But either way, I know it’s a possibility. I don’t think the weather.com website takes those things into account when making that 5 day forecast. Not until they get a lot closer. They will probably change the temperature forecast in a couple of days. And like I say I’m not a professional so I don’t know if that’s true but it seems that way to me.

  14. mark II says:

    I’m still a bit confused about WKYT’s 7 day forecast – next Friday Chris has 45 as a high. His blog appears to imply it will remain much colder that mid 40s.

  15. WendyT says:

    “The fun part about all of this is… The end of the month into February looks even colder than what’s coming next week.”

    With all due respect, Chris, I see nothing fun about zero temps, even if there is snow on the ground. People and animals can die from exposure, water pipes break, etc. I love snow, but not at that price.

    • MikeM says:

      Then people should get prepared.

    • MarkLex says:

      I think when he said “fun” it was sarcasm. I don’t think he meant that literally.

    • Lisa says:

      Why do people take things “so serious”?

    • BubbaG says:

      Winter should get cold. We have had above normal temps and now we should see an adjustment downward. One thing though is we have had 1.5 winters in a row with wimpy temps, so the air will feel REALLY cold to a lot of folks- more than normal.

      Folks that live in trailers or houses with open crawl space areas should go into prep mode. Better prep to be safe than sorry.

    • Ben C says:

      We are now living in “the land of the offended”. Of course CB knows it is. Thanks Chris for all your hard work. And if possible, could you please explain MarkLex question? I am wondering same thing. I do believe your forecast however and not the NWS. Thanks CB and God bless buddy.

  16. bjenks says:

    Thanks Chris for the update……
    First wave of cold will be short lived with warm up and rain, sleet snow and ice with the Friday system. Could be another COLD RAIN event for most of the state. After next weekend and into Feb. is when we can really start talking about removing the DOME from Kentucky. Cold will be coming in waves along with increased chances of snow. Feb. will be the talk of the winter for much of the south and northeast. The back end of winter MAY be brutal folks. Hope you have winterized your homes and cars……

    • BubbaG says:

      This is make or break IMO. If the ingredients heading our way do not create some good snow makers, we can safely say most of Kentucky has turned into Fencetucky for winter.

      Perhaps Kentucky commerce could then market it for snow haters every winter πŸ˜‰ …… πŸ™

  17. In Lincoln Co. says:

    I think I am going to have to start singing in the square in Somerset while holding out a hat for tips in order to pay the electric bill!…:( I am going to spend the weekend making sure to block out all of the draft spots in my house and pulling out my favorite soup/stew recipes. Thanks Chris for being willing to put stuff out there that “may” happen so that we can be better prepared. Better safe than sorry.

  18. KC says:

    I SO enjoy this blog! Thanks, Chris for the time you spend making it happen!

    • Laura says:

      So do I and I am looking forward to update later as to what this cold artic air is going to be like and if there is that possible word SNOW in the forecast. Chris you are the man. I dont listen to any other weather forecast. I believe yours only.

      • BubbaG says:

        Me thinks flurries and light snow in the area for mid week and warm air blows a big raspberry at us on Friday. The result will be mainly a mix. Until we get an actual trend buster, seems prudent to expect this.

  19. Todd says:

    If it does snow Thursday or Friday and we somehow keep the rain away, ground temps will not come into play with a nicely frozen ground!

  20. Todd says:

    Their might be evidence of a digging low pressure as Chris has stated, coming into KY Thursday/Friday, the weather channel is even watching this as a storm threat close to the Ohio valley area, If the cold digs into the storm at the right time, Trend Buster will be here!

    • Go Cards says:

      You do not want the low to dig too much. That is what causes the low to pull warm air from the south. You would get rain mostly with a few flurries on the backside.

  21. Weatherdadof2 says:

    NWS is slowly coming on board….London’s forecast high Tuesday of 20 after 11 degree low. I wonder if schools will start closing due to cold/windchill, etc.

    • In Lincoln Co. says:

      I would not be surprised. Especially since most have not had any/many snow days this year. It is not safe for those little ones to be out in that.

  22. pattyversailles says:

    Man that wind is howling!! I don’t think I want to hear it doing that come single digits!!!

  23. Jeff Hamlin says:

    Wendy we need a day or two of temperatures near zero so that it kills off bugs and stuff that makes people sick. Nobody is suggesting that busted water pipes or animals freezing are fun.

    • Rachel says:

      I keep seeing people saying we need the cold weather to kill of all the bugs/viruses. This is a myth. Colds and the flu actually thrive in weather when the air is cold and dry and cold viruses and flus are often spread more quickly in the winter months because people are stuck inside with the windows shut and the heaters on due to the cold weather.

      • Which Way Is the Wind Blowing says:

        Same reason we have summer colds people are nest around the AC. Viruses love the temps between the upper 60’s and mid 70’s. And many insects release a chemical(type of alcohol) inside them when the temps drop below 32.

      • Andy Rose says:

        Exaclty stuck inside where the heaters are has nothing to do with warm or cold air has to do with people being in a closed in space. Also when some people talk about bugs they are talking about the ones that crawl. πŸ˜‰

        • Which Way Is the Wind Blowing says:

          Are you referring to crabs.

        • Rachel says:

          The ones I’m referring to are specifically talking about how we need the cold air to kill off the flu virus. I understand that the cold air helps with the insects, that’s not what I am referring to. πŸ˜‰

      • Jeff Hamlin says:

        I work in the medical field so I know what I am talking about.

    • Which Way Is the Wind Blowing says:

      No doubt about it the grubs life will be in peril since there will be a minimal amount of snow to insulate. Welcome to the Ky two day permafrost you pest.

  24. OLD SCHOOL WX MET says:

    It is coming folks! CB is correct. I have finally come around to this thinking also. The article air that is coming after this shot of cold is from the North Pole. Temps for highs for an extended period of 0-5 above are probable with lows of -10 to -20 with every couple of day snow chances. Could be a Bubba buster. Need to pay attention to Mr Bailey. If you love snow and cold,you may change your mind after the next several weeks. Could be historic.

  25. sue(Flatwoods,KY) says:

    Thanks Chris for the info! I always say better be prepared and it not happen then not be ready and get hit!!!!! 53 deg sunny and very windy here today!!! Ready for the SNOW and COLD!!!!!!

    • OLD SCHOOL WX MET says:

      Don’t worry Sue,it is coming soon. In a huge way. Anyone have any good soup recipes for this old fellow. Getting lots of firewood ready today and sealing draft spots. Gonna stock up at store tomorrow. Lots of venicin in freezer. Gonna get an extra snow shovel. Gonna be just like the’70s,except more TV channels.

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