A Frigid Week Begins

Good Monday, everyone. The week is kicking off with a blast of arctic air invading the bluegrass state. Some of the coldest air in nearly 3 years is pushing in today and the gusty winds will put our wind chill temps into the danger category. We have a few light snow threats early this week with a possible storm by late Thursday and Friday.

Temps today will grow colder as the day wears on as the arctic air seeps in from the northwest. This is an air mass that means business over the next few days. Take a look at the numbers…


That’s a serious blast of cold. Gusty winds are going to make it feel MUCH colder today through Tuesday. Wind chill temps may go below 0 overnight into Tuesday. That’s when you need to limit your time outside.

We’re likely to see a band of light snow or snow showers across parts of the region today. Northern and eastern Kentucky will have the best shot of seeing the flakes.

A clipper will work across the Ohio Valley on Wednesday and this should kick off another round of some light snow.

The system getting the bulk of my attention this week continues to be the one moving our way by late Thursday into Friday. The models continue struggle with how that plays out, but you can definitely see the arctic air showing up much better on the recent runs. Low level arctic air is often the bully on the block and weak to moderate intensity lows have a hard time dislodging it.

The system racing in from the southwest later this week is likely to run into that cold and take the path of least resistance. The GFS Ensembles continue to show this…


The GFS had been showing a low cutting toward the Great Lakes. The last model run decided that wasn’t going to work and now takes the low into southern Ky before giving way to another low to our southeast. The blue line on the maps below show the 32 degree line…GFS

I still think the GFS is too far north with the track of the low, but that solution isn’t impossible. Taken verbatim… Vanilla Ice would be singing around here on Friday. Whatever the storm brings… it may very well unleash the first true upslope snows of the season behind it.

The UKMET shows a stronger system passing to our south and east…UKMET

Btw… those maps show the surface charts on top of the 500mb charts. Just wanted to let you know that’s not showing temps.

I will have another update later today. Have a great Dr. Martin Luther King Day and take care.

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108 Responses to A Frigid Week Begins

  1. BubbaG says:

    Thanks CB!

    Let us hope if the system does come over Kentucky, ice is a brief start to a mainly snow event.

  2. LD says:

    I love our dome. Our best chance at finally getting some snow and we have to worry about missing it due to being too warm during the ‘arctic’ outbreak.

  3. Allen says:

    Can someone explain what “top of the 500mb chart” means?

    • Cosmokramer says:

      I think it’s how meteorologists separate themselves from weathermen….sort of like politicians using fiscal cliff. πŸ™‚

    • WXEMGUY says:

      Atmospheric pressure reduces with height, and the 500mb chart shows the relative altitude of the 500mb level in the atmosphere…in the maps Chris Provided, by looking at the “height lines”, you can see that the jet stream becomes more zonal (east to west oriented) on Thursday night (with a trough swinging down on the back side through the Dakotas. That translates into a trough digging down into our part of the world by Friday evening. In this setup…the low pressure everyone is talking about on here would track south of the state, with reinforcing cold air moving into Kentucky. I’m liking this track and atmospheric setup. We should see at least some snow from this one.

  4. james says:

    The 6z gfs has flipped flopped again. It keeps most of Ky. in the colder, snow section, but also drives the heavier precip south of the state. Will have to see where it flip flops next πŸ˜‰

  5. james says:

    I know it will change, but for what it’s worth. http://wxcaster4.com/gfs/CONUS2_GFS0P5_SFC_ACCUM-SNOW_120HR.gif

  6. BubbaG says:

    For CB to mention ice, that in itself this early can be significant. It certainly was almost exactly four years ago from our last ice event. I need not remind folks what our big events have been in the past 15 years and snow was not it.

    If CB is still mentioning ice tomorrow, ground temperature will not be our friend like the last event.

    • bjenks says:

      BubbaG….Your are absolutely correct……The possiblilty of ICE for counties along the parkway corridor will be there for this next system that will ride along the KY/Tenn boarder. #1 Cold air in place for a few days =’s frozen ground #2. Low pressure to ride along the edge of the cold air which will be down into TENN. #3. Low takes the TRENDY North/West shift that pushes the low up to the boarder. I like the chance for SNOW in my area of Lou. but folks along the parkways should be looking at the ICE chances. I am just an arm chair Met. that follows the TRENDS of KY weather. Upslope at the end should provide for a decent snow storm for S/E KY. BTW…Is that WXMAN back as WXEMGUY…He seems pretty
      knowledgeable. LOL

    • Debbie says:

      if there is any ice to be had, i’m certain it will fall here in Bardstown…..i broke my collarbone from the leftover slop in ’09, still have trouble w/ it….and Sat. evening I spent 9.5 hours in E/R because my terrier knocked me off the front porch…broken arm, scraped up noggin’….uhhhhh…….just what i’ve been waiting for!;)

  7. Tocamarimba says:

    Vanilla ice…lol! Thanks, Chris. Have a great day!

  8. blizzardtim says:

    Bring on the snow!… just wanna thank my friends on here for prayers.. thru the most difficult time I’ve ever had to go thru!!…..think snow!!

  9. Chris Mercer says:

    This is a good write up (and explanation) on the possible scenarios for Thur-Fri.


  10. Neil says:

    So typical of CKY weather: warm up just enough to get ice or rain, while the Deep South can even manage to get snow…

  11. missy/clay says:

    Chris…I don’t post much..but I appreciate all that you do. Hoping for some snow in Clay Co..thus far just had a light dusting. Trying to stay positive about snow…thanks again..just wanted to let you know you are deeply appreciated in the southern part of the state.:)

  12. Emc says:

    I still think the big question is how strong will the system be. I think it will be wintry for Louisville but not sure at this time how big of storm.

  13. rolo says:

    hmmthe GFS says WAAAAAAAAA will over take tgings, now im still confident but this post from BAILEY really concerning as not so GUNG HO about end week and the COLD PREDICTED.

    but I think the storm will track thru the Tenn Valley and give richmond north SNOW and S/SE KY rain and mix as to much warm air.

  14. rolo says:

    nope BLIZZARD TIM had no idea u had been having problems, had noticed u was gone and ask bout u few days ago, but nobody saID anything back.

    glad ur ok.

  15. Bernard P. Fife says:

    Maybe someone will get some snow out of the deal. Where I live in the Lake Cumberland Area..looks to be either a sloppy rain or mix…with out a lot of white stuff.

  16. Nate in Nicholasville says:

    I think I might have just seen a little girl holding a football run by here…hopefully she will get buried in a bunch of snow!

  17. pizzaman(nw illinois) says:

    20 below wind chill right now just plain brutal

  18. Ready4Snow says:

    Looks like the low is trying to gain a little more strength…Sure wish the low was more south of us…Anyway’s this is one to keep an eye on for potential ice problem’s…Still a few day’s away so i’m sure model’s will change…

  19. Richmond says:

    Going to be in the 50’s by the 29th.

  20. DougT10 says:

    I hate Ice bring on the Snow. I hope the Low tracks to our South but everything I keep reading about or hearing says the bulk of Snow will be in the upper Ohio Valley Area. Cold air in place or not looks like rain and ice mix for KY. I hate it when our temps are around 30 and we have rain it really sucks even Rolo is backing off of his previous posts. But what the Hell do I know I just like to post.

  21. Israel says:

    Here’s the 10-day forecast from the Euro model.

  22. Coffeelady says:

    Thanks, Chris. the cold is getting here now, as you said, so now, just
    waiting on the chance for snow. I really hope we get snow, and not ice, but if it takes a little ice to ge4t a big snow, I would take it….
    waiting for you thoughts on that as the week goes on. Have a great Monday, everyone.

  23. Joey Wilson says:

    Catch 22: A stronger storm is likely to go more north! Am hoping Kentucky can find the “middle ground” with this one. Most of us are LONGGGGG overdue for a 4″+ snow!

  24. Ready4Snow says:

    We just can’t keep a PNA ridge out west….Also blocking to far north hence the cold shot’s and then back to normal or above normal temp…I know thing’s can change but we’re slowly running out of time..

  25. Israel says:

    This is why were getting this cold shot. http://www.climatecentral.org/news/stratospheric-phenomenon-is-bringing-frigid-cold-to-us-15479 An unusual event called ” Stratospheric Phenomenon” is bringing frigid cold to U.S. This article explains it all and it says this is why the second half of winter will probably be below normal, like CB was saying.

  26. Israel says:

    Here’s the 10-day forecast from the Euro model http://yr.no/place/United_States/Kentucky/Lexington/long.html

  27. John says:

    In other words, another real snow maker is going to miss central ky…dang it

  28. Seth says:

    I think the heaviest band of accumulating snow for this Thurs-Fri system should be right along I-70 with 3-6″ from Dayton to Columbus. 2″ for areas between Dayton and Cincinnati and then a sloppy inch for areas along the Ohio river. Along and north of I-64 there could be a bit of mixing. South of I-64 just a cold rain. Maybe some light accumulations from upslope.

    • prelude says:

      Seth with all do respect your under estimating the cold that will be in place as the models are doing. South of I-64 will be a mix bag more frozen than liquid if your on the KY/Tenn border yeah maybe a cold rain and there to sleet will mix in.

      • prelude says:

        Louisville, Lexington I-64 corridor could be a real big mess for those folks.

      • Bernard P. Fife says:

        There goes another shot for our town to get any white stuff this year. πŸ™

        • prelude says:

          Bernard where about’s do you live?

          • Kat says:

            Hi Prelude when you say a mess for the Louisville area what do you mean, I will take this with a grain of salt hah since this is still a few days away. Thank you

            • prelude says:

              The I-64 corridor will see snow and sleet as the dominant precip. Freezing rain is a possibilty but I think that will be further south of I-64. Storm has potential 3-6 isolated higher amount maybe here or there. If sleet mix’s in snowfall amounts wont be as much. Wait and see game, models are trending further south (as I thought they would takes the models a while to catch on to the Artic air) which brings more of the wintery aspect to KY. Late tomorrow early Wednesday the picture will be much better.

      • Seth says:

        You are probably right. I should bring that mix line down probably to Richmond, KY, maybe even further south.

    • Woodsman says:

      100% wrong.

    • BubbaG says:

      I would expect that from you coming from the Dark Side! Oh wait, that is the “Sith”… Nevermind! πŸ™‚

  29. Michael P. Boyle County says:

    For What its worth my evaluation thru Friday:
    Accumulating snow north of 64 east of 75= 80%
    Mixed smaller accum south of 64 to Danville=80%
    Rain and Freezing rain south of Danville = 80%
    In short: Significant event north and east….South and west minor event.

  30. Lincoln says:

    Bubba.. Dirt,rocks and pie all in one? #SCIENCEGASM

  31. Danny says:

    Very early in the game, for the folks that border the I-64 corridor and points north looks like a good snow should be cold enough for precip to be primarily snow. South of the I-64 corridor looks like a mix bag. Track is the key this storm has not developed so the models have not yet sample the storm. Its safe to say with high confidence the Ohio Valley will be dealing with some sort of a winter storm. How strong how much moisture and track of this system is still up for debate. As of now if we split the difference between the NAM and the GFS north central Ky would be prime zone for a freezing rain/snow scenario. Souther Indiana all snow event. South central SE Ky I can see all 4 types of precip.

  32. MikeM says:

    Good to see Blizzard Tim back.

  33. Tyler says:

    Latest Euro Dumps a heavy snow over eastern KY

    • BubbaG says:

      I will believe anywhere except central Kentucky πŸ˜‰

      Fence central. Perhaps that is a better term than dome….

      Either case, it will take a seismic shift known as a trend buster to finally flatten them. But will they………….?……………………..
      …………………………………………………………. I am still here. ……………………………. …………….?

  34. KeavyMan says:

    Just seen on the news out of Cincinnati about 2 major pile ups. 1 on I-75 around Middletown, Ohio and the other on I-275 near Hamilton Ave. Both interstates are closed and so far … 1 death has been reported. What does this have to do with this post you ask? It deals with what happened to cause this wreck and how it might affect us. Drivers are saying everything was looking good and then suddenly…white-out conditions. With just the simplest snow shower with this wind, it can cause blizzard like conditions…referring to white-outs. This can easily happen here in Kentucky with any snows and wind. PLEASE…BE CAREFUL if you are out and get in one of these wind blown snows. Pull over and stay safe and then start driving once conditons clear up. I’d rather post this and save a life than not to post and have several killed from a white-out condition taking place.

    BE SAFE EVERYONE! Wind and snow does not mix. Hers a link to Cincinnati reports..

    http://www.wcpo.com/dpp/traffic/major-accident-closes-both-directions-of-i-275-at-hamilton-avenue 20+ vehicles involved.

    http://www.wcpo.com//dpp/traffic/multiple-vehicle-crash-causes-major-delays-on-sb-i-75-between-middletown-and-monroe 50+ vehicles involved.

  35. Todd says:

    3 to 4 days out this could easily be all rain, freezing rain or snow, Ky”s Fence streak is alive and well, so im just going to sit back and see how it all unfolds, Mets have another nowcast storm approaching the way it is looking?

  36. Go Cards says:

    12z Euro is your friend if you want snow.

  37. Ready4Snow says:

    Euro is the coldest and farther South…..Has the low at hour 102 going through eastern ky…This system looks like a fast mover to me…Don’t know,maybe someone will get lucky….

  38. james says:

    Chris’s latest tweet talks about the storm threat for Friday. I wonder if he is already in threat mode?

    • BubbaG says:

      If he posts a video of Ice Baby from Vanilla Ice, we know it is not good. Doh!

    • BubbaG says:

      But for where? So far, the threats have been for very precise areas of our fine state and not a broad area. We need a lot of people feeling the snow love rather than the chosen few. Too dramatic?

      • Ready4Snow says:

        If anyone is interested you can go to wunderground an look at the snowfall map from the Euro..Graphics are not the best but at least it’s free…

  39. Go Cards says:

    3-6 inches is what I would say for Louisville and Lexington as of right now for Friday if you were to believe a weather model 4 days out. I know it will change and so do you.

  40. upslope says:

    gfs and nam have yet to catch on to the acrtic high pressure that has settled in..High pressure to our off northwest pumping down cold air, with an active southern jet usually means a good chance for snow for our neck of the woods

  41. Shawn-KG4KBU says:

    since it is going to be cold out here is a blog with tips on how to keep from getting frost bite http://blog.weathernationtv.com/2013/01/21/blue-monday-extreme-midwest-cold/

  42. BubbaG says:

    Luke Bubba = 4″ to 8″ for much of the state at the end of the week

    Darth Bubba = Mainly snow north of I64 and more ice the further south you go. 1″ to 6″ spread.

  43. Go Cards says:

    As NWS Louisville said if you take the Euro at face value would be a good snow for most of us. They mention confidence is increasing for a storm. They also say 100 miles north or south with the position of the low means rain or nothing. I don’t know how that makes them confident. I guess they give themselves wiggle room for each model run lol.

  44. Tyler says:

    The 18z NAM continues with a path through southern Indiana into Ohio…….the clueless nam!

  45. BengalFan says:

    Not sure, I thought this time yesterday (sunday)..the artic front was supposed to have blew in! Its almost 4:30 in Richmond and its still 31 degrees. Wow, the Artic is really harsh this time of year. I know it looks like its north of here, but it really makes me doubt the cold is going to stay around.

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