Monday, January 15, 2018

Remembering January 16-17, 1994

I cannot imagine another winter event coming close to this one that affected so many of us here in Kentucky. Quite literally, it was a shutdown storm for Louisville, paralyzing the city and stranding drivers on interstates. It's hard to believe it has been 24 years. I can remember it like it happened last week.

I recall not even being able to leave my neighborhood for 3 days because my Nissan Sentra tires were only 13". Finally, I was able to navigate the still treacherous roads of the subdivision and made my way to the mostly cleared roads of the interstate on my way to work.

We drivers were actually going about 45-55 mph on I-65. However, my exit off of the interstate, well, it didn't go so well.  It was a two-lane exit at least a mile long, so normally, I do not need to reduce my speed. But, as I looked ahead, I became horrified that the two lanes were narrowing into one lane because all of the plowed snow blocked part of the lane.

In addition, the previous day's snowmelt left chunks of snow and ice that refroze overnight in the lane that I was currently driving. Well, those poor old 13" tires just could not get over those slush-frozen ruts. Ahead of me was a mountain of snow, and I was taking dead aim at it. I tried to get over, but the ruts directed me straight toward the mountain. At that moment, I imagined being Bo Duke in that souped-up General Lee making a leap for life over 32 cars or whatever. I closed my eyes, felt the car lurch upward, and then...and then the little car just stopped on top of the mound.

I was only about 4 feet off of the ground. So, I got out of the car carefully with my snow shovel in hand and began digging myself out. After several minutes, an old country guy in a Chevy pickup truck pulled over and offered to attach a rope to my vehicle and pull me off of that mound. And that he did.

After thanking him profusely, shaking his hand vigorously, I went to start the car and the doggone thing just did not start. The battery must have drained a little bit while I had my door open shoveling the car out. So, I had to ask the stranger to help me with a jump. And that he did.

If you have a few more minutes, I downloaded a newspaper from Hopkinsville here in western Kentucky. It provided a good review of what not only happened in Louisville, but elsewhere around the state.

Kentucky New Era newspaper



Friday, January 12, 2018

Winter Storm 01/12/18 with Updates

Forecast for 4-6" in Louisville according to NWS. I'm not that optimistic, maybe lower end if that. My prediction is 3-4" for Louisville, perhaps lower end near my area of southwest Jefferson County.

In Valley Station
0800 - Sleet moderate - just above freezing
0900 - Light freezing rain/drizzle - 31 degrees; car tops and metallic surfaces have very thin glaze of ice already; pavement still just wet.
1000 - Light sleet 30 degrees; thin layer of ice on windshield; pavement mostly still wet
1035 - Even though ice accumulation has been light (under 0.1"), accretion has been very efficient on tree limbs. I've already lost a small limb in front yard. Read report from outside of the county in Muhlenberg county of a felled tree across power lines due to ice/sleet according to law enforcement officials
1045 - Back to freezing drizzle along with very light sleet

Additional storm reports from Kentucky....
0813 - Paducah with 0.50" sleet; additional locations in Illinois have had over 1" of mostly sleet and some freezing rain
0822 - Henderson report of heavy sleet
0816 - Oak Ridge MO in Cape Girardeau county - Between 2 and 4 inches of Sleet, that's right Sleet
0915 - Murray KY 2" sleet
0930 - Heavy snow approaching Paducah

Monday, January 1, 2018

MikJournal Monday 01/01/2018...Your January Outlook

Good Monday morning to you. I awoke to a new year with a relatively old theme: It's cold out there again. At 1.6 degrees, I am not sure if my rosemary plant in the garden will survive this, especially if temperatures will be colder tomorrow morning.

Before I get to the January outlook, let's review the month of December. It sure looked like the month was going to be a lock for well-below normal temperatures and an avenging snowpack that was sure to exceed last year's totals for the whole winter.

The 'thaw' that we had during the middle of the month almost upset Old Man Winter's one and done special.

Paducah finished at only -0.2 degrees from normal.
Louisville at -0.9 degrees
Lexington at -1.1 degrees
Bowling Green at -0.9 degrees
Frankfort at -0.4 degrees
Jackson at -1.7 degrees
London at -2.3 degrees.

Many areas were above normal last week. Therefore, it took a monumental comeback for Old Man Winter to pull this one out. Because his other offensive weapon, the snow, did not make much of an impact. Plenty of appearances, but not much contribution.

January Outlook

The beginning of January is set up perfectly for Old Man Winter. Bitter cold air will last most of the week with temperatures sure to dip below zero on a few occasions for several locations, mostly without snow covering the ground.

Before I proceed with the rest of the outlook, I want to show you part of my reasoning for what I am about to say.

Show Me #1...

These are the teleconnections I often follow: PNA, NAO, EPO and one other one not listed here, AO (more on that one in a moment).

The PNA has had a nice run of positive, sometimes very positive readings. That blocking along the west coast provides a bullish signal for cold air to plunge anywhere east of the Rockies. Look at how it weakens a little. That signal tells me that some type of storm system or systems is encroaching upon that blocking mechanism. You can see that well for the time period of January 5-11. Keep that in mind.

Show Me #2....

The AO teleconnection, perhaps the most notorious signal for depicting winter's effects on our region, shows an exciting feature. This has been a consistent signal, but now the majority of the ensembles are now on board. Look at how the AO declines sharply for a few days, then suddenly ascends sharply, forming a V-shaped appearance on the chart.

The PNA blocking pattern that weakens during the January 5-11 time frame corresponds nicely to this V-shaped feature from the AO. That means temperatures will try to begin to modify as either Pacific and/or Gulf of Mexico moisture is introduced to the country's mid section. If the air is cold enough, it may take a longer time to scour out the cold at the surface as the upper levels attempt to warm as well. Keep that one in mind.

Show Me #3....

This map is from the Climate Prediction Center for the time period of January 6-10. Notice that below normal temperatures are still a consensus favorite for the region. However, the air has significantly modified to the west of our region, in response to a storm system or series of storm systems that has tapped into either Pacific moisture or Gulf of Mexico moisture or both that causes temperatures to rise in response to the advancing features.

Looking at the precipitation map, chances for above normal precipitation exist across two main areas, a large chunk of the West and a smaller portion of the Midwest, including central and western Kentucky.

Now, I have not looked at any computer models. I think we know how flippity-floppity they can be. But, the signals that I am looking at all seem to point toward something significant will happen during the January 5-11 time frame.

Depending on how strong the storm system(s) becomes will determine the eventual path these system(s) will take. This is where a decent snowpack could have made a huge difference in our region. Since we do not have much in the way of snow depth, the cold air may not be as difficult to scour out as storm systems approach.

But, looking at the CPC map above, central and western Kentucky look to see the best chance for above normal precipitation. Perhaps they would see more of a liquid event. Or there could be a rain/ice line that eventually transitions to an ice/snow line to all snow the farther east one travels in the state. That would seem to the make the most sense. Nevertheless, this particular time frame needs to be monitored.

For the second half of the month, initial cold will eventually lose its grip and transition to a more favorable pattern of seasonal cold and perhaps above normal temperatures at times. Still, I would not rule out another blast of cold air arriving later this month.


Remembering January 16-17, 1994

I cannot imagine another winter event coming close to this one that affected so many of us here in Kentucky. Quite literally, it was a shut...