winter weather warning 02 300WESTERN KENTUCKY (12/4/13) — The bad news hasn't gotten better.

While the threat of an approaching winter storm spanning parts of Missouri through Pennsylvania, it's not a question of whether western Kentucky is in for precipitation — but what kind and how much.

According to the National Weather Service in Paducah, a winter storm watch for Thursday night was issued Tuesday for much of southeastern Missouri, southern Illinois, southwestern Indiana and western Kentucky. The watch could be upgraded to a warning as soon as Wednesday night, said meteorologist Eric Platt Wednesday morning.

During a morning teleconference with area officials, Platt said a significant weather event is looming with enough precipitation to cause concern.

“The newest information on Wednesday morning indicates we may have to speed up a warning by as much as six hours,” said Platt in an audio recording of the conference. “Depending on this afternoon's models, we may put up a warning this afternoon. If not, then by tomorrow morning.”

According to the NWS website at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, a winter storm watch has been issued for western Kentucky beginning late Thursday night through Friday afternoon for the entire area, portions of southern Illinois, southwest Indiana and southeast Missouri.

Freezing rain is likely to overspread the area late Thursday night and Friday morning. Precipitation will gradually change to sleet and snow before ending late Friday afternoon.

Significant accumulations of ice, sleet and snow will likely make driving treacherous Thursday night and Friday. In addition, some isolated power outages are possible in areas, where freezing rain is most prevalent, which appears to be across western Kentucky.

People, who lived in the areas hit the hardest by the ice storm of 2009 have experienced the loss of electricity when inches of freezing rain fall.

It is expected that as the cold front moves into the area, ice accumulation along the Ohio River is likely. However, it could be as small as one quarter to one half inch of ice.

There is a potential, however, for a “sweet spot” along that western Kentucky corridor to have “quite a bit of ice to deal with,” Platt said.

The system could be moving cooler and faster requiring a warning to be issued earlier in the day Thursday, Platt said.

Rita Dukes Smith
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