Commonwealth Journal

December 5, 2013

Wintry mix, lots of rain headed our way

by Heather Tomlinson
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset — The last several days, complete with temperatures in the mid-60s, were a nice break from wintry temperatures, but it’s all about to end.

The massive cold front that sent temperatures plunging across the Midwest has parked itself directly over eastern Kentucky, and it intends to hang around for a bit.

What’s accompanying the system are waves upon waves of rain, sleet, snow and ice — and what you see all depends on where you live in the state.

“It’s just repetitive bashings of these things,” said John Jacobson, senior meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jackson, Ky.

Pulaski County residents already got a taste of what’s to come over the next few days, with Thursday’s consistent rain. Jacobson said that pattern is expected to repeat itself through Monday of next week, with periods of wintry precipitation in the overnight hours.

The temperatures will bottom out tonight and Saturday. While today’s high is expected to stay above freezing, at 42 degrees, the expected low tonight should be around 28 degrees. Saturday’s temperature is expected to reach 35 degrees, but drop again in the overnight hours to around 29 degrees.

That sounds a bit better than the weather areas to the west and north of us may see — think ice, snow, and more ice. But Jacobson said Pulaski residents shouldn’t relax just yet.

“We’re not free from that,” said Jacobson.

Today’s rain, expected to be heavy at times, will probably switch over to a sleet/ice/snow mixture, making overnight travel possibly dangerous. Residents should be prepared for difficult road conditions, and plan accordingly. Those conditions are also expected to occur overnight Saturday as well.

“The wintry beast will show its head,” said Jacobson. “It’s ugly.”

And, in the absence of wintry weather, there will be rain. Lots of it. Pulaski County is expected to get up to 4.58 inches of rain over the weekend and going into Monday.

“It’s what we call a classical flood pattern” said Jacobson. “The potential flood pattern ... it’s just going to depend on how strong the (weather) waves are.

“What’s hard to determine is exactly where the heaviest bands are going to hit,” Jacobson added.

The first round of precipitation is expected to bring between two and three inches of moisture to Pulaski County and the rest of eastern Kentucky through Saturday morning. The second round is forecasted to sweep through on Sunday and Monday, bringing with it an additional one to two inches of precipitation.

The expected total of four-and-a-half inches of rain is enough to cause some flooding issues, especially if the rain continues into Monday after the ground has already become saturated thanks to the first rounds of weather tonight and Saturday.

“Should the heavy rain materialize, it could lead to localized flooding problems as well as significant rises on area streams and rivers from late Friday night through Sunday,” states the meteorological outlook for eastern Kentucky on the Jackson Weather Service’s website (www.crh.noaa.gov). “Another round of heavy rainfall is expected to occur from Sunday through Monday. Should the heavy rain materialize, it will bring minor flooding of creeks, streams, as well as some rivers.”

Pulaski County and all of eastern Kentucky is under a flood watch until Saturday morning.

But those worried about the weather’s impact on Saturday’s downtown Christmas parade needn’t fear. Jacobson said the break between the first and second waves of precipitation should occur during the day Saturday.

“Saturday during the day is going to be not bad,” said Jacobson, who noted those forecasts can easily change.

The parade is scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday, with the ceremonial lighting of the town Christmas tree to follow. See the accompanying sidebar for more information on this weekend’s events.