Commonwealth Journal

March 12, 2014

Cold spell on the way

Low temperatures and high winds likely

by Bill Mardis
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset —

By the time you read this, the temperature probably will be more than 50 degrees colder than 36 hours ago.
It’s a drastic change. Some motorists, particularly those whose cars were parked in the sun, turned on the air conditioner when they got in their vehicles after work Tuesday.
Day before yesterday was the first time temperatures have risen into the 70s since mid October. It has been a long, cold winter since then.
Yesterday was a day of change. A rapidly strengthening low pressure area with high winds dragged a cold front across Eastern Kentucky. By this morning air temperatures were expected in the teens and wind chills in single digits. Snow showers overnight may have left a dusting on the ground.
Shiver me timbers! Folks were walking around Tuesday in shorts and muscle shirts, or no shirts. Uniform for today is ear muffs and long underwear. It’s enough to give one a death of cold.
This winter has made global warming advocates quake in fear that government grants to study climate change will dry up. This has been the coldest, snowiest winter since the mid-1990s.
Several have commented during these severe cold spells in March: “This is spring. Have you ever seen any weather like this in March?”
The answer is yes. Many times.
Meteorological spring begins in March but on the calendar spring arrives March 20. There is still plenty of cold air up North that can nose its way downward. At midmorning yesterday, the temperature in Barrow, Alaska was 11 below.
Many big snows in history have fallen in March.
On Thursday, March 27, 1947, a snowstorm dropped 10 inches of snow on Somerset. It was the deepest snowfall that year and the deepest in Somerset for many years, according to The Somerset Journal.
On March 9, 1960, southern Kentucky was immobilized with 15 to 22 inches of snow. Temperatures were just above zero the following morning and drifted and piled snow didn’t totally disappear until up into April.
On March 13, 1993, one of the strongest storms of the past 100 years brought up to 30 inches of snow to eastern and southeastern Kentucky. Strong winds accompanied the snow resulting in blizzard conditions with drifts 6 to 10 feet deep.
Interstate 75 was closed from Lexington to the Tennessee board. Regional tournament play at London was postponed because of 2 feet of snow. Three busloads of students from Memorial Elementary School were stranded in Alabama. It was difficult to measure because of drifting, but best guesses were Pulaski County had about 13 inches of snow.
It can snow in April and May. 
Six inches of snow fell in Pulaski County on May 19, 1896. The late Sam Cox, state forester, said many trees still bore bends from the weight of that snow on full foliage. A former state climatologist said there are records of snow flurries in Pulaski County in June.
The current cold spell is a quickie. Maximum readings tomorrow will be near 60.