Coldest, Snowiest Day of Winter So Far

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Updated: 1/02/2012 8:46 am
Monday, January 2nd, 2012: Winds of Change Leave Us in Frigid, Snowy Pattern

Good Monday morning, everybody.  The new year is here, as is a totally new weather pattern, at least for a couple of days.  Temperatures will be 10-15° below average, even for early January standards, early this week.  Throw in a biting wind and some snow showers, and this is a jarring change!

The change began with yesterday's cold front.  New Year's Day was a WINDY one, and those winds gusted to near 50 mph across most areas with the front.  Here are yesterday's peak wind gusts.

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Now, cold, west-northwest flow is driving moisture up the west side of the Appalachians.  This gradual rise in the air is pushed by an increase in elevation from around 500' near the Ohio River to around 1,000' over the Bluegrass Region to near 4,000' along the highest ridges along the Virginia state line.  As the cold air is pushed higher, it reaches a colder environment, and the air becomes saturated.  The end result is clouds and snow, which will be heaviest in eastern Kentucky.  We call this upslope snow, or locally, "northwest flow snow".

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Here is our snowfall forecast:

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If we do see 0.1" or more in Lexington, this would be our first accumulation of the winter.  The average to-date, through New Year's Day, is 2.9".  Many areas in lower elevations of eastern Kentucky will receive 1" to 2", with the heaviest snow falling late this afternoon and tonight.  High elevations in extreme southeastern Kentucky will likely receive 2" to 4" by tomorrow morning.

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Roads will become hazardous, especially in eastern Kentucky, as cold winds are quickly cooling the pavement down.  In light of all of this, a Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for eastern Kentucky for this afternoon, tonight and into tomorrow morning.

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Thanks for stopping by the weather blog.  BE SAFE out there, STAY WARM, and BUNDLE UP!  Temperatures will not move much today, and wind chills will be in the upper teens to near 20 during the warmest part of the day.  Tonight, with actual air temps falling into the teens, wind chills will reach the single digits.  Highs on Tuesday will only be around 25°... a far cry from our average, in the lower 40s, this time of the year!

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Geoff

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