National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


A potent winter storm began to take shape along the Gulf Coast on January 2nd and then lifted into the Carolinas early on the morning of the 3rd. Initially, above freezing temperatures caused the precipitation to begin as mainly rain while it spread across Southern Kentucky early in the evening, reaching the remainder of Eastern Kentucky by mid-to-late evening. Colder air working into the area caused the precipitation to transition over to snow for all but the deepest valleys of far Southeast Kentucky by midnight. The snow quickly tapered off between 1 and 3 AM across most of the eastern Kentucky, but lingered through about sunrise in those counties adjacent to the Virginia/Kentucky border. 

Very warm ground temperatures, due to anomalous warmth in recent weeks, caused the snow to melt on contact for a while. This melting, combined with a relatively short period of heavier snowfall rates, prevented notable accumulations for most locations north of the Hal Rogers Parkway and Highway 80 Corridor. However, near and to the south of the Hal Rogers Parkway and Highway 80 Corridor, the heavier rates and longer snowfall duration resulted 1 to 4 inches of heavy wet snow accumulations. The highest amounts were observed across the higher terrain of Pike, Letcher, Harlan and Bell counties. In these areas, roads became snow covered for a time during the early morning.


Wintry Highway in Leslie County
Courtesy of Sherry Sexton