National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


Periods of mostly light to moderate rain spread across eastern Kentucky on February 2nd and February 3rd as waves of low pressure rode along a slow-moving arctic cold front settling in from the northwest. The strongest and final wave of low pressure lifted across the Appalachians late February 3rd and into February 4th bringing with it a final round of rain changing over to a wintry mix and eventual snow flurries across eastern Kentucky. While 2-day rainfall amounts ranged from 1.5 to 3.0 inches across much of the area, rainfall rates were too low to cause more than the typical nuisance flooding of small streams and low-lying areas. Rivers reached elevated stages, but only the Red River at Clay City exceeded minor flood stage, spilling across farm fields and low-lying roadways. 

This system also produced heavy icing at many locations along and north of I-64. South of I-64, heavy icing became increasingly confined to the higher ridges with southeastward extent. The shallow cold layer with the cold front quickly moved into the Bluegrass on the morning of February 3rd, causing thermometers to fall to near freezing north of I-64 and along the southeast rim of the Bluegrass (down to around western Jackson and northern Rockcastle counties). Some limited daytime heating seemed to keep temperatures just warm enough for plain rain through much the day, but after sunset temperatures cooled just enough for icing to begin. The marginally sub-freezing temperatures and moderate rainfall rates led to runoff and inefficient ice accretion. Further southeast, the shallow cold layer struggled to make much progress into the East Kentucky Coalfield during the day; instead, temperatures largely held in the 40s and 50s through the afternoon. During the evening, the cold layer became deep enough to surge southeastward, bringing with it sub-freezing temperatures to the ridgetops. By the time precipitation tapered off early February 4th, an icy glaze coated the Southeast Bluegrass and many of the higher East Kentucky Coalfield ridges. Very slippery road conditions were reported as far south as Jackson County and Fleming County issued a Level 2 Weather Emergency due to the hazardous road conditions.  However, many of the Coalfield Valleys of Southeast Kentucky remained just above freezing until after the rain ended, thus preventing notable icing.   

Icy Farm Scene along East Fork Rd, Bath County
(Courtesy of Jeff Setter )
nws logo Media use of NWS Web News Stories is encouraged!
Please acknowledge the NWS as the source of any news information accessed from this site.
nws logo