National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

While astronomical winter doesn't actually begin until the winter solstice on December 21, December 1 marks the beginning of Meteorological Winter - the three months of the year associated with winter weather - and along with it, the National Weather Service's seasonal winter weather safety campaign.

In Kentucky and the rest of the Ohio Valley, winter weather can include heavy snow, ice storms, bitter cold, dense fog, and even severe thunderstorms capable of producing tornadoes and flash floods.   For that reason, we’ll focus on a different winter weather concern over each of the next seven days:

  • December 1 - The National Weather Service uses various Winter Weather Watches, Warnings, and Advisories to alert the public of winter weather threats.
  • December 2 - It's never too early to prepare! Read about winter weather preparedness – at home or work, in vehicles, and for animals.
  • December 3 - The all-important freeze/thaw temperature - (32° F / 0° C) is usually over the Ohio Valley during winter storms, complicating the type and amount of precipitation that falls in any specific location.  Learn about winter precipitation types - snow, sleet, and freezing rain - and how the temperature at the ground is only part of the factor in what piles up – or runs off – at your home.  
  • December 4 – Extreme frostbite can lead to loss of fingers or toes, and hypothermia can kill!  Read up on cold weather safety to keep yourself safe from falling temperatures this winter,.
  • December 5 - Because the Ohio Valley frequently has periods of warm temperatures during the winter that are quickly replaced by a return to normal temperatures behind a strong cold front, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes can happen in winter and today's focus for winter weather awareness is Severe Thunderstorms, Tornadoes, and Lightning. 
  • December 6 – Dense fog is more common during meteorological winter than the rest of the year because in cold air the condensation rate exceeds the evaporation rate of water vapor in the air near the surface, forming a cloud on the ground.  When motor vehicle accidents caused by the reduced visibility in dense fog are taken into consideration, this weather phenomenon can result in more deaths than any other winter hazard. Read up on fog safety to prevent becoming a weather statistic.  
  • December 7 – Whether due to rapid snowmelt, ice jams, or heavy rain falling on snow or ground that had been previously frozen several inches deep, winter flooding is not uncommon in the Ohio Valley.  Our flood safety page provides information on how to stay safe when water levels rise.   

WInd Chill Chart