LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) - La Nina will be a major factor in winter weather in Kentucky this season, according to the National Weather Service.
“Above normal precipitation, for at least the western and northern parts of the state,” said forecaster Joe Sullivan of the NWS Louisville office. “But when you couple that with above normal temperatures, it doesn’t look like we’re going to get a lot of snow.”
Sullivan said one of the things they look for is the El Nino/La Nina cycle. “Right now, it appears we’re going into a weak and probably shortlived La Nina situation. Typically, we don’t get much in the way of snowfall, during La Ninas.”
“Below normal snowfall, but the chance of cool season severe weather,” he said, citing the winter of 2005-2006. “In November of 2005, there was a deadly tornado just across the river in Evansville, Indiana, that killed more than 20 people, so we are concerned about that.”
Last winter there was a weak La Nina, Sullivan says, said, so there was relatively little snow. “During Strong La Ninas is when we typically get cool season severe weather outbreaks, not severe winter weather.”
An example of that is the February 5-6 Super Outbreak of 2008. “That’s when we had 25 tornadoes come across Kentucky,” he said. “Those are the types of things that we definitely don’t want.”
Sullivan predicts just a little more snow than we saw last year. “We’ll probably be in the 4- to 8-inch range in Louisville, and across the state there could be a couple areas with more than a foot, especially in eastern Kentucky, but I don’t see a lot of that happening.”
Nationally, the winter outlook is for above normal precipitation in the northern half of the country, and drier in the south. Temperatures are forecast to be cooler than normal in the far northern U S. with at or above normal conditions everywhere else.
For the near term in Kentucky, Sullivan predicts October to stay on the cool side.
“But we have some indicators that there could be some ‘interesting’ weather right before Halloween,” he said. “The computer models are in disagreement on whether it will be cold or warm, but we could see a squall line, or perhaps even a chance of snow, near the end of the month.”