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Mild Winter Brings Welcome Respite and Mixed Blessings

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This winter could to go into the books as one of this region’s milder cold weather seasons.

The moderate conditions have been a welcome relief to most, but a mixed blessing to some.

You might think south Louisville hardware store owner Mike Girard has been taking a financial hit with slower sales this season of snow shovels, ice melt and sleds, but after 36 years in business, he’s accustomed to seasonal ebbs and flows.

“You can get the big spurts and have two or three or four days of weather and once you’re out of the stuff, you’re out of it, and that’s it. And usually it goes back to below par. So, while you’ll get a good spurt sometimes, in the long run, we’d much prefer to have a couple of months of mild weather and go straight into spring,” Girard said.

Girard says the drop in sales of winter items has largely been offset by a brisker business in building materials to contractors taking advantage of more outdoor work days.

So what’s causing the unseasonably mild winter? Meteorologist Tom Reaugh with the National Weather Service in Louisville says it’s the result of a cooling of waters in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, an event better known as La Nina.

“Typically, when we’re in a La Nina, the Ohio and Tennessee valleys experience winters that are warmer and wetter than normal. And indeed we’ve seen quite a bit warmer than normal temperatures this winter and a resulting lack of snowfall as well,” Reaugh said.

The Louisville area can get more than 15 inches of snow over a given winter, but the biggest storm of this season struggled to leave an inch on the ground, much to the dismay of sledders and snowman builders.

Jefferson County Public Schools shut down for two days this academic year because of weather, but that was in August, when high winds caused some power outages.

While Louisville’s Public Works Department has applied hundreds of tons of salt to roadways in anticipation of several snow events this season, spokeswoman Lindsay English says that’s a drop in the bucket compared to most years.

The department projects a savings of about $3.5 million, money that will help pay down the city’s budget deficit. Now, crews are getting a head start on road improvements.

Local News

JCPS Dismissing Early

Due to predicted winter weather, Jefferson County Public Schools will dismiss two hours early today:

  • Middle and high schools at 12:20 pm
  • Elementary schools at 1:45 pm
  • Afternoon early childhood education is also cancelled
Local News

Warm Weather Will Remain For Rest Of Week

The warm weather that swept into Louisville this weekend will remain for the rest of the week, and possibly longer.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Brian Schoettmer says it’s unlikely any more blasts of northern arctic air will hit the region anytime soon. He says as long as the skies remain relatively clear, high temperatures will stay in the 50s and 60s through the weekend.

“This is the time of year when the sun angle actually starts to get higher in the sky and we actually get more efficient heating early in the day. Basically, the time is right for temperatures to really start increasing,” he says. “We forecast just seven days out, so in the near future, it’s not going to get arctic cold. You can get lows into the mid to upper 30s each night. We’re not expecting a return to the winter-like conditions this week.”

Local News

LG&E Crews Preparing To Restore Power Outside Of Louisville

The large storm moving across the country may create a high demand for utility crews.

Many utilities participate in a program in which they send crews to hard-hit areas to help restore power. The storm is expected to bring strong winds, heavy rain and light snow to Louisville. Louisville Gas and Electric spokesperson Chris Whelan says none of those should cause much damage, and many LG&E crews may be sent out of Kentucky.

“We’ve been in mutual assistance calls for the last few days knowing this storm is coming. So other utilities will definitely be requesting additional crews depending on the severity of the storms in their areas,” she says. “If we feel like we’re in the clear, we may release crews to other states to help them out. Obviously our customers come first, but we’re going to hold crews here until we’re in the clear.”

Crews from across the country came to Kentucky after the 2009 ice storm. Whelan says any time crews are exchanged, a number of workers remain in Louisville to handle emergencies or routine maintenance.

Local News

Most Severe Weather To Stay North Of Louisville

by Sheila Ash

The large winter storm crossing the country this week is expected to bring strong winds, rain and light snow to Louisville.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Brian Schoettmer says Louisville and southern Indiana will see rain for most of Tuesday. The storm could bring about an inch of snow to the area, but Schoettmer says the wind is the biggest threat.

“…25, 35 mile an hour gusts into 45 mile an hour at times so any snow that is going to be blowing around through the overnight hours and by dawn will be blowing around could reduce visibilities,” he says.

Schoettmer says the temperatures will drop overnight and wind chills could be 10 degrees or lower by morning.

The weather will be more severe further north, with freezing rain expected for Salem and Scottsburg, Indiana.

State of Affairs

Fighting the Winter Blues

STATE OF AFFAIRS 02/01/11: Grey skies, cold weather, and darkness that seems to creep in alarmingly shortly after lunch time. Have you found yourself wishing you could hibernate through the rest of the winter? You’re not alone. Many people experience a lack of energy, decreased motivation and fewer good moods in the winter months. Tuesday we’ll talk about what can be done to combat the winter blahs and keep your spirits up until the daffodils are.

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Local News

Snow To Be Followed By Cold Front

Relief from the winter cold is unlikely to come anytime soon.

Forecasters are predicting up to three inches of snow for the Louisville area Tuesday. After that, a cold front will come through, bringing winds and frigid temperatures for much of the week.

National Weather Service meteorologist John Denman says the snow and cold is the latest in what has been a surprisingly chilly and wet winter.

“We’ve had a lot of little systems come through, and that’s a little bit uncommon,” he says. “We’ve had like four or five separate snow systems come through, giving anywhere from one to four inches. It has been consistently cold this winter, very similar to last winter.”

Temperatures could rise to the mid or upper 30s on Thursday and Friday. The heaviest snowfall Tuesday  is predicted for southern and central Indiana.

Local News

Winter Weather Disrupts Blood Supply

Winter weather this week has closed schools and some businesses, and in turn cancelled a number of blood drives in the Louisville area.

Red Cross spokesperson Karen Stecher says it happens almost every year.

“When we see winter weather come through, folks are worried about safety, they aren’t out on the roads, they’ll have schools, business, churches that have to shut down for safety reasons, staff can’t make it in, and when that happens, blood drives end up being cancelled,” says Stecher.

Fourteen blood drives have been cancelled this week, resulting in 500 fewer pints of blood being collected.

Stecher says for now the area’s hospitals have a sufficient blood supply, but donations are needed quickly to maintain that.

Local News

Winter Weather Update 7am

A Winter Storm Warning is in effect until 1pm today

The National Weather Service predicts accumulating snow will continue through this morning. Rain may mix in the with the snow briefly this morning over portions of north central Kentucky.

Snowfall amounts: total snow accumulations of 3 to 5 inches are expected with locally higher amounts possible across south central Indiana.

Most roadways are snow covered this morning with temperatures below the freezing mark. Slick and dangerous driving conditions are present so motorists should use caution and slow down. Avoid travel this morning if possible.

Jefferson County Public and Catholic Schools – Closed
Bullitt County Schools – Closed
Clark County Schools – Closed
New Albany Floyd County Schools – Closed
Oldham County Schools – Closed
Shelby County Schools – Closed
Spalding University – Delayed 2 hours
Spencer County Schools – Closed
Sullivan University – Closed
University of Louisville – Closed

Winter Storm Warning
Current Louisville Forecast

Local News

El Nino Could Bring Mild Winter to Kentucky

University of Kentucky Meteorologist Tom Priddy says another El Nino weather pattern is on the way, which could mean warmer temperatures this winter for Kentucky. Priddy says scientists started noticing a warming pattern in the Pacific Ocean last month, and are expecting the warm-up to continue through the fall.

He says that temperature increase adds more water vapor to the air, which shifts the jet stream elsewhere.

“That gives us a mild winter in Kentucky and a good part of the Ohio Valley, and dry conditions,” says Priddy. “So if we continue to develop this El Nino through the fall months, as the models are suggesting, we would have a very different winter than what we would normally have across the United States.”

Priddy says when the jet stream is shifted by El Nino energy, the weather patterns travel elsewhere as well.

Kentucky just recorded its second-coolest July in 115 years.