Review of January 27th & 28th Winter Storm (updated Feb 2, 2009)

Low pressure developed over Texas on Tuesday January 27th and moved across the Tennessee Valley into southeast Kentucky during the early morning hours of January 28th.  By the time this system exited the region late on the 28th, it had brought the worst ice storm since February 2003 to most of central and eastern Kentucky.  Click here to view surface analysis and radar imagery of the storm. 


January 2009 Winter Storm Track

Below are maps with estimated ice, snow/sleet and liquid precipitation storm totals for the event.  Particularly hard hit were areas along and north of the Mountain Parkway where up to an inch of glaze from freezing rain brought down numerous trees knocking out power to thousands.  Flooding was also a problem, especially on the Red River, where runoff from the rain combined with debris and ice jaming up the river forced the river out of its banks closing roads in Clay City and Stanton.


Storm Total Ice Accumulations (based on Coop, Spotter & CocoRaHS observations)

Storm Total Ice Accumulation Map



Storm Total Snow & Sleet Accumulation (based on Coop, Spotter & CocoRaHS observations)

Storm Total Snow and Sleet Accumulation



Storm Total Liquid Precipitation (based on Coop, Spotter & CocoRaHS observations)

Storm Total Precipitation

Here are some pictures of the ice storm taken from around the area...


Photos from NWS Jackson courtesy of Shawn Harley

Photos from Elliott County Emergency Manager Director Jim Skaggs

Photos courtesy of Cliff and Sandy Steele, Colo, Kentucky Cooperative Weather Observers


Another interesting feature of this system was the incredible temperature gradient observed across southeast Kentucky around dawn on Wednesday January 28th.  A warm front inched northward, scouring out the colder air near the surface.  Gusty southeast low level winds downsloping off of Pine and Black Mountains helped warm this air even more sending the mercury above 60ºF in several locations.  To the north of this front, temperatures remained in the 30s.  The distance between locations in the 30s and locations in the 60s was less than 10 miles at times!

Observed Temperatures Around 7 AM Wednesday January 28th
(based on Coop Observations)

Observed Temperatures Around 7 AM January 28th

The National Weather Service in Jackson would like to thank our Cooperative Weather Observers, as well as area Storm Spotters, Emergency Managers and others who gave us weather reports throughout the event.

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