This January was quite warm and slightly wetter than normal overall, in keeping with the conditions we normally experience during a La Niña winter. About 75% of the month was spent warmer than normal, with the few cold spells that did occur remaining brief. The coldest day of the month was Friday the 13th, with lows in the teens and highs in the 20s. On the other side of the coin, temperatures warmed into the 60s in at least parts of the area on ten different days!
A cold front that came through on New Year's Day ushered in chilly air, and by the 2nd light snow had entered the region. Though accumulations were minor, roads became slick enough to cause many accidents around the area.
The next bout of snowy weather came on the night of the 12th-13th, as bands of snow showers set up across the region. One band trained directly over Louisville International Airport, piling up an inch of accumulation in just 30 minutes!
That was the end of the wintry weather for January, however. Just four days later we switched from winter to spring as a powerful squall line raced through southern Indiana and central Kentucky ahead of a sharp cold front. Nine tornadoes were spun up by the line of storms in less than four hours, including an EF-2 with a nine mile long track that devastated rural sections of Simpson and Allen Counties. An EF-1 tornado was on the ground for a little over 8 miles from Northfield in Jefferson County, KY, to north of Crestwood in Oldham County, resulting in damage generally along KY 22. It was the largest tornado outbreak this region has ever witnessed in January.
Springlike storminess returned several days later when another squall line plowed through the area on the morning of the 23rd. While this line of storms was not as destructive as the one on the 17th, it still produced scattered wind damage across the region.
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Tornado damage in Simpson County, Kentucky on January 17, 2012. NWS