A Year in Review:
Weather Highlights in Western Kentucky...Southern Illinois...Southwest Indiana...and Southeast Missouri.
By: Christine Wielgos, Meteorologist
(All record information taken from the Paducah, KY and Evansville, IN climate data)
WINTER SEASON...DECEMBER 2002 TO FEBRUARY 2003
TEMPERATURES: The winter season featured slightly above normal average temperatures during December, but turned colder than normal during January and February. In fact, at Paducah, January of 2003 was the eighth coldest January on record. The average monthly temperature was 3.9 degrees below normal for January in Paducah. At Evansville, the average monthly temperature was 3.7 degrees below normal. There were a couple of days in January were it was rather warm. On January 8th, it reached 60 degrees and 58 degrees in Paducah and Evansville, respectively. However, during the latter half of the month, low temperatures often dipped into the single digits. The coldest low temperature in January occurred in Paducah on the morning of the 24th, where the mercury dipped down to -3 degrees.
In February, at both Paducah and Evansville, the average monthly temperature was below normal. The coldest temperatures during February occurred the morning of the 6th and 7th, where the temperature dipped down into the single digits. February 2003 in Paducah ended being the ninth coldest on record.
WEATHER: The winter season started off rather treacherous across the area. The first major winter storm of the season blanketed the region with heavy snow and ice on December 4th 2002. The ice storm occurred over southwest Kentucky, especially in the Tennessee border region from Murray to Fulton, KY. Thousands of people lost power due to falling trees and power lines, some for up to three days. Further north, a band of heavy snow occurred over the hilly terrain of southeast Missouri, especially northwest of a line from Poplar Bluff to Cape Girardeau, where 5 to 9 inches of snow fell. Several inches of snow fell over most of southern Illinois and northwest Kentucky. Only 1 to 3 inches of snow fell along and north of Interstate 64 in southern Illinois and southwest Indiana.
On December 23rd and 24th, 2002, another snow storm affected portions of southern Illinois and southeast Missouri. The storm arrived in two parts, with the first storm arriving on the evening of the 23rd, and the second storm occurring during the afternoon and evening of the 24th. On the evening of the 23rd, 6 inches of snow was reported in Perryville, Missouri. Lesser amounts of 2 to 4 inches were common in a band from Carbondale, Illinois to near Evansville, Indiana and east from there. On December 24th, snowfall rates near an inch per hour were reported from Perryville, Missouri to Carbondale and Mount Vernon.
In addition to the winter weather that occurred in December, we did have several days of heavy rain, which allowed the average monthly precipitation to be several inches above normal. But it was the third snowiest December in Paducah, with 5.9 inches of snow recorded and seventh wettest with 7.50 inches of precipitation recorded. Daily precipitation and snowfall records were also broken at Paducah. At Evansville, 7.8 inches of snow fell, making it the eight snowiest December on record.
Yet another snow storm occurred on January 16th, 2003, which mainly affected portions of southeast Missouri and western Kentucky. The snow began falling in the morning, which had a major impact on traffic. The snow fell at the rate of 1 to 2 inches per hour and by noon, most of the accumulating snow had ended, leaving 3 to 4 inch accumulations in portions of west Kentucky and southeast Missouri, with lesser amounts elsewhere. More snow fell on the 18th and 22nd of the month across the area, with amounts ranging between 1 and 3 inches.
Even with all the snow that fell in January over portions of the area, total precipitation for the month was well below normal for both Paducah and Evansville. In Paducah, January of 2003 ranked as the second driest on record with1.15 inches of precipitation. However, with 6.8 inches of snow at Paducah, January of 2003 was the seventh snowiest on record. Only 1.8 inches of snow fell at Evansville.
In February, a combination of snow and sleet storms made for a very dreary month. In fact, at Paducah, 19 out of the 28th days in February recorded precipitation. At Evansville, 17 out of the 28 days recorded precipitation. Storms of note include the winter storm that occurred on the 6th, where 3 to 6 inches of snow fell across mainly extreme southern Illinois, far western Kentucky and southeast Missouri.
On February 16th, a sleet/snow storm affected portions of the area. The precipitation was almost all sleet south of the Marion/Carbondale, Illinois area, where an inch or two was reported. Along and north of a Carbondale to Harrisburg, Illinois line, snow fell, with accumulations of snow and sleet ranging from 3 to 6 inches. The Evansville Tri State area was also hard hit with snow, sleet and freezing rain, where 3 to 5 inch accumulations were common. Farther south into Kentucky, up to 3 inches fell. In southeast Missouri, one to two inches of sleet and snow were reported, with higher amounts across Perry County, Missouri.
Another snow storm occurred on the 23rd of the month and crossed over into the 24th, with heavy snow occurring mainly over southwest Indiana, southern Illinois, and northern parts of southeast Missouri. Four to eight inches of snow fell within 8 hours. The heavy snowfall rates were accompanied by thunder and lightning in a few spots. The precipitation fell mainly as rain across western Kentucky, limiting accumulations to less than an inch along the Ohio River, and not much accumulation at all near the Tennessee border.
Even more snow fell on February 25th and 26th, but mainly across portions of west Kentucky and southeast Missouri. With all the precipitation that occurred in February, it is not hard to fathom that both Paducah and Evansville recorded above normal monthly precipitation amounts. It was the fourth wettest February on record for Paducah, with even a few daily precipitation and snowfall records broken for the month. As far as monthly snowfall at Paducah, 11.0 inches was recorded, making February 2003 the third snowiest on record. With 11.4 inches of snow recorded at Evansville, February 2003 was the seventh snowiest on record.
Here is a detailed look at the winter season...
|DECEMBER 2002||Average Monthly Temperature||Departure From Normal||Remarks|
|Paducah, KY||38.1 degrees||1.2 degrees above normal|
|Evansville, IN||36.2 degrees||0.6 degrees above normal|
|DECEMBER 2002||Monthly Precip.||Dptr From Normal||Monthly Snowfall||Dptr From Normal||Remarks|
|Paducah, KY||7.50 inches||3.12 in. above normal||5.9 inches||4.4 in. above normal||7th
|Evansville, IN||5.65 inches||2.11 in. above normal||7.8 inches||5.0 in. above normal||8th snowiest|
|JANUARY 2003||Average Monthly Temperature||Departure From Normal||Remarks|
|Paducah, KY||29.0 degrees||3.9 degrees below normal||8th coldest|
|Evansville, IN||27.3 degrees||3.7 degrees below normal|
|JANUARY 2003||Monthly Precip.||Dptr From Normal||Monthly Snowfall||Dptr From Normal||Remarks|
|Paducah, KY||1.15 inches||2.32 in. below normal||6.8 inches||2.9 in. above normal||2nd driest,
|Evansville, IN||1.10 inches||1.81 in. below normal||1.8 inches||2.8 in. below normal|
|FEBRUARY 2003||Average Monthly Temperature||Departure From Normal||Remarks|
|Paducah, KY||34.2 degrees||3.9 degrees below normal||9th coldest|
|Evansville, IN||31.5 degrees||4.3 degrees below normal|
|FEBRUARY 2003||Monthly Precip.||Dptr From Normal||Monthly Snowfall||Dptr From Normal||Remarks|
|Paducah, KY||6.60 inches||2.67 in. above normal||11.0 inches||7.7 in. above normal||4th
|Evansville, IN||4.92 inches||1.82 in. above normal||11.4 inches||7.6 in. above normal||7th snowiest|