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Sunny and hot today, but that wasn’t the case in 1894!

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SUMMARY

Today will be our driest day for the next several days. We still can’t rule out that isolated shower or storm in the afternoon, but that chance is set at about 10% today.  Tomorrow, about a third of the plateau should see rain, and those rain chances will stick with us right on through the Memorial Day weekend. It will be scattered, mainly afternoon and evening activity, but it will be something to be mindful of.  I honestly don’t think it’s worth cancelling outdoor plans for, but make sure you have a place to get in case a shower or storm develops and moves your way. And we’ll always need to be mindful of that lightning, especially if you’re headed out to the area lakes or camping this weekend.

Again, those rain chances will be with us right on through next week, with mainly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms.

We’re still monitoring the tropics and it now looks like we will have our first tropical storm of the 2018 season form this! This will be Alberto and he will slowly move northward into the Gulf. Models have slowed him down somewhat and it now looks like the Gulf Coast may not be fully impacted until Sunday. This does not look like it will become a hurricane, so that is good news! We will have to watch where he goes because if he moves our way he could make for a very wet week for us next week! I’ll keep an eye on it!

DISCUSSION

So, I’ll be monitoring the tropics and see what our system does. There is a chance that it will remain an unnamed depression, but the National Hurricane Center is now giving the system an 80% chance of becoming a named tropical storm.  The system will slowly move northward, spreading lots of moisture into the Southeast at some point next week.

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The tropics are already sending a lot of moisture our way in the form of humidity, and that will lead to our showers and storms this weekend. If Alberto tracks up and over us next week, we’ll see much more widespread rainfall than what we’ll see this weekend. It now looks like the storm will not arrive on the coast until Sunday or Monday. Thankfully, there are no indications that this will become a hurricane. I’ll keep an eye on it!

It’s now getting close to the end of May and all thoughts of snow and cold have probably left your mind by now. Well, it hasn’t mine but I’ve been bummed by our pitiful snow totals for TWO winters in a row now..sigh..  Anyway, that wouldn’t have been the case 124 years ago today! An unusual storm system (for this time of year) traversed the state of Kentucky on the 20th of May, 1894 and dropped a couple inches of snow. Some of that activity likely impacted the plateau but records back then are scarce and quite terrible (ha).  This system displaced a lot of cold air and sent many of us in the South into an unusual late-spring cold spell. But we hadn’t seen anything yet!

On the 24th, a cold upper-level low was centered right over central Kentucky. These upper level lows are super cold pockets of air aloft that can lead to large hail when surface temps are warm enough for storms to develop this time of year. However, on the 24th there was still plenty of cold air left from the system on the 20th and that allowed snow to make it to the ground. Anywhere from 6-8 inches of snow covered central and eastern Kentucky, with some places getting even more that! That likely led to snow showers for us here all day, too. That kind of pattern would normally give us some snow. Plus, there was more than enough moisture, as another storm on the East Coast was pumping all kinds of moisture into the upper level low. It as the perfect recipe for a snow, even in late-May!

Interestingly, the cold pattern hung on for dear life right on through the middle of June, with records breaking all over the eastern U.S. for cold temperatures. Then, the pattern made a very dramatic shift and a heat wave hit the eastern U.S., sending highs well into the 90s! Talk about a roller coaster ride!

And, it stopped raining.

The heat and drought of the summer of 1894 are still some of the most extreme many  places in the east have ever seen. Wildfires broke out across the northern Plains and many towns along the Great Lakes were burned to the ground. The wet spring had led to lush grass growth on the Plains. When the summer turned hot and dry, that grass became a fire’s paradise. That was a rough year, folks!

Aren’t ya thankful for our sunny and 80 degree day we have today? (ha)

I’ll keep an eye on the tropics and keep you posted on that! Otherwise, have yourself a great day!

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