Up to 3" of heavy, wet snow was reported in Letcher and Harlan counties, which brought a tree down across 119 Sunday morning with higher snow amounts along the VA border. A coating in the valleys and up to 2" on the ridges was found across the Big Sandy and Kentucky River Valley. In fact, before we get to the good news, this is what Breaks Interstate Park looked like this morning.
Photo by Sarah Plummer, Breaks Interstate Park
Winds will slowly shift to the southwest on Monday, which will usher in a significantly warmer air mass. High temperatures will approach 70°F on Monday and eventually reach the mid 70s on Wednesday. So far, we have only hit the 70s three times this year. We will likely double that number this week. The image below is a screenshot from one of our computer models (the GFS) showing how far above average temperatures will reach (red areas), which is +15°F or higher above our average high temperature.
Moisture from the Gulf of Mexico will stream into eastern Kentucky along with the warmer air. As a low pressure system strengthens to the northwest, a cold front will near the area sparking showers and thunderstorms. The warm, moist air will cause some degree of instability in the atmosphere, and when combined with strong winds aloft, some of the storms could be strong. Computer models are still in some disagreement with the evolution of this storm system and accurate timing of the cold front will be critical to where any strong thunderstorms develop.
Shane, Brandon, and I will be watching the trends with this next storm system and will keep you updated through the week. For now, enjoy the warm, dry conditions through early this week. I will leave you with a photo showing some of the flowers budding on the trees outside the WYMT studios in Hazard, KY.