Kentucky braced for an onslaught of winter weather Monday night and early Tuesday, less than a week after springlike storms pummeled the state with more than 20 tornadoes.
A winter storm warning was issued for central Kentucky and for counties along the Ohio River, from Kenton County in northern Kentucky to McCracken County in the west. The National Weather Service predicted that the Louisville metro area - Jefferson and surrounding counties - would receive 4 to 8 inches of snow overnight and in the morning hours.
"If we get this much snow, morning rush hour may be impassable," hydrologist Mike Callahan said.
Last week, high temperatures in Louisville reached 70 and tornado-spawning storms killed seven people in two counties.
On Monday, sleet was falling in Paducah at 12:30 p.m. CST, National Weather Service forecaster Pat Spoden said. He didn't expect much snow accumulation, but said there could be up to a half-inch of ice by Monday night
"There could be significant travel difficulties," Spoden said. A wintry mix was also expected to cause problems in the Louisville area, but later in the day.
By mid-afternoon the weather service had included much of central Kentucky in the winter storm warning, predicting 3 to 6 inches for the Bluegrass region, including metro Lexington and the capital city of Frankfort.
The weather service warned that ice accumulations also were expected in some areas. Temperatures in the 20s were hindering efforts by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to prepare for the precipitation in the western parts of the state, according to a statement from spokesman Keith Todd.
Crews were pretreating highways with a salt brine, in areas where the temperature was above 25 degrees. But Todd said "only a limited number of highway miles can be treated before the storm hits."
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)