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Forecast shows much of Kentucky could see severe weather Wednesday night into Thursday

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Just about all of Kentucky can expect to see some severe weather Wednesday night, especially after dark, according to the National Weather Service.

While parts of northern and eastern Kentucky saw some severe weather during the afternoon hours, forecaster Joe Sullivan with the Louisville NWS office, said that was not the main event.

He says almost the entire state has been placed in an area for an Enhanced Risk of severe weather by the Storm Prediction Center. “This is one of those days when we have all three severe weather threats possible. Damaging winds, large hail and even tornadoes.”

He noted severe flooding is not expected, since the storms will be moving so quickly.

Sullivan says all of Kentucky has the possibility of seeing winds of 60 mph or higher, but west of I-75 you could have top winds of 75 mph, which is hurricane strength. “Sixty mph is generally the threshold where we start seeing roof damage and trees coming down, but 75, obviously, is a bigger threat, and with squall lines you could have a broad swath of that, and that’s what we’re expecting tonight.”

In addition, he says all of Kentucky west of I-65 has a chance of hail two inches or more in diameter. “Not the garden variety pea to marble size stuff, we could get some really big hail out of this.”

The tornado risk is lower, according to Sullivan, but is still there. “What we’re looking at is the potential for some supercell tornadoes at the beginning of the event, and primarily in the wester part of the state, west of I-65. Then, as the storms congeal and form a squall line moving across the state, we’ll get those smaller, spin-up-type squall line tornadoes, that are so hard to get a warning out in advance, because they spin up so quickly.”

He said this will be an after dark event, with the squall line entering Kentucky around 10 p.m, EDT/9 p.m. CDT, reaching a line from Maysville to Bowling Green around 1 a.m. EDT/Midnight CDT and the weakening system leaving the eastern part of the state around 3 a.m. EDT.

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