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National Weather Service: Storms, temperature drop expected in west Kentucky, Tennessee this weekend

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National Weather Service

A National Weather Service briefing Monday forecasted heavy rain and the chance of severe thunderstorms in the region on New Year’s Day followed by a return to winter temperatures after a set of cold fronts moves through.

Meteorologist Michael York said heavy rain is possible in western Kentucky and Tennessee on Tuesday and New Year’s Day on Saturday. Saturday also has the possibility of severe thunderstorms, though most of the at-risk area is projected to be south of the path of December’s deadly quad-state tornado that raged across the region earlier this month.

“There’s a lot of rumors flying and a lot of concern about potential thunderstorms this weekend. A lot of people have heard about the potential for some storms Friday into Saturday,” York said. “We do have some weather coming up this week – possibly some impactful heavy rain as well as some thunderstorms. Saturday in particular is our best possibility for some strong storms.”

York is projecting heavy rainfall Tuesday and Saturday. Most of the risk area for severe weather will be across Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. But western Kentucky – and much of area impacted by early December’s deadly Quad-State tornado – could be impacted by the system. At this point, there is a lot of uncertainty in the forecast.

“Five and six days out there’s going to be a lot of variability,” the meteorologist said. “The computer models are going to shift back and forth. This is obviously not set in stone at this point. Models can shift a lot in five days.”

Sunday is expected to bring cooler temperatures back to the region. Temperatures next week could see highs in the 30s and lows in the 10s.

“This really nice December temperature pattern – which so far December is shaping up to be one of our warmest on record, if not the warmest on record in Paducah – looks like that’s going to come to an end this weekend,” York explained. “It doesn’t look like we’re going to shift into anything extreme. We’re not going to go from spring to arctic tundra but temperatures compared to what we’ve experienced are going to feel very cold. Compared to the 70 degrees we have now that’s going to feel like a completely different world.”

York also did a short overview of the early December supercell that generated the deadly quad-state tornadoes. He confirmed that preliminary damage surveys from storm’s path had been completed for the EF-4 tornado that traveled through Mayfield, Benton, Dawson Springs and Bremen. The cell itself tracked just over 350 miles from northeast Arkansas to Louisville in around eight hours.

A native of western Kentucky, Operle earned his bachelor's degree in integrated strategic communications from the University of Kentucky in 2014. Operle spent five years working for Paxton Media/The Paducah Sun as a reporter and editor. In addition to his work in the news industry, Operle is a passionate movie lover and concertgoer.
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