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Ice storm, snow expected to impact traffic across west Kentucky, southern Illinois

National Weather Service

The National Weather Service is forecasting large amounts of ice, sleet and snow for tomorrow throughout parts of western Kentucky and southern Illinois that will linger into Friday. There will likely be major traffic disruptions as roads become covered over, and the likelihood of power outages cannot be ruled out.

A winter storm warning is in effect for all counties in southern Illinois between East St. Louis and Poplar Bluff with the line stretching as far east as Marion and Mount Vernon. There is also an ice storm warning in effect from Owensboro all the way west to Union City in Tennessee. Both warnings are in effect until Thursday.

Southern Illinois is the only region expected to get snow with a chance to see around 4 inches of accumulation. Western Kentucky is expected to see around two-thirds of an inch of snow and three-quarters of an inch of ice.

The transition of precipitation will move from west to east during today and tonight with winter weather expected in southern Illinois between noon and 6 p.m. West Kentucky can expect ice storm conditions around 6 p.m. to midnight, and areas further east in Kentucky, like Hopkinsville, can expect precipitation anywhere from midnight to 6 a.m. Thursday morning.

Tonight’s forecast also includes heavy to moderate rainfall which will come ahead of the cold front. And some regions in western Kentucky, like Murray, have a marginal risk of excessive rainfall with an up to 10% chance of as much as 3 inches of rain. The rain will likely lead to localized flooding conditions in areas that are poorly drained.

Wind gusts are expected to be anywhere from 31 to 33 mph in southern Illinois, and in western Kentucky gusts are expected to be 22 to 26 miles per hour.

Temperatures everywhere on Thursday are forecasted to have highs below freezing with a 24-degree high in Poplar Bluff and a low of 16. And Paducah has a high of 26 degrees and a low of 20. Wind chills on Thursday morning are expected to make temperatures feel considerably colder.

The forecast will undoubtedly cause several closures across the region over the next couple of days. Murray State University announced its campus would close at 6 p.m. tonight and remain closed until Saturday morning shortly before noon due to the expected rainfall and drop in temperatures. The campus is expected to open Saturday at 7 a.m.

Zacharie Lamb is a music major at Murray State University and is a Graves County native.
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