severe weather

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Friday morning rain has led to flooding in parts of the region, causing some school systems to call off classes, and low-lying areas to be inundated with water. 

A flash flood warning was in effect for Bowling Green and surrounding counties in southern Kentucky and northern Tennessee until Friday afternoon. Water crossed over roadways and heavy winds knocked down trees across some streets.

Warren County Road Division removed 15 trees blocking roadways as of early Friday afternoon.

Bowling Green Warren County Regional Airport has recorded more than five and a half inches of rain. The Kentucky Mesonet, based at Western Kentucky University, recorded rainfall amounts of more than seven inches in Todd and Logan counties. 

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Forecasters expect remnants of Tropical Depression Cindy to drench parts of Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia Friday afternoon and evening, bringing heavy rainfall, possible flash flooding and higher river and lake levels through the weekend.

The severe weather was arriving on the anniversary of torrential rains and flooding that left 23 people dead in West Virginia last year.

National Weather Service officials in the three states said rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches were possible, with isolated amounts up to 6 inches. Flash flood watches were in effect in much of Kentucky and West Virginia. Friday began with overcast skies across the region and some light rain.

Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

When severe thunderstorms fire up around the Commonwealth, forecasters with the National Weather Service often make use of a network of automated weather observation stations around the state. The network, known as Kentucky Mesonet, has seen steady growth over the last eight years.

But the challenge now facing the network is long-term sustainability.

State climatologist and WKU professor Stu Foster says the automated reporting sites provide real-time data such as temperature, wind speed, wind direction and rainfall amounts. The data is collected and uploaded to the Kentucky Climate Center every five minutes and is available for anyone to see. 

He says it can give the weather service a better idea of what’s actually going on on the ground in addition to what they can see on radar.

Update: 7:09 p.m.
The Tornado Watch has been extended through 8 p.m. central/9 p.m. eastern. Bowling Green and Somerset are now under a Flash Flood Watch.

Update: 5:50 p.m.

The National Weather Service in Paducah says a line of strong storms in Muhlenberg and Todd counties is expected to move out around 6:30 p.m. or so. Also, a Flood Advisory has been issued for the greater Owensboro area.

Update 4:44 p.m.

A Severe Thunderstorm Warning has been issued for Muhlenberg and Todd Counties until 5:30 p.m. CDT.  Forecasters say the storm could contain 60 mph winds and quarter-sized hail.

Update 4:38 p.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Warning for parts of Allen, Barren, Green, Hart, Metcalfe and Monroe counties until 7 p.m. CDT tonight.

Original Post:

The possibility of strong to severe storms, possibly even tornadoes exists for Wednesday afternoon and evening for much of Kentucky.  The National Weather Service has issued a Tornado Watch until 7 p.m. central/8 p.m. eastern.  The watch means atmospheric conditions could produce a tornado.

Showers and thunderstorms are expected to continue throughout the night and into Thursday morning. Rain chances are forecast to taper off as we head toward the weekend.

Officials in far western Kentucky report damage to two churches, a grain silo and other structures as strong winds and a possible tornado hit Saturday afternoon. There were no reports of any deaths or injuries associated with the storms.

In Livingston County, a gym at North Livingston Baptist Church was destroyed and a steeple blown off at Hampton Methodist Church. Hickman County Sheriff Mark Green confirmed that grain bin fell over in Clinton. Part of U.S. Highway 51 has been closed. KY 80 is closed at the 2.5 mile marker in Carlisle County between Arlington and Columbus.

Other counties have reported minor damage and flooded roadways associated with the afternoon storms. The National Weather Service and local officials will be inspecting the impacted areas Sunday to determine if damage was caused by straight line winds or a tornado.

Kentucky Emergency Management is reminding residents to remain alert for further weather updates by weather radio and local media broadcasts.

Weather forecasts, alerts and warnings can be found here.

Kevin Willis

A series of storms that moved through the region Thursday night caused several fires, including one that killed two people in Louisville. WLKY-TV reported the fire broke out in the middle of thunderstorms last night. Neighbors told arriving firefighters two people were still inside the home.

According to the National Weather Service, strengthening low pressure will move into Indiana today. Scattered strong to severe storms are expected to accompany the resulting cold front.