Kevin Willis, WKU Public Radio

The amount of snow that’s fallen in southern Kentucky over the past year is enough to make the upper Midwest proud.

Bowling Green has seen 43.5 inches of snow between February 14, 2015, and the same date this year.

Western Kentucky University meteorology professor Greg Goodrich says that’s more than five times the normal amount of snow in Warren County over any 12 month period.

“Normally, in that period, we would expect about eight inches. And in some winters we struggle to get even that. So for us to get this many big snow storms is really amazing, and there’s only a few other times when we’ve experienced anything like this.”

The total snowfall seen in the past 12 months in Bowling Green is all the more impressive when compared to cities normally associated with cold weather.

The nearly four feet of snow seen in Warren County is more than what fell during the same time period in Chicago, Minneapolis, and Salt Lake City.

Here’s a look at the total amount of snowfall in select cities between Feb. 14, 2015 through Feb. 14, 2016, courtesy of Professor Goodrich:

Last week’s winter storm set a record in Bowling Green.  Friday’s snowfall was the third unusually large snowstorm to impact the region in the past 12 months. 

The 12.2-inch snowfall was the third largest single-day snowfall in Bowling Green history dating back to 1893.  State Climatologist Stuart Foster at WKU said the snow also came on the heels of nearly ten inches in February 2015 and more than seven inches last March.

"Those came with a lot of complicating factors in terms of some frigid temperatures and then after one of those events, we had a lot of rain on top of that," Foster said.  "While we had a lot of snow this time, we kind of dodged a bullet too."

During the peak of Friday’s snow storm, more than seven inches of snow fell in a six-hour period between 7:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. 

Eastern portions of the state also posted some impressive snowfall amounts of up to 22 inches.  Accumulations were much lower in western Kentucky.

A massive snowstorm that affected most of the East Coast finally ended Sunday morning, leaving in its wake 1-3 feet of snow over major cities, at least 18 storm-associated casualties and severe coastal flooding.

While the snow has stopped, the weather warnings continue. High winds will create blowing and drifting snow in some areas, the National Weather Service warns. And while New York City lifted a police-enforced travel ban on Sunday morning, many authorities are asking citizens to refrain from driving for another day as efforts to clear off the roads continue.

Lance Dennee / WKMS

The AP is reporting that I-75 in eastern Kentucky has been reopened Saturday afternoon following the winter storm that hit the state Friday.

Some motorists were stranded on the interstate for hours. An official tells the AP there were no injuries related to the traffic standstill.

Update at 10:00 a.m.:

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet office in Elizabethtown issued the following update on road conditions throughout the region Saturday:

With snow and ice teams working around the clock since late Thursday night, most primary routes in District 4 have improved greatly since accumulating precipitation ended and moved east. I-65, Western Kentucky Parkway and Bluegrass Parkway are all open but traffic continues moving at a slower than normal pace.

U.S. highways such as 31-W, 31-E, 60, 62 and 150 are still covered in many places, particularly in our eastern counties where snow accumulation totals are between 12 and 15 inches.

Secondary roads which include many state routes are still mostly covered.  These will be a major focus for snow and ice teams today.  Crews will continue to plow roads and treat where possible.  Sunshine will be very favorable to improving road conditions.  Crews will work into the evening, but with temperatures forecast generally close to zero around the region, chemical treatments will be ineffective.  After plowing is complete today, treatment will resume on Sunday.

The Harsh Winter Was Costly for Kentucky Road Crews

Apr 22, 2014

This past winter was a costly one for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. The agency says it spent more than $68 million on snow and ice removal. That's about 1 1/2 times the cost of a typical Kentucky winter.

The Cabinet's nearly 2,000 maintenance crew employees worked to keep more than 60,000 lane miles of roads open during 31 separate snow and ice events. To keep the roads clear, the Cabinet spread more than 438,000 tons of salt, compared with 194,000 tons state crews put down on roads during a mild winter the year before. On average, crews spread 200,000 to 250,000 tons of salt in a year.

This past winter fell short of being a record-setter. The Cabinet says the winter of 2010-2011 cost $74 million and 450,000 tons of salt.

Kentuckians are about to get reminded that spring isn't here just yet.

A cold front moving through the commonwealth Sunday could drop up to 3 inches of snow across the Bluegrass before dusting the mountains.

Forecasters say the front also will bring 20-mph wind with gusts up to 35 mph.

The National Weather Service office in Louisville has nearly three dozen Kentucky counties under weather advisories starting Sunday afternoon into the Monday morning rush hour. Even places where the snow doesn't stick for long could have a tricky commute since temperatures are expected to fall throughout the day Sunday and remain below freezing well into Monday.

Most of Kentucky received between 2-3 inches snow Sunday night into Monday morning. Mike Callahan with the National Weather Service office in Louisville says that snow was preceded by quite a bit of freezing rain and sleet

“Then, the cold air aloft came in and changed the freezing rain over to sleet, and it sleeted for quite a while,” said Callahan. “In the Bowling Green area, we had reports of as much as two inches of sleet. And finally, after midnight in changed into snow.”

Callahan says the storm "could have been much worse" had there been more freezing rain Sunday night.  He says temperatures should climb above freezing Tuesday and we should see a warming trend for the rest of the week. 

But will this mark the final winter storm of the season?

“Unfortunately, it is too early to tell,” said Callahan.  “However, our long-range patterns are starting to show perhaps a break in this cold pattern, maybe starting in mid-March.”

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

This week’s snowfall and ice across parts of Kentucky are taking a toll on the Transportation Cabinet’s salt supply. Spokesman Chris Jessie says District 4 – which includes Hardin, Hart, Larue and eight other surrounding counties, has had to order reinforcements and borrow from the reserve stock in Louisville.

“We’re keeping close watch on the forecast through this upcoming week,” said Jessie.  “So while we have salt on hand in our District 4 counties, if we continue to get these rounds of snow and ice as we’ve had over the past week, our situation will become more critical.”

He says crews are currently using salt “wisely”, but if supplies continue to diminish they may have to resort to conservation efforts.  He says that means treating only main routes and those roadways with the highest volume of traffic.  

“We want to be sure motorists understand this potential conservation method before we have to implement it,” said Jessie.

As of last week, the Transportation Cabinet said that crews had spread more than 220,000 tons of salt across the state this winter.

More Snow Expected in Kentucky Saturday

Jan 24, 2014

More snow is headed for Kentucky.

The National Weather Service is forecasting up to 4 inches of accumulation on Saturday for a portion of the state.

The weather service says up a system is expected to hit the state early Saturday and could bring up to 4 inches of snow in central and eastern Kentucky. Northern Kentucky is expected to see up to three inches of accumulation and south-central parts of the state could see up to an inch of snow.

It comes on the heels of another system that dropped 3-5 inches of snow over a large section of the state earlier in the week.

The weather service is also warning of high winds and frigid temperatures. Wind chill readings could have some areas seeing subzero temperatures.

Officials with the Kentucky Public Service Commission say there are about  93 hundred power outages in storm damaged areas of Kentucky, as of  mid-morning Monday. That number does not include outages in areas served by municipal utilties or by rural electric cooperatives in the Tennessee Valley system.

The National Weather Service predicts a mix of wintry weather is on the way tonight into tomorrow morning. Kentucky Transportation Cabinet crews have started pre-treating highways in western and northern Kentucky in anticipation of possible sleet or snow tonight.