FRANKFORT, Ky.: (Dec. 4, 2013) -  Forecasts for winter storms for much of Kentucky over the next several days have prompted the National Weather Service (NWS) offices serving Kentucky to issue a Winter Storm Watch for most of the state. 

Kentucky's emergency management officials began tracking the approaching winter weather systems with the NWS early this week and have maintained communications as the weather develops.

NWS representatives held conference calls today with emergency management and elected officials statewide about the possibly stormy forecast.

Statewide forecasts:

Central Kentucky - Rain, sometimes heavy at times, will occur Thursday and Thursday night and will, change to a wintry mix Friday as colder air moves in. Sleet and light ice accumulations can be expected. , Snow accumulations of 2 to 4 inches may be expected along the Ohio River counties, and 2 to 3 inches of snow from Bowling Green through Lexington in the more central Bluegrass counties.

Eastern Kentucky - The primary threat is heavy rain Friday through Sunday. Rainfall amounts may vary from 2 to 3 inches, potentially flooding small creeks, streams and poor-draining urban areas. A second system arriving Sunday could bring additional rainfall of 1 to 2 inches for the region.

Western Kentucky - Precipitation has already begun; light rain and scattered showers will continue as the front approaches.  The majority of the inclement weather is predicted to begin impacting far western Kentucky late Thursday afternoon. Rain, sleet, freezing rain and snow are in the forecast. Southern Missouri and southern Illinois can expect 4 to5 inches of snow, and Kentucky counties along the lower Ohio River can expect 2 to 4 inches of snow.  Most western and west-central counties are expected to receive 1 to 2 inches of snow; however, and up to a quarter inch of freezing rain may be possible. Timing and total accumulations will vary depending on the system movement.

Northern Kentucky - Counties along the Ohio River in extreme northern Kentucky will see a mix of wintry weather and may see up to 3 to 7 inches of snow.

Another weather system is approaching after the first storms pass through Kentucky.  The second weather system will impact the state late Sunday through Monday, followed by frigid temperatures. Residents living along rivers and major streams should monitor levels as this second round of precipitation may increase the risk of minor flooding.

The Commonwealth Emergency Operation Center (CEOC), located in Frankfort, remains activated at a heightened level of alert, and additional staffing is on standby if activation of the CEOC to a higher level becomes necessary. Along with local emergency management officials, Kentucky Emergency Management (KYEM) continues to maintain increased situational awareness and communications with Governor Steve Beshear's office, the National Weather Service, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's Operation Center, and Kentucky State Police.

"If the forecasts hold true, this could be a statewide event," said KYEM Interim Director Mike Jones. "The forecast includes freezing rain and snow in the west and central part of the state to large amounts of rain in the east and southeastern regions. Everyone should be aware of the potential risks and dangers from these storms and prepare ahead of time. The best advice is to stay home, but if you must travel, allow extra time, take it slow and allow plenty of space between vehicles."

KYEM recommends all Kentuckians know the risks and review winter emergency plans. Check batteries in flashlights, radios and other devices. If you have a generator, make sure it is working properly and you are familiar with using it safely.

Road conditions throughout the state can be found on the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's website at www.511.ky.gov, by calling 511 in Kentucky or 1-866-737-3767 for out-of-state callers. 

Complete weather forecasts by region can be found at www.weather.gov .

Safe Driving Information:

* Ice and snow: take it slow!

* Leave early; arrive safely

* Have a winter safety kit in your car with blankets, food, etc.

* In Kentucky, call 511 or visit www.511.ky.gov  for statewide traffic Information

Power outage and generator safety:

* Avoid downed power lines

* Do not burn charcoal grills or run generators indoors.  Carbon monoxide is odorless and kills silently.

* Check your generator and fuel before the power goes out

* Improperly hooking a generator to your home's main power can energize lines outside the home and injure workers trying to restore power.

Winter safety tips, including winter driving tips, can be found on the KYEM web site at www.kyem.ky.gov . Follow KYEMPIO on Twitter and 'like' us on Facebook.





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