2010: Anything but the Same Auld Lang Syne

Shane Holinde has a look back at the major weather events that made headlines this past year in South-Central KY.

Well...it is time to put the wraps on another year, and what a year 2010 was for South-Central KY!  It was a year that gave snow lovers ample reason to smile.  It was a year in which (thankfully) we dodged very strong tornadoes, though we certainly had our share of severe weather.  It was a year that saw us go from one extreme (too wet) to another (too dry).  And it was a year that had us shivering at times while sweltering at others.  It was 2010. 

Every year at this time, I list my "Top 10 Weather Events" of the past twelve months.  My colleagues (Chris and Stephanie) have also come up with their top 10.  Just as forecasters may disagree on exactly how the future may play out, the three of us have differences on how we rated the weather events.  We do, however, agree on the placement of a number of these events.  My top 4 events are identical to Chris'.  There is one very memorable event that ranks high on everyone's list, though. 

First, here is Chris' Top 10 of 2010: 

10.  April 7th Severe Outbreak.  Though there were no tornadoes reported with this one, numerous counties across South-Central KY experienced damaging winds of over 60 mph on this day.  No injuries in this event, however. 

9. April 24th Severe Outbreak.  While it was far worse for our neighbors to the south, the Blue Grass state got a piece of the action on this Saturday.  This outbreak featured two tornado touchdowns in the WBKO viewing area (one in Edmonson Co and another in Christian Co), with numerous trees and power lines snapped in other counties.  By the way, this is the same day in which a long-tracked tornado tore through the state of Mississippi, with Yazoo City being devastated. 

8. Wild Turkey.  This refers to Thanksgiving Day, in which our weather literally ran the gamut!  We went from a near record high of 72° in Bowling Green that afternoon, to seeing heavy rain and thunderstorms along with strong winds that evening.  Then came a big temperature tumble, with readings plunging into the 30s by late that night.  With enough moisture still around, rain changed to a period of snow across much of South-Central KY around or just prior to midnight.  While Bowling Green received just a light dusting, some portions of Butler, Grayson, and Logan Counties reported 1" to as much as 1.5" of snow...pretty rare stuff for November. 

7. October Squall line.  Many severe weather events happen in the afternoon or evening, but on Tuesday, Oct. 26th, storms came early as a squall line marched into the region.  This line produced scattered wind damage along with several relatively weak tornadoes.  One of those twisters--an EF-1--touched down just SE of Bowling Green, traveling over Cemetery Rd.  Thankfully, no one was injured. 

6. Big January Snow.  It had been 14 years since Bowling Green had seen a single snowstorm bring more than 5", but that streak ended on January 29th, when a low tracking across Dixie spread moderate to heavy snow into South-Central KY.  Officially, BG ended up with 5.5", but amounts of 6-9" were common for many areas south and east of the city.  To the north, a general 3-6" fell.  Not a very crippling snowfall, but it made for some rough travel conditions for a couple of days...not to mention some good sledding. :)

5.  A Snowy Year!  I mentioned it had been a long time since Bowling Green picked up more than 5" of snow from one storm.  Well, it's also been a VERY long time since the city received more than 20" of snow in a calendar year.  When you add up January's snow total of 8.1" with February's of 7.3" and December's of 8.3", you get 23.6".  That's our biggest snowfall within one year (though not within one season) since 1979!

4. Scorching Summer.  The heat began early and was with us often in the Summer of 2010.  Among the dozens of 90°+ days Bowling Green racked up between June and September came three 100° days in August.  We ven flirted with 90° in mid-October before more fall-like air finally took over.  Incidentally, this year's period from June 1-August 31st, known as "meteorological summer", is the 3rd hottest such period for Bowling Green since record-keeping started. 

3. Drought.  As it hard as it seemed for some to believe, we quickly went from an abnormally soggy spring to a very dry late summer/early fall.  While the drought for Bowling Green was not as severe as it was for parts of northern/western KY, it definitely took its toll on late season crops and vegetation.  Only a little over 1" of rain fell for all of September, with October also being dry...even for October standards.  Several rain events in mid-late November -- including the one on Thanksgiving Day -- did well to chip away at that drought, effectively ending it for much of KY.

2. White Christmas.  It was enough to make Bing Crosby croon:  3-5" of snow on Christmas Eve night...more than enough to provide Bowling Green its first White Christmas since 1993.  For others (ie Butler, Ohio, Muhlenberg, and Grayson Cos), it was the first since 2004.  The snow made for some very picturesque scenes across our area. 

And (drumroll) Chris' Number 1 weather event for 2010: 

1.  May Flooding and Severe Weather.    The rising rivers, the flooded roads, the rain that seemingly wouldn't cease.  The Derby weekend flood will long be remembered by many in South-Central KY, especially those that saw their homes, business, or churches washed away.  The high waters claimed the lives of several in the Commonwealth, with many more lives lost in Tennessee, where almost every interstate leading to and from Nashville was closed at the height of the event.  Of course, we all know what happened there, but many communties in South-Central KY also had to sweat out the rapid rises along the Green and Barren Rivers, as well as their tributaries.  If that's not enough, we also had severe weather that weekend, with tornadoes touching down in Christian County as well as Monroe County.  When the rains finally stopped that Sunday night, some 9.66" fell in Bowling Green, the biggest two-day rainfall for the city since records have been kept.  Some spots south/east picked up more than a foot over that weekend.  It really was an incredible event. 

Now for Steph's Top 10:

10. June Tornado in Adair County.  While not strong (only an EF-0), this twister downed a tree onto a house and flattened a barn near Columbia on June 9th.

9. "Wild Turkey"

8. White Christmas

7. Scorching Summer

6. Snowy Year

5. Apr. 24th Severe Outbreak

4. October Squall Line

3. Drought

2. May Floods/Severe Weather

1. Big January Snow

And here's my Top 10:

10. 5th Snowiest December All-Time for Bowling Green (8.3")

9. Wild Turkey

8. Apr. 24th Severe Outbreak

7. October Squall Line

6. Snowy Year

5. Big January Snow

4. Scorching Summer

3. Drought

2. White Christmas

And my #1 Event of 2010:

1. May Flooding and Severe Weather

So there you have it.  Agree with us?  Disagree with us?  Let us know!

Now we wait and see what 2011 has to offer.  I wish you a Happy New Year, and as the late Willard Cockrill (former WBKO meteorologist) used to say, "may you always enjoy the weather".

Shane

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