Whitesburg KY
Partly cloudy
Partly cloudy

County still in drought despite heavy rainfall

While Tuesday’s heavy rains helped somewhat, Letcher County remains in a moderate hydrologic drought, said a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Bran Schoettmer, a meteorologist with the NWS in Jackson, said when drought data is updated on January 8 the one to three inches of rainfall Letcher County was expected to receive Tuesday night “will put a dent” in the drought.

Schoettmer said Letcher County had a deficit of 10 inches of rainfall with 32.77 inches of rainfall in 2008.

Schoettmer said the normal amount of rain for this area in one year is 42.75.

“The first week of 2009 has been quite wet and is already a half an inch above normal with the rainfall tonight still to come,” Schoettmer said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a University of Kentucky meteorologist says the storms and cold temperatures that teased Kentuckians with hopes of a white Christmas probably will continue for the first half of this month.

“We should see the same thing through mid-January — below average temperatures and some snow,” said Keys Arnold.

“After the middle of January, things should warm up a little,” Arnold added.

Arnold based his forecast on climate models issued by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center in Maryland, which studies global atmospheric and oceanic circulations and compares these findings to 30-year trends.

Arnold noted there has been no dramatic shift in the El Nino-La Nina effect off the coast of Peru and Ecuador. “El Nino” refers to a warming of the Pacific Ocean waters off northwestern South America, increasing atmospheric moisture that falls as rain and snow in the United States. “La Nina” is a cooling of those waters, leading to dryness in northern climes. They are part of the El Nino Southern Oscillation.

Arnold said over the winter of 2009, Kentucky may experience “a little more snow than normal” because of slight shifts in the jet stream. Those shifts may bring different storm tracks, putting Kentucky right in the path of some harsh storms.

Leave a Reply