With three winter storms in just seven days, more than 5 inches of total snow accumulation impacted Bowling Green last week – the highest total the city has seen in five years.
However, the total still pales in comparison to historic storms in 2016 and 2015.
Jan. 22, 2016, had the third-highest snowfall ever recorded in Bowling Green at 12.2 inches. Between Feb. 16 and March 4, 2015, two storms totaling between 7.2 and 9.6 inches both struck the city.
WxOrNot meteorologist Landon Hampton said if it wasn’t for a pocket of warmer air – called a “warm nose” – that appeared over the area Monday, Bowling Green could have easily seen a total similar to that of 2015.
“For sure, it’s the most significant winter weather event in over five years,” Hampton said. “While 2015 and 2016 were historic amounts, I compare this mostly to another event that occurred back in March 2014 where that warm nose in the atmosphere appeared, and we got almost 2 inches of sleet with some snow on top of that.”
While the previous week’s total was not necessarily “historic” in nature, it did suspend most activities in the city.
Western Kentucky University, Warren County Public Schools and the Bowling Green Independent School District all canceled in-person classes for the vast majority of the week.
But none of the three recent storms impacted the area like some storms in previous years.
“The most catastrophic event the area has seen recently is still the ice storm of 2009,” Hampton said. “We had an inch of ice here while Butler and Edmonson County both saw around 2 inches then. That’s the most crippling event that I can recall the area experiencing in recent memory.”
Despite the week not showing up high in the record books, Hampton said this was a rare stretch in which the trifecta of winter weather storms (with ice, sleet and snow) all hit the region in a short amount of time.
“This was an extremely exhausting week for us meteorologists, but I do have to thank the support of those in the community who continuously provided updates throughout the past several days,” Hampton said.
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 3 Public Information Officer Wes Watt said road crews were faced with everything a winter storm could possibly throw at them. However, thanks to a day full of sunshine Friday, crews finally got a rest after working continuous 12-hour shifts throughout the week, he said.
“We still had a few counties where our crews had to work through the night on Thursday,” Watt said. “However, most of all our Priority A, B and C routes are clear now. We are focusing on rural roads moving forward. We are certainly glad to see this event finally come to an end. Some county crews have worked all the way through the past 10 days.”
Watt noted it had been “several years” since district crews worked 12-hour shifts for over a week, but it is something they have seen before and expect to see in the future.
“Ice storms are the worst things we can face,” Watt said. “We consider ourselves very lucky that we did not have the ice that hit us back in 2009. But it has been several years since we have seen this much ice.”
Hampton said winter storms will be absent from the region in the immediate future as temperatures will regularly be well above freezing throughout the upcoming week.