Weather officials expect mild winter with some cold snaps

Published 8:18 am Tuesday, January 10, 2017

After a weather webinar about the long-term forecast for this winter, officials are saying to expect more of the same.

Clark County Emergency Management Director Gary Epperson said the weather over the past couple weeks has been a good example of what meteorologists at the National Weather Service think is to come for Kentucky.

“They say it will be a relatively mild winter with some dips like we’ve seen over the past few days,” Epperson said.

He added that, on the whole, temperatures for this winter will be slightly above average for the state.

However, a warmer winter can still bring hazards, some more dangerous than others. One such hazard is flash flooding.

“When you have more rain than usual and you don’t have as much grass or brush to help absorb that amount of precipitation, flash flooding could be at a higher risk,” Epperson said.

He referenced parts of California and Nevada, where recent heavy rains have caused flooding and property damage.

While bad weather can be unavoidable, Epperson said people can lessen the impact it has on them by being prepared and weather aware.

He said in the event of an emergency, the government may not be able to get to everyone impacted in a timely manner, so having the knowledge and supplies needed to survive is important.

“Pay close attention to weather conditions,” he said. “If you live in a flood-prone area you probably already do this. Pay attention to what media outlets are reporting during bad weather.”

Epperson said technology has greatly improved the abilities of both government agencies and the public to deal with hazardous weather.

He said anyone with a smart phone can download the National Weather Service app to receive notifications. He said information is usually pushed out by the Lexington TV stations on their apps as well.

But when all else fails, Winchester residents should fall back on a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association radio. Epperson said the radios can be purchased at most stores where electronics are sold and usually cost $30-50. He advises shoppers look for a radio with a battery backup, so they can still stay in tune with forecasts even if their power goes out.

People should also keep an emergency kit, and have an alternate and safe method of heating their homes if the power should go out, such as a wood stove or a properly ventilated kerosene heater, he said.

Epperson said much of weather preparedness is just practicing common sense by dressing appropriately for the weather and paying attention to what is happening outside.