Remembering the 2004 Pre-Christmas Snowstorm in Western Kentucky
I know what you're thinking, "will we see a white Christmas this year?" Short answer, definitely not as the forecast calls for partly sunny skies and highs in the low 70's on Saturday. This is was not the case 17 years ago. Just as or right before people were hitting the road for Christmas Eve, a historic snowstorm rolled through piling on up to 2 feet of snow in some Tri-State locations.
So, where was I? I (aka Leona) was working and living in Madisonville at the time. Our radio station was on a steep hill with a curvy, paved driveway. Anytime the forecast called for even a scant amount of snow, you had to say a prayer before driving up or down the driveway. Needless to say, getting home was a chore, but when I parked, I don't think I moved my car for several days.
As you can see, most of us in Western Kentucky saw at least a foot of snow. Evansville got the highest snow totals from the storm, coming in at 22.3 inches with 19 of those falling on December 22nd. It was a record snowfall for 24 hours and the second snowiest in Evansville. Paducah set a record 14.2 inches falling in a 24-hour period. Henderson County also saw at least 18 inches over the two days, possibly two feet.
From the NWS Paducah:
"This winter storm was accompanied by gusty north winds that produced drifts up to 5 feet deep. Many roads were closed or impassable. Interstate 64 in southwest Indiana was closed for about three days due to extensive drifting. On Interstate 24 in western Kentucky, a 29-mile long traffic jam formed from Trigg County into Lyon County. An estimated 1,000 people were stranded in their vehicles overnight. The National Guard was mobilized for both the Interstate 64 and Interstate 24 incidents. Traffic was reported stopped on other interstates as well, including the interchange of Interstates 55 and 57 in southeast Missouri. Record cold low followed the snow, with temperatures as low as 10 below on Christmas morning."
Oh yeah, the roads. I had to be chauffeured to and from work for a couple of days, and when Christmas arrived, my parents had to come and pick me up. A normal trip from Hartford to Madisonville (vice versa) takes about 45 minutes to an hour. That day it took them several hours to get there, and when we were coming back, we saw numerous cars stuck in the median, off the road, or we saw cars sliding. We drove at a snail's crawl.
See more pictures and the complete report from the National Weather Service in Paducah on the event HERE.