It could be ugly: Much of Kentucky under enhanced risk of severe weather Sunday

Much of Kentucky will be under an enhanced risk for severe weather Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

The agency’s Storm Prediction Center said in a forecast issued late Friday that the development of widespread strong to severe thunderstorms appears possible Sunday afternoon through Sunday night.

The area covered in the forecast included most of Kentucky and nearby areas in northern Tennessee, as well as parts of Indiana, Illinois and Missouri.

It’s possible the weather pattern could include the development of “at least one large, long-lived organized cluster of storms posing a risk for damaging wind gusts” through much of Kentucky, meteorologists said.

The weather service office in Louisville said in a forecast there is a chance for widely scattered storms in parts of Kentucky Saturday, including Lexington and Central Kentucky, that could produce brief heavy rainfall and locally gusty winds.

Severe storms Sunday could produce damaging winds, with “localized hurricane-force gusts.”

The storms will bring the possibility of large hail, tornadoes and localized flooding.

The weather service said a “major severe weather outbreak” is possible Sunday in Western Kentucky, with one round of storms in the morning and another in the afternoon and evening.

In a post on the Kentucky Weather Center, WKYT meteorologist Chris Bailey said the forecast is for storms to come in waves that develop across Indiana, Illinois and western Kentucky then roll to the east.

“All modes of severe weather are on the table. Damaging winds, large hail and a few tornadoes will be possible,” Bailey said.

The weather could make for a soggy start to the traditional start of the tourist season on Kentucky’s lakes.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said in a release Friday that there are estimates for 2 to 3 inches of rain in southern Kentucky, where the agency manages popular Lake Cumberland and Dale Hollow Lake.

The Corps of Engineers encouraged people to postpone recreation on the Cumberland River downstream from Wolf Creek Dam, which is in Russell County, and from Dale Hollow Dam, which is near Celina, Tenn.

Water levels in the Cumberland River basin remain up because of earlier heavy rain, with strong currents, and the Corps of Engineers expects to increase water releases from both dams Saturday, the agency said.

The Corps urged people to remain vigilant and practice water safety.

“Memorial Day is a time to remember those who died protecting their loved ones and their country,” Lt. Col. Robert Green, commander of the Corps’ Nashville District, said in the release.

“Wherever your Memorial Day recreation plans take you, we want you to come home safely.”