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Severe weather moving through Central Kentucky, Southern Indiana this week

Michelle Hanks | Louisville Public Media

The National Weather Service in Louisville is asking people to be on high alert for severe weather Tuesday, with the most concerning storms expected to arrive after 4 p.m.

Ground-soaking rain began moving through the area Tuesday morning. Multiple rounds of strong to severe storms are expected to follow in the afternoon and into night, with additional storm fronts expected Wednesday.

Mike Kochasic, a meteorologist with the NWS, said residents need to make a plan now on what they will do if they encounter a tornado or other dangerous weather.

“Don’t wait until it’s too late,” he said. “Think about what kind of emergency kits you have. When severe weather strikes, where are you going to go with your family? Go to the lowest level of your home, your basement or an interior room without windows.”

Kochasic also advised residents to make sure their phones are charged and they have a backup for receiving important weather alerts, like a battery-powered radio.

National Weather Service

The severe weather moving through the Louisville area is due to a “very strong” upper-level low pressure system combined with rotating jet stream energy, Kochasic said. It’s expected to bring several bouts that could include large hail, damaging winds and strong tornadoes.

The NWS is projecting 1-2 inches of rain over the next two days, although storms could dump even more water onto certain parts of the region.

All of Southern Indiana and Central Kentucky were under a “severe weather outlook” Tuesday morning. NWS warnings showed a 10-14% chance for an EF-2 tornado or greater for both regions, along with 15-29% chances for hail and damaging winds up to 70 mph.

“Tornado risk speaking, days like the next couple days only happen maybe once or twice in an entire calendar year,” Kochasic said. “This could be the event we talk about for 2024.”

Because milder storms already drenched the ground Tuesday morning, the severe weather systems moving through the area also bring the risk of flooding.

At a press conference Tuesday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said residents need to stay aware of the flooding threat.

“If you are out on the roadways and you hit flooding, turn around and don’t drown,” he said. “We’ve lost far too many people thinking that they can get through something. It’s not worth it. You love your family more than where you’re trying to get to.”

State office buildings will close at 2 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, Beshear said, in order to give state employees time to get home and off the roads before the worst of the storms roll in.

Beshear told residents to keep in mind that the state lost 81 people in 2021 to the worst tornado event Kentucky’s ever seen.

Kentucky Emergency Management will be operating at a heightened level for the next two days, officials said.