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High risk of severe weather coming soon

BY Leanne Fuller lfuller@paducahsun.com

The Paducah area will likely see multiple rounds of thunderstorms in the next few days that could bring tornadoes, large hail and flash flooding, according to the National Weather Service. 

"The severe weather may include just about everything," David Blanchard, a meteorologist and weather service forecaster in Paducah, said Friday.

Blanchard said the stormy conditions could begin late Sunday, but will more likely begin Monday and continue into Tuesday and Wednesday. 

"We have a big area of low pressure that's going to move across the southern U.S. and should be the trigger for all this," he said. "And it should be hanging out through midweek and probably get fairly close to our area."

Blanchard said the low pressure - expected to pass over the Mississippi River Valley and Ohio Valley - may not go directly over the Paducah area, but the effects will be felt here. He said weather around Paducah may not be more settled until Thursday.

While the weather service is fairly confident that some severe weather will occur between Sunday and Wednesday, it's too early to make more specific predictions. 

"This forecast is subject to some change, but overall it should be a wet period." Blanchard said. "I can't nail down at this time when the severe weather will be. As we get closer we should have a better idea."

He added that temperatures will be warm through Wednesday before cooling down 10 degrees or more later in the week. 

Blanchard said weekend highs are expected to be in the 80s, followed by highs in the upper 70s Monday and Tuesday. He said high temperatures will likely be in the 60s on Thursday and Friday. He said low temperatures will likely be in the 60s at the beginning of the week before dropping into the 40s Wednesday night and Thursday morning. 

The forecaster said it is a good idea for people to have plans in place for severe weather or a tornado watch.

"Just have a plan where you're going to go," Blanchard advised. "Stay away from windows...If in a home, get to the lowest floor and put as many walls between you and a tornado as possible. If you're in a building, go to the lowest floor or a basement if you have one."

He advised that one of the best ways people can find out about severe weather is to have a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio. NOAA weather radios are special receivers people can buy which are capable of picking up frequencies that carry National Weather Service warnings and watches. 

"We have 11 transmitters around the four-state area, and you can pick up on those special frequencies," he said. "You can get (the radios) at hardware stores and general discount stores."

Contact Leanne Fuller, a Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8653.

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