Update: SCPS cancels after-school care, some evening events

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Severe weather wave expected 2-4 p.m.

By Lisa King

Shelby County Public Schools is notifying parents that due to the potential of dangerous storms after-school care has been cancelled along with some evening events.

“All elementary children should arrive home without delay based on current weather conditions,” Public Relations Coordinator Duanne Puckett said in a release. “Monitoring of the weather continues, so in the event a storm-front comes through at the time secondary schools need to be dismissed, a decision will be made whether to hold buses until an "all clear" has been issued to ensure safe travel home.”

The National Weather Service has issued a special weather statement this afternoon stressing there is a significant threat for severe and tornadic thunderstorms this afternoon and evening for Central Kentucky.

Strong storms are expected to erupt around the I-65 corridor during the early afternoon hours, from 2 to 4 p.m. These storms will produce large hail, damaging winds and some tornadoes. Some could stay on the ground for long periods, the NWS said.

The situation could worsen from 4 to 5 p.m. with storms moving east from along the I-65 corridor toward the Bluegrass Region and Southcentral Kentucky. Effected counties include all those surrounding Shelby County except Franklin.

Shelby County escaped almost unscathed Wednesday when tornadoes swept Kentucky just south of the area, but March may have more of a roar today.

Storms on Wednesday left a deadly trail across the Midwest and damaged homes as nearby as La Rue, and Hardin counties, but in Shelby only about 90 customers of Kentucky Utilities in the vicinity of Bagdad lost power.

“We very lucky,” Shelby County Road Supervisor Carl Henry said.

But Henry and Shelby County Emergency Management Agency Director Paul Whitman both said they are worried about a repeat of that weather today.

Whitman participated in a conference call with the National Weather Service on Thursday and afterwards said he wanted to be sure everyone heard what he had heard, “so that you can be prepared.”

Whitman said the forecast calls for two waves of severe weather.

The first is a warm front will enter the area in the morning between 4 and 10 a.m., bringing widespread showers, thunderstorms and the possibility of hail.

In the afternoon, between 1 and 7 p.m, a cold front will enter the region, and there will be a good chance of significant severe weather with new thunderstorms, large hail, damaging winds and the possibility of tornadoes.

Whitman said the fact that the severe weather missed Shelby County for the most part Wednesday should not lull people into a false sense of security.

Henry agreed.

“I would say that people only pay attention to the weather forecasts only about twenty-five percent of the time, at best,” he said.

Whitman said the weather could be ever worse than predicted.

“Keep in mind, there is still some uncertainty in that forecast, and we just want to give everyone some advanced warning, so they can be more aware,” he said. “Watch TV and listen to the radio, and get your weather-alert radio out.

“The main thing is, just be aware of what’s going on around you. If the sirens go off, you should already have a plan in place of where you’re going to take shelter. And I’m not saying that lightly.

“These things have to be planned out ahead of time. You can’t wait until a tornado or severe weather is already upon us. Whitman said Thursday the season for severe weather is at hand.

“Tonight [Thursday] at Shelbyville City Council, they will be doing a severe weather proclamation, and Tuesday night they will do the same at  Simpsonville and Shelby County Fiscal Court, and Tuesday morning, we will be participating in the statewide tornado drill at 10:07 a.m,.” he said.