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UPDATE: Louisville put on tornado watch as strong winds and storms move through the area Wednesday

A graphic from the National Weather Service detailing the risk for storms across the Ohio River vally.
National Weather Service
Parts of the region are under a tornado watch Wednesday.

Less than a week after massive storms and tornadoes ripped through the South and Midwest, a cold front is heading towards Louisville, possibly creating damaging winds and rain. The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for the area, with storms already sighted in southern Indiana.

Damaging winds and storms are expected to roll through large swaths of Kentucky and Indiana with a risk of spin-up tornadoes and hail. The National Weather Service put the area on a tornado watch until 5 p.m. Wednesday. The storms, which have already begun appearing in southern Indiana, will be created by a cold front that is en route to travel from the upper Mississippi River valley and collide with the warm temperatures in the Ohio River valley, according to Brian Neudorff, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service.

The predicted cold front will come less than a week after storms and tornadoes ripped through the South and Midwest and just a month after deadly, high-speed winds and storms tore through Kentucky, leaving behind widespread damage and hundreds of thousands without power.

The front creating storm conditions formed over Tuesday night and will move toward Louisville over the course of the day Wednesday. The highest risk for thunderstorms and damaging winds will be Wednesday afternoon and evening.

“The threat is pretty much all day, but it gradually increases as that cold front gets closer,” Neudorff said Tuesday.

The cold front will likely hit western Kentucky and southern Indiana first before moving through Louisville between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Wednesday. The storm will likely dissipate by 9 p.m., leaving only isolated showers throughout the night that will clear by noon Thursday.

Winds have already reached speeds of 35 miles per hour in the early morning Wednesday and could peak above 58 miles per hour during severe storms in the evening. The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory for southern Indiana and large portions of Kentucky from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, warning of gusty winds ahead of the storms.

Neudorff said people in the path of the storm should begin preparing now in case of power outages or storm damage. Those who live in modular homes should look for a place to shelter within a 10-minute drive of their home, in case of tornadoes or especially high-speed winds.

“When you get the straight line winds threat, you could have trees like we saw [last month] knock power out,” Neudorff said. “If you lose power, then you're going to want to make sure you have ways of getting communication [in case of tornadoes or other severe weather alerts].”

Though Neurdorff said he doesn’t predict extremely heavy rainfall, there is a chance of isolated flash flooding, especially in places that are prone to flooding.

Once the cold front moves through, Louisvillians can expect a drier weekend with some clouds and sunshine. Though temperatures likely won’t climb to the same highs as Tuesday and Wednesday, the weekend will likely see temperatures in the 60s and lows in the mid-40s.

“Once we get past Thursday, things do look to be a little bit better, quieter, but a bit cooler,” Neudorff said.

Sylvia is the Capitol reporter for Kentucky Public Radio, a collaboration including Louisville Public Media, WEKU-Richmond, WKU Public Radio and WKMS-Murray. Email her at sgoodman@lpm.org.

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