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Hardin County’s hope for a white Christmas may be in jeopardy.
A rush of southerly winds pushing up from the Gulf of Mexico sent residents scrambling for golf courses as temperatures spiked near record highs.
Mark Adams, lead meteorologist for Fort Knox Weather Operations, said the warm winds are helped by a lack of cloud cover, which allowed the sun to shine unabated Monday, creating solar heating at a time when most residents are used to bundling up. Adams said the presence of clouds can offset warm winds.
But Adams said nightly cloud cover facilitated the warmer weather’s sustainability because the clouds served as a “blanket” to hold in the heat.
“That’s what it takes,” Adams said. “I’ll take it, though. No one is complaining.”
Temperatures in the 70s crush December’s average high of 45 and low of 29. Monday morning’s low only fell to 60, Adams said.
While unseasonably warm, Adams said the temperatures fall short of the area’s extreme high of 77, which was set at Fort Knox in December of 1998.
He expects the warmth to hang around for several days. A weak cold front is expected to move in this week and lower temperatures gradually will return, but the air will remain warmer than usual.
“The temperatures still will be above average,” he said.
The next cold burst, which could bring temperatures down into the teens, should arrive around Dec. 18, he said.
Adams said the area is due for a frigid winter after a few mild seasons, pointing to the lack of heavy snows or stalled arctic fronts in recent years.
Hardin County found itself scrambling early in 2009 when an ice storm and subsequent snowfall left thousands in the county and state without power. Many homeowners were forced into shelters and stood in line to obtain kerosene or propane for warmth in the wake of the storm.
“I hold very little confidence in 90-day forecasts because they haven’t been right for years, but we sure are due for a cold winter,” he said.
Residents around the county were embracing the warmer environment Monday, breaking out short-sleeved clothing and working on their golf games.
Kevin Yankey, an employee at Metro Auto Spa & Lube Center in Radcliff, said he noticed an influx of cars by early morning.
“So far it’s been pretty busy,” he said.
Yankey said he doesn’t typically wear short-sleeve shirts during the final month of the year. “It’s a little odd for December.”
But, Yankey said, “it feels nice.”
Golfers Ed Ditto and Joe Jaggers were teeing off Monday afternoon at Elizabethtown Country Club and said the warm weather was welcome.
“This is a day you’ve got to take advantage of,” Jaggers said.
Ditto said the course sees larger crowds on unseasonably warm days, pointing to last year’s mild winter as a similar reprieve. Most golfers play throughout the year and even have heaters in their golf carts, but he said it is a plus when heating or coats are not needed to enjoy a game.
“This might be the best day you have left all year,” he said. “You just don’t know.”
Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or email@example.com.