Ice Storm Warning Today

Good Morning Bloggers,

An ICE STORM WARNING has been placed over the KC metro area this morning:

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6:25 AM Radar:

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This is a rather significant area of freezing rain and it is heading directly towards KC early this morning. A line of thunderstorms is on the leading edge, an unusual line of heavy thunderstorms considering it is below freezing this morning. Let’s look at some of the details and your KC weather time-line is posted below.

Here are the graphics I showed last night on the 10 PM news:



A cold surge is arriving this morning, and in combination with an upper level disturbance tracking overhead we are expecting a significant band of freezing rain with a chance of freezing rain thunderstorms to spread up the I-35 corridor. These accumulations I showed last night are possible. I am expecting between 0.10″ and 0.50″ in most areas near KC.  Power outages don’t usually begin until around 1/2″ accumulation happens on the power lines and we will likely fall just short of this potential danger. There is also a chance of sleet before it is over. If it does sleet, then the roads will get covered. If it does not sleet, then most of the roads that are treated will mostly be wet. It will be quite tricky today. Last night we targeted this I-35 corridor to be the center of this system, and it appears to be lining right over this region, which is directly over Kansas City.

Kansas City Weather Time Line:

  • Now through Noon:  Freezing rain spreads over the area and becomes heavy near I-35.  Ice accumulations are likely.  Freezing rain thunderstorms are possible. In these thunderstorms sleet may fall which would coat roads.  Temperatures dropping a couple more degrees into the mid to upper 20s.
  • Noon to 3 PM: The heavy band of freezing rain may change to sleet before ending. The band will slowly shift to the east.  Temperatures in the 20s. Total accumulations of 0.10″ to 0.50″.
  • 3 PM to 6 AM Wednesday:  Temperatures drop a few more degrees, so there will be more freezing of any standing water
  • Wednesday night-Thursday:  Freezing rain and sleet again are likely. Some snowflakes may mix in
  • Friday: There is a chance of rain or freezing rain
  • Saturday: A major winter storm is possible with snow near Kansas City, or just north of the region. We are monitoring this storm closely.

As we showed in yesterdays blog, this part of the pattern is directly related to the first cycle of this years pattern in October. In this first cycle it was rather wet with 5″ of rain in KC. It is an incredible comparison to that first cycle. And, there is some major blocking developing aloft over Greenland. We will discuss this in tomorrows blog and on 41 Action News tonight.

Here is one look at the developing blocking upper high:


That big upper high, the blue H, will have some rather significant influences on the pattern. And, KC may end up with some chances for snow in these next 15 days, not to mention these ice chances.  That is a 575 decameter upper high, which is rather strong. But, it hasn’t formed yet.  This map is valid on March 1st. Let’s see how this evolves.

Please be cautious today and provide a lot of extra time to get around if you have to get out. Thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading the Action Weather Blog featuring Weather2020 and the cycling weather pattern.  Go to Weather2020 Blog and join in the conversation as we all learn together and share in this weather experience.


A Trend Towards A More Significant Icing Risk

Good evening bloggers,

There has been a trend towards two things:  Colder and wetter near KC.  This is an ice forecast that just came out from our in-house computer model. It lines up a bit with the Euro and NAM models.  I am on the air now, so I will update the blog with the new data later.


At around 3:30 PM I noticed a well defined disturbance ejecting northeast out of Mexico. It has my attention right now and it is likely the reason for the increase of ice on the models.  I found this disturbance and it is indeed heading our way:



A Rather Dramatic Front Is Drifting Southeast

Good morning bloggers,

The day begins with a rather fascinating weather pattern across the United States. Kansas City will, once again, likely going to miss any major winter storm systems this week. Last night on 41 Action News I described three to four storm systems that are lining up to affect KC. The most exciting weather will happen all around us, as has been happening the past few years, and a lot of times this winter.  There is a Winter Weather Advisory for parts of our viewing  area across northwestern Missouri and far northeastern Kansas.  Here are the advisories in effect as of this morning:

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I analyzed this surface map real quickly this morning. This is the 7:23 AM surface map showing a rather strong and slow moving cold front approaching from the northwest. Take a look at this:


This cold front is really strong.  Arctic air is located one state away. It was down into the single digits this morning with snow falling over parts of Nebraska. And, incredibly it was 63 degrees in Kansas City at 7 AM this morning. SIXTYTHREE degrees. Wow!  The ground has “sweated” once again and everything is wet without any rain falling as this warm and moist air flows north from the Gulf of Mexico.  What is going to happen with this front, with this pattern? What does this mean for our weather?

The Cycling Weather Pattern:

  • The weather patter is cycling Regularly
  • A unique pattern sets up each fall from around October 1st through November
  • Quasi-permanent anchor troughs and ridges set up in different locations each fall. Storm systems intensify as they approach and move into the anchor troughs, and storm systems are less frequent and weaker as they move through the anchor ridges
  • A cycle length evolves, and then continues through the rest of fall, winter, spring, and summer until a new and unique pattern sets up the next fall

We are currently in this “same pattern” that set up last fall, and we are about to end cycle 3 and begin cycle 4 of this pattern. Take a look at what is showing up on all of the models I have seen. The map comparison below shows the forecast from last nights European model valid February 25th.  Look at the incredible comparison.

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On this map above, you are looking at the 500 mb flow, around 18,000 feet above us, showing the weather pattern that already happened in October, and then the forecast pattern for February 25th.  We have shown dozens of examples this season of the cycling pattern at around a 47-day cycle.  February 25th is exactly 141 days after October 7th, or 47 times 3 days ago (141 days).  This is exactly on cycle. You can’t make this up; pretty incredible.  So, what does this mean for Kansas City, for Chicago, for Amarillo TX, for New York City?  It just snowed again over the northeastern United States, over the big cities of Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston. We predicted this past weekends storm system at the AMS conference in Austin, TX 47 days ago. There we go again, 47-days.  The same pattern continues to produce similar results.  Now, take a look at this.

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Are we finally about to get the pattern to block up? Look at the Arctic Oscillation forecast to dip deep into negative territory for the first time in this pattern. Finally something just a bit different right? Well, this just has to mean good things for KC right? When the AO dips deep negative there is an increased chance of Arctic air blasting south and the jet stream gets forced farther south and is energized. But, will it impact KC?


It will still be the same pattern, but with a potential blocking influence for the first time this season. This map above shows the blocking high well forming near Greenland. We will discuss this more in the coming days.  For now, a strong cold front is heading towards KC.  But, look at what is forecast by 3 PM on Tuesday afternoon:


Are you kidding me? This is the latest NAM model showing all of the winter precipitation types will have shifted mostly into Canada by tomorrow afternoon.  Remember, there are three more systems lining up for later this week. Let’s take a look at the Kansas City Weather Timeline:

  • Today: Cloudy with a chance of showers. The wind will shift to the north with temperatures dropping from the 60s into the 40s, possibly into the 30s this afternoon.
  • Tonight:  Rain showers developing. The chance of rain is going up to 100% by morning.  Temperatures holding steady or possibly rising a bit.  The wind will shift to the east or southeast.
  • Tuesday:  Rain likely in the morning, possibly briefly changing to freezing rain or sleet before ending. Temperatures dropping into the 20s.
  • Wednesday – Thursday:  Mostly cloudy with a chance of freezing rain, sleet, snow, or rain showers.

Thank you for sharing in the Action Weather Blog Experience Featuring Weather2020 & The LRC. Let us know if you have any questions or comments. Go over to the Weather2020 blog and join in the conversation. Have a great day. Let’s see how this trends.


A Storm Approaches: Any Ice?

Good Sunday bloggers,

We are looking at an active weather pattern this week as we track a wet storm Monday-Tuesday, chance of light snow Thursday and a new wet system for Friday-Saturday. We are going to focus on this Monday-Tuesday wet storm as it it quite complex, for multiple reasons.

Let’s begin with a  look at how the cirrus and cirrostratus clouds created a red sky this morning.  They can  bring some of the most beautiful sunrises as they are high in the sky and the sun can shine on them before it rises.

Here is an update on the rainfall statistics since August 1st. We had nearly 20″ of rain from August 1st to October 22nd and we needed a break from the rain. Well, be careful what you wish for as since October 22nd we have seen just 1.70″ with the average through the end of February being 7.21″. This puts us 5.51″ below average. We have a storm system for Monday and Tuesday that has a chance to double our rainfall total since the 22nd October.


SUNDAY: Today we will see high clouds with highs in the 50s along with wind gusts to 40-45 mph from the south. A wind advisory is in effect until 6 PM from around I-35 to the west.


MONDAY MORNING: Tonight we will see a moisture surge from the Gulf of Mexico which brings a low overcast and a temperature rise to around 60°-65° by morning. There will be a chance of drizzle and a few showers as a disturbance races in from the southwest.  There is the slight chance of a thunderstorm.


MONDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING: This is where it becomes complex. We will be tracking areas of drizzle, showers and perhaps a thunderstorm. Now, look closely at the temperatures. Low 30s are found in northwest Missouri with some freezing rain (liquid water freezing on contact with the surface) while 60s are found to the southeast of KC. We are in the 40s as the front slips in. Where will this front set up? Will it waver back and forth? Will it push south and not return as the heavier rain moves in Monday night? The answers to these questions will determine how much ice we see. Also, the answers to these questions are not known at this time as we have a major conflict in the data.


TUESDAY MORNING (5 AM): OK, this is crazy, but possible. The front on this data wavers north and our temperatures in KC rise from the 40s back to 60°-65° with periods of rain, drizzle and a few thunderstorms. The freezing rain is confined to a small area in northeast Kansas and northwest Missouri where temperatures are around 30°. The colder air could easily be 50-100 miles farther south, making the rain, freezing rain. The NAM is the most bullish with this cold.


TUESDAY MORNING (7 AM): On this data, just two hours later the colder air is now heading back south. Temperatures now range from 37° at KCI to 64° in Odessa with heavy rain moving through. Temperatures are in the upper 20s to low 30s in northwest Missouri and northeast Kansas, but the rain is over, limiting icing. The only way we have an ice storm is if the colder air pushes farther south and stronger, because it does look like the rain axis is fairly set.


RAINFALL FORECAST:  Some of the models are showing the biggest precipitation event since the 22nd of October whether it is rain or freezing rain. Rainfall amounts will range from around .10″ northwest to close to 1.50″ southeast. KC has the chance to see 1.25″, but I would not count on it yet as the models are still all over the place.

Here is the overnight NAM model, but the latest model run had a lot less, but then guess what????  There is a second system Wednesday that needs to be monitored closely.


Have a great week and when you see a meteorologist on the street, be kind. This is not going to be an easy forecast with chances of rain, freezing rain and snow. Also, our temperature forecast may be off by 30 degrees depending on what block you live on.

Jeff Penner


Snow, Sleet, Rain, Sun, 50s all Today

Good Saturday bloggers,

A mix of snow, sleet and rain moved across the region with most snow north of I-70 and rain to the south. We had a few reports of snow on grassy surfaces in north KC. There were little to no slick spots as air temperatures were near to above freezing and pavement temperatures stayed above freezing. By the way, St. Louis is having 1″ to 2″ of snow.

Here is the radar from this morning.


There is the chance of a wetter storm system Monday and Tuesday, so let’s go through the next few days.

SATURDAY AFTERNOON: It will become totally sunny with highs in the 50s along with a southwest shifting to northwest breeze 10-25 mph.


SUNDAY: The day will start in the 30s with a light wind. Then, it will become rather windy from the south with gusts over 30 mph as highs climb to around 60°.


MONDAY MORNING: We have an interesting storm system to track Monday and Tuesday. First, Sunday night and Monday morning we will have a surge of moisture so temperatures by morning will rise to 60°-65° with a chance of showers and drizzle.


MONDAY AFTERNOON: A cold front will slowly drift southeast across the area as the flow aloft come from the southwest, parallel to the front. The set up is there for some decent rain with amounts at least .10″-.50″. There is a trend in the heavier direction, but we know how things have gone this year. The one thing in our favor is that the pattern is acting like the start of the first cycle back in October and we had 5″ of rain during that part of the pattern and it was mostly from Lawrence east. So, this upcoming situation does fit the LRC.


MONDAY NIGHT-TUESDAY: The cold front will slowly drift southeast across the region with temperatures ranging from the 20s northwest to 60s southeast. If the precipitation lasts long enough and the colder air comes in stronger we could see freezing rain and sleet Tuesday morning. As is, northwest Missouri has a better chance to see freezing rain and sleet.  This will be something to monitor.


Have a great weekend

Jeff Penner

I”m Just The Same

Good morning bloggers,

It actually snowed at just after midnight. Did anyone else see them? We had a few snow showers start producing snow, with a little mixture of sleet  and rain, but mostly snow at 12:05 AM. So, we went from a temperature of 60 degrees at 7 AM yesterday to snowflakes by midnight.

This weather pattern is likely driving a few of you “crazy”.  It’s time to begin, isn’t it?  I’m just the same as I was, now don’t you understand, I’m just the same as I was, I’m never changing who I am!”.  If  you can figure out where this statement comes from, I will be impressed. “I don’t ever want to let you down!”.  We are living through this “absolutely horrible weather pattern”, that quote is mine!  We are currently sitting at seven snow events in KC.  “The same, but different”, this quote is from the icon, the incredible Gary England. Gary was in the movie Twister.  How many times have you watched that movie? Admit it? Me, personally I have watched it once. But, I have watched parts of the movie a few times.  So, Gary England makes that statement as a storm is approaching OKC in late 2009.  He finally experienced and saw the LRC.  He experience the LRC working.  And, we are experiencing it working in a “horrible” way here in KC the past few years. We are in the WRONG spot again.

Last night we had a huge audience on 41 Action News. Why? Because the Olympics are on NBC.  A huge audience got to see me try to explain snow on radar that was not reaching the ground.

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Look at all of the radar echoes. This was at midnight.  And, a few flakes were coming down in KC.  How do you describe this for the 20th time this season?  And, what is incredible? What’s incredible is that this is the very early stage of a fast moving storm that will produce snow in New York City.  Why is this important? This is important because when I presented to my peers at the national American Meteorological Societies conference in Austin five weeks ago, I made some bold predictions. One of the predictions was for a storm to hit the northeast around President’s Day Weekend. Well, here it is! It is a fast mover in this cycle, but it is here and it began as a few snowflakes in KC.

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This slide above is from what I presented five weeks ago in Austin, TX at the conference.  The statement in red is the storm that was predicted for this weekend. And now look at this forecast:

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Wow! 4-8 inches of snow Saturday night in a fast moving storm. This is directly related to the big storm 45-50 days before, and to their first snowflakes that I experienced in NYC while my plane was being deiced in November. Wow! It’s like there is a cycling pattern, a regularly cycling pattern. By the way, our peer reviewed paper is due to come out in late March. We are looking forward to sharing this with the world.

Have a great day!  Go to Weather2020.com and click on the blog to join in the conversation.  Thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading today’s entry.


“Sweaty” Roads & The Same Pattern Continues To Cycle

Good morning bloggers,

Let’s begin with an interesting phenomenon;  “sweaty” roads.  Warm and moist air is flowing north from the Gulf of Mexico this morning, and it has made it into Kansas City. It has caused the roads to become saturated. In fact all surfaces such as roads, parking lots, decks, driveways, and patios have gotten soaking wet with no rain falling at all.  There are even puddles.  Take a look at Sunny The Weather Dog showing us this interesting weather development:


As it is all wet in KC from the sweaty roads, I doubt this phenomenon happens in Amarillo, TX very often.  They are now up to their 125th day in a row without any rain or snow.  The previous record was 75 days. Do you realize how incredible this continues to become? The record has now been smashed by 50 days and there is no end in sight. Take a look at this:


This morning, I decided to just call up this 16 day total before even looking at the weather pattern that is causing it. Well, first of all we are sharing with you an incredible meteorological discovery in the LRC. So, many of you already know that “the same” pattern continues to cycle and it will continue until late September.  But it doesn’t mean it still won’t surprise us at times. It is “the same, but different” (Gary England 2010).  There will be seasonal differences that we experience at the surface, but the same pattern continues.  Look at that rainfall pattern. The Texas Panhandle into eastern New Mexico continues to be at the epicenter of the expanding and developing drought.

This Drought Monitor graphic was just published this morning from the Climate Prediction Center:

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We will discuss the latest model trends in the comments section over on Weather2020.com. Click on the blog over there. Have a great morning and thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading the Action Weather Blog featuring the LRC. Let us know if you have any questions or comments.


Where Is It Dry? Look At The Next 16 Days

Good morning bloggers,

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Warmer air is moving into the plains states with the Gulf of Mexico open and moisture being pulled northward.  The ground was “sweating” this morning as just a little increase in humidity has caused the cold ground to saturate and everything has gotten wet. Unfortunately the chance of rain will remain low. Take a look at the precipitation forecast for the next 16 days from last nights 00z (6 PM Central) model run:


As we discussed yesterday with Amarillo, TX being near the epicenter of the developing and expanding drought, you can see the Texas Panhandle into southwest Kansas continues to be the target for the least amount of precipitation, well zero.  The exact opposite is forecast to happen over the Tennessee Valley. Wow! Look at that rainfall forecast which goes into the extreme of around 10 inches of rain in spots.  We will discuss this developing pattern in the coming days.

Yesterday we also discussed possible blocking. Well, on the latest 06z model run of the GFS there has been somewhat of an upper high developing.   Some blocking has shown up on the models at times, but then when we get to the time it was forecast to develop it doesn’t. There has been very little blocking or splitting of the flow all winter and this is one of the reasons Kansas City continues to sit at under 10″ of snow for the third year in a row.  Let’s see how the models trend today.  But, take a look at last nights model here that shows some upper high development over Greenland.



These two maps show an upper high, north of Greenland in seven days, the 168 hour forecast, and a larger one forms at 276 hours, or 11 days out.

Have a great day!


Extreme Drought Is Expanding

Good morning bloggers,

We have been concerned this entire season that a drought would be expanding out towards Kansas City.  Droughts are either expanding or contracting. This one is definitely expanding out right now and we can hope that what happened last spring could happen again, and the drought would shrink as we move into April and May, but again, I have concerns.  Amarillo, TX is experiencing something incredible.  Imagine how we would feel if we lived their this winter.  It may not have been as frustrating in Amarillo, when you compare their experience to what weather enthusiasts have experienced in KC.  At least KC has had many chances and seven snowfalls thus far, and a few other minor icing events. Amarillo has had nothing, and not even a chance of anything.  Their previous record without any measurable rain or snow was 75 days. This record is now 48 days longer than any record dry spell in their recorded history:


The dry weather in Amarillo is expanding out across southern Kansas and most of Oklahoma. It is now being placed in the Extreme Drought category by the Climate Prediction Center’s Drought Monitor:



Seasonal Differences Showing Up: This May Lead To A Wild Winter Month Ahead

The fourth cycle of this years pattern will begin in ten to fifteen days.  Jeff and I were analyzing this pattern yesterday and we saw some strong similarities to October showing up. One seasonal difference that could happen if we do indeed have more functional storm systems in October will be Arctic air. There was no Arctic air available in October, but there will likely be a rather large Arctic air mass available in this fourth cycle if this map below is at all accurate.  Here is the temperature forecast valid on February 21st, right around the time the fourth cycle of this years LRC will begin.


This years pattern is cycling every 44-51 days, averaging on a 47-day cycle.  I will make a video for tomorrows blog to show you the first three cycles of this years LRC.  It is rather incredible.  Amarillo, TX last measurable precipitation actually did happen within the first cycle of this years pattern. October 13th is the last precipitation they had; 0.01″ on October 13th, 0.05″ on October 9th.  So, that first storm of the season produced as the LRC was setting up, but not much. Remember, we identify this years pattern to have started around October 7th.  The old weather pattern from the previous year was falling apart around the last week of September into that first week of October. We can call this the transition period of the cycling pattern.   Four days before October 7th, in this transition period, over two inches of rain fell in Amarillo. Something very different began happening just as this years LRC started.

So, here we are about to move into cycle 4.  What can we expect?

  • Will it stay dry in Amarillo?
  • Will the frustrations continue in KC?
  • Will Chicago get blasted again?
  • Will Los Angeles get only their second storm of the season?
  • Will the drought expand and worsen, or begin shrinking?

These questions will be answered in the next few weeks.  Los Angeles had one deadly winter storm this season where over a dozen people were killed in a landslide/mudslide in Ventura county, just north of Los Angeles. A storm produced 1.77″ on January 8th-9th. Do you know what is just blowing my mind this morning, amongst most of what I am writing today?  Los Angeles, downtown at the Civic Center, had only 0.12″ from October 1st through January 7th, and only 0.01″ since January 8th. So, they literally have had only one storm system produce this rainy season.  With a 47-day average cycle, this part of the pattern is due back in California around February 25th.  The driest year in Los Angeles history is around 3.75″, so they need almost 2 more inches of rain just to get to the driest year ever.

The AO and NAO:

What could be HUGE for a major difference in cycle 4?  We have been waiting all winter. One of the reasons I went with 21″ of snow for the winter is that I thought we would have a dip in the AO and NAO indexes a few times, a dip into negative territory. I have seen some indications on recent model runs of blocking developing in the right spots that would benefit KC. Well, for this blocking to happen, we would like to see a big negative dip in the Arctic Oscillation and North Atlantic Oscillation. The NAO dip would be something that just has not happened at all.  Well, could our dreams be answered? Take a look at this mornings indexes that just came out:

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What are we seeing here? Look at those huge dips. Now, these dips, these forecasts are based on the ensemble member runs of the models and we have seen these forecast to happen a couple times before. When the pattern set up in October, I saw the potential for a big dip in these indexes in that first cycle, but when it came down to it, the dip never quite happened. There were a few small dips into negative territory, but no impacting ones. Look at these dips in both of these indexes.

If this were to happen, the big negative dips, then we will likely see an upper high form over Greenland, and maybe over northern Canada or Alaska. This would force the jet stream to be stronger and farther south.  Combine this possibility with that 17-day stretch of stomier weather that produced in October (KC had nearly 5″ of rain in October), then we may be about to see a true winter storm in KC for the first time this winter, and Amarillo’s incredible dry spell may be broken.  It’ something to ponder in the next few days.

Thank you for sharing in this weather experience featuring Weather2020 and the LRC. Click here Weather2020 Blog to join in the conversation, which should be quite interesting today. Have a great Tuesday!


0.8″ Average Per Each Time It Snows In KC

Good morning bloggers,


Is Kansas City the most difficult location to forecast the weather in the world, or at least the United States?  I would argue yes. We do a very good job at it, but this last week has had a black eye on some of the meteorologists in this city.  Think about this statistic:  38 snowfalls in the past four years have added up to 30.4″ of snow, for an average of 0.8″ per snow.  So, if we have any chances of snow, we might as well not look at the models and just predict under an inch and there is a great chance we would be accurate here in KC


Yesterday, it hit 81 degrees in Miami.  It was 50 degrees colder than that in KC.  A big warm up is on the way, however.  We will discuss the pattern and changes in the next blog. If you were watching me last night on 41 Action News after the Olympics you may have seen that I pulled or tore a muscle or tendon in my left arm during the newscast. The clicker, that I use to change the maps, flew out of my hand into the air, and I tried to catch it, and something went out.  Hopefully it is not that bad.  So, today is a short blog entry. Have a great day and thank you for sharing in this weather experience featuring Weather2020 and the LRC.