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Rain, Snow, Arctic Blast and Wind

Good Saturday bloggers,

The weather this weekend will be quite active as part of a storm system in the southwest USA moves northeast and merges with a strengthening storm system dropping in from the northwest. The new data coming in this morning is trending stronger on the storm and it is digging bit harder. This will likely still pull in warmer air and push the heaviest snow potential north, like Gary had last night.  It is even raining in Omaha early this morning.  The NAM continues to show the rain/snow line just north of Kansas City, but we still believe this is likely too far south. Eventually later tonight, and IF the storm does dig farther south, then we will likely see a better chance of a few hours of snow Sunday morning and this is when most of the accumulations will likely occur.  Here are all of the weather events this weekend.  Lets go through it.

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First, here is a shot of the radar from early Saturday.  The rain extends south all the way into Texas.  So, we will have rain all day and night with up to 1″ possible.  Temperatures will be 35° to 40°.  Some snow may mix in to our west and north.

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Saturday at 3 PM.  Rain will be widespread, even in northern Missouri.  There will be a few patches with mixed snowflakes (pink).

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Sunday at 630 AM.  Tonight the rain will change to snow in northern Missouri as Arctic air comes rushing south.  The Arctic front will be roaring through here 7-9 AM Sunday. We will still see rain until this front moves through.

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Sunday, 7 AM to Noon.  This is when the Arctic air will be flowing in.  The rain will change to snow as the main precipitation moves away.  Temperatures will fall from the mid 30s to mid 20s by noon with 40 mph wind gusts.  So, slick spots will form Sunday morning as the water on the surfaces freeze and a coating of snow covers the water.  Sometimes, this becomes very slick all over the place and sometimes this is just spotty.  This will likely be somewhere in between.  It will be worse if we are under doing the temperature drop.  Sunday afternoon will see 40 mph wind gusts with snow showers and flurries with wind chills in the single digits.  We will bottom out around 8° Monday morning.

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Here is our snowfall forecast map.  There is little change from what Gary showed Friday night.

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Have a great weekend and meteorologist JD Rudd will have an update this afternoon and night.

Jeff

New Data On Friday Night

It’s Friday Night in the Big Town,

The new data is trickling in and while we analyze this take a look at what has happened temperature-wise this month, including our forecast high of 37° tomorrow.

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Before I even look at the data let me tell you what I saw in today’s trend.  The models all have been trending consistently into this system digging slightly harder. What does that mean? It means, first of all, that it is becoming a stronger storm system, a more organized storm system. And, secondly, it needs to continue this trend if Kansas City is going to see any significant snow. By digging harder, this will mean there is more curvature to the upper level flow and the storm is a bit stronger.

New data analysis:

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What would you forecast if this map above verifies? This is such an unusual set-up.  There are factors that aren’t quite “normal”.  The 850 mb temperatures for example likely are cold enough for snow the entire time from beginning to end. And, I am talking about for Kansas City.  But, there is a layer from just above the surface to around 2,000 feet up that is near to just above freezing. It would be just thick enough to melt the snowflakes into big rain drops in Kansas City, but what about St. Joseph, Hiawatha, Trenton, Maryville, Chillicothe and other locations just north of us? This is very complex and rain and snow amounts are likely to vary greatly.  The storm has trended farther south on this model run. Take a look at how organized the storm gets at the 850 mb level (5,000 feet up) by Sunday morning:

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I am going to work on some graphics and make a snowfall forecast chart and post it here later on. I will have all of this on our 10 PM newscast, and then watch our weather team over the weekend for updates.

Here is the snowfall forecast map I just showed at 10 PM. Again, this is quite complex and we will adjust this in the morning.

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Gary

More Rain Than Snow

Good morning bloggers,

It has been a dry start to 2015 with only 0.21″ of melted down precipitation so far this month. A storm system is approaching and it is looking much more like a rain event than a snow event once again.  There has been measurable snow at KCI Airport on January 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th, 11th, and 12th, the most being on the 3rd and 4th when 0.4″ accumulated. This is a grand total of 1.6″ of snow this month, and 4.7″ for the season.  We will be adding another  small amount this weekend as yet another storm will struggle to produce any significant snow in our area. Last night I posted these two maps, and I have circled the most likely scenarios, which is good and bad news:

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The good news, and confidence is still a little shaky, is that it appears many locations will have a nice soaking rain event with this approaching storm. The moisture spreading into the desert southwest is going to get tapped and pulled into this developing storm and cold bands of rain are the most likely precipitation type beginning Saturday morning and continuing into Saturday night. And, as a result of a slow changeover to snow, the snowfall amounts will be sacrificed in our viewing area with most locations likely ending up in the dusting to 1″ range:

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I we have been saying since the winter forecast, Kansas City is just not in the right spot this season, and it isn’t even close. By right spot, I am meaning storm systems do not intensify anywhere close to Kansas City and this makes it a struggle for winter storm systems to come together here, and this is yet another example. An Arctic front is going to arrive on Sunday, just as the precipitation is coming to an end. Here is the surface forecast valid at 6 PM Saturday:

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The cold front is just northwest of Omaha, and with this set-up we will need that front to move through before any accumulating snow is likely. The blue dashed line is the 540 thickness line and that is the likely changeover line, and it is north of our viewing area on Saturday evening. This is why I am now confident that most of the precipitation is going to come in the form of rain. Let’s see how the models handle this today.

Have a great morning. It’s Friday! We will be live at the Kansas City Royals Fanfest this weekend. I will be there with Justin Wilfon live on our 4, 5, and 6 PM newscasts today. And, then I will be out there again on Saturday with Jadiann Thompson and Jeff Penner at 3 PM Saturday.  We hope to see you there!

Gary

Here we go again….new data & the LRC

Good evening bloggers,

As JD showed, there are many solutions for this storm system and we will likely get many more. There is one very important feature that we are tracking closely, and it is a wave that is trying to break over the blocking western ridge and then track our way from the northwest.

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There is an upper low forming over the desert southwest with rain likely in Phoenix where the Super Bowl festivities will be going on in the next few days.  This rain has been in our forecast for  weeks now, and this is the part of the pattern we also had a forecast for a storm to impact Kansas City as well.  It is right on schedule as I am sure many of you have noticed.  How did we know? It is something we have been sharing on Weather202o, but tonight I will share it with you here.  Take a look at the first LRC Cycle when this pattern was just developing:

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This is the pattern from two cycles ago. The storm in the southwest got left behind as the energy didn’t phase with that southern branch system. Almost exactly the same thing is happening in this cycle.  And, if you are wondering, this part of the pattern returned in December as well on the 14th and 15th, and in that cycle there wasn’t phasing either but an upper low squeezed out of the west and we did get over an inch of rain in the KC metro area from that system.  What is going to happen in this third LRC cycle?  Well, watch the models tonight. The pattern is going to look very similar to the map above.

Maybe you are new to the LRC, but this is an incredible comparison. And, we have been forecasting this part of the pattern to return at the end of January and it has.  Now, can you see the comparison? Our biggest critics don’t seem to see that this is the “same” pattern.  Just compare these maps. To us it is always an incredible experience. And, it isn’t just this one day. The entire pattern is cycling. Okay, now back to this storm system.

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One last thing tonight on that wave. It really is a series of waves and energy that will be going through a transition between Friday night and Sunday.  How that transition evolves will end up being extremely important to what we will experience.  The latest NAM is definitely different than the past NAM run.  But, it was still wet. Unfortunately for snow lovers, our true snow changeover comes when the storm is moving by. So, here we go once again!  Will it be cold enough for the precipitation to start as snow, or is it going to warm up enough to start as rain.  This is a tough question to answer at the moment. The latest NAM model coming out does have it just cold enough to start as snow when the first bands of precipitation arrive early Saturday morning, but it appears to me that slightly warmer air will take over and it may start as rain, or quickly change to rain.  This is a delicate and tough forecast.

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We are forecasting 0.10″ to 1.00″ liquid.  Hopefully we can get the higher amounts, but it will depend on the wave digging in to our west.  The same goes for the snow. The dusting -2″ includes Kansas City. The 1″ – 3″ forecast is for areas north of KC. We will see if we can make a snowfall forecast map by Friday. Have a great night.

Gary

Colder air in place & a quick look to the weekend

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9pm Update
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Just to compare, since I know some are very curious, here are the latest snow outputs for two of the short range models.

The 00z NAM now shows this:
NAM
It’s much less than the 12z run and places the heavier snow more to the North.

And the 00z RPM shows this:
RPM
Interestingly, it’s more to the South than the earlier run of the RPM. But, it’s a little more in-line with the NAM and, to some extent, the 12z GFS.

In my opinion, at this stage, it’s not looking great for those wanting a lot of snow in KC or especially South of I-70. That said, we’re still at least 48 hours away from any meaningful snow falling, so there is time for the path/strength to change a bit. You know we’ll keep eyes on it.

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Previous Entry (1:15pm)
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What a difference a day makes around the area. As the old saying goes: if you don’t like the weather, just wait a day; it will change.

As of 1p this afternoon, we are already nearly 30° colder than the same time yesterday.
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No question that the wind is making it feel even colder outside today. Wind chill values are in the upper 20s to lower 30s. The sky should clear out tonight, leading to a cold start Friday morning. The sun will shine Friday afternoon, but that does not mean we’ll warm up.
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Some are already getting excited about the potential for snow this weekend. Moisture will be pulled into the area as a weak waves passes by. Still a buffet of questions about this wave and what exactly it will produce.
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Right now, there is a confident feeling for rain Saturday afternoon. Most of the guidance agrees on this and it given the current state of the atmosphere, that scenario seems solid.

The problem exists with snowfall potential. As we’ve seen time after time over the last few months, the models are in disagreement at this point. We’re still two-plus days away and there is a variety of solutions.

The 12z Euro model has done a flip-flop from the last few runs. It now paints a wide strip of snow in Northern Kansas and Northern Missouri. This is not too far off from what the NAM is depicting as of 12z.
Snow-NAM
For note, the NAM and Euro models were tossed under the bus for their lack of performance on the East coast storm a few days ago.

The 12z GFS is not as generous with the snow as the NAM & Euro. The GFS was also praised for handling the East coast storm “better” than the other guidance.
SNow - GFS

The UKMet is even less generous, saying snow does not fall in our area. Some say the UKMet is a model to trust January through March when it comes to snowfall.
Snow-UK

And the latest run of the RPM forecast model echoes the UKMet, oddly enough.
RPM SNow

Obviously, those who love snow will root for the Euro & the NAM. Those wanting days like yesterday to return, will cheer for the RPM or UKMet. It’s almost like a weather version of the Super Bowl.

As you can imagine, the models will likely do more flip-flopping as we moved toward the weekend. For now, just know there is a chance of snow on Sunday. However, it’s just that: a chance. The amounts are still very much in question. Kansas City could find itself on the edge of things (which seems to happen a lot), thus making the forecast tough to pin down this far out. Feast or famine, as they say. We could really use the moisture; hopefully the rain on Saturday does us some good.

As the system continues to slide across the country, we’ll be able to sample it better and add that data to the computer simulations. Thus, we’ll get a better forecast as we get closer.

Stick with us on air and online and we track this next system. In the meantime, find a way to stay warm!
-JD

Thoughts On The Weak Weekend Storm

Good evening bloggers,

It hit 73° today, which actually did not set a record. Two years ago today it was 74° at KCI, and 76° downtown, so we fell just short of the record.  The high clouds were thick enough, but it did hit 77° in Topeka.

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The data this morning had a northern stream wave that showed very little signs of digging, and this is what has lead to the reduced chance of a winter storm this weekend.   On this map, below, you can see an upper level low dropping south over northern Baja California. And, you can see a “flat” wave of energy moving southeast north of Montana. On last night’s data, when a more significant snowstorm showed up for KC on some of the models, that wave dug a bit harder south and had more curvature to it.  When that stronger system showed up, it was able to pull some of the southwestern United States moisture and spread it out into the plains.  The trend on the models has been for this to be flatter, and as a result it doesn’t tap the deeper moisture to the south. We must keep watching this closely as just a slight change can lead to a stronger system this weekend.

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We are getting yet another example of what is wrong with this year’s pattern for Kansas City. But, for it to happen every single time is quite frustrating for those of us that get super excited about storm systems. If this continues, I feel it will go down as the most boring winter I have experienced since I was a kid in Southern California experiencing the 4 inches of rain in an entire year in Los Angeles in 1977.  I was 15 years old then, and I still thought that was interesting.  What do you think? Is this the most boring year you can remember?  Even the almost non winter of three years ago had some exciting storm systems. Now, to keep you from ending all hope of having snow this winter, remember the cold phase of the pattern will come back and we have been forecasting this to return Valentine’s Day week. We will get that part of the pattern that produced the coldest weather of the winter and maybe, just maybe the February version will produce one snowstorm!

Have a great evening. Maybe this will look a bit differently when the new data rolls in tonight.

Gary

Record Breaking Day

Good morning bloggers,

Will this be a record breaking day? YES! The record high today is 65° set in 1917. The highest January Temperature ever happened on January 24, 1950 when it reached 75°. The second highest January temperature ever recorded in Kansas City happened on  January 23, 1967:

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Here were the high temperatures from Tuesday:

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Now, what is next on the weather horizon?  A cold front will move through tonight, and colder air will rush in around midnight. This will not be an Arctic air mass, but one is forming that will likely affect us before the end of the weekend.  A storm developing over Arizona later this week will be moving this way.  There are a lot of different solutions coming out and we will be tracking this closely, but there will be a chance of a rain changing to snow event this weekend.

This is a storm that has been in our sites as a possible weather maker for our area at the end of this month, and it is now looking like it will impact our area. But, be careful about what you read or see. We will sort it out for you in the coming days. Each of our chances of snow this season have been realistically in the dusting to 3 inch range. And, there haven’t been many of them. The latest GFS model just came out with a rather snowy Super Bowl Sunday scenario. Let’s see how the models trend.

Have a great night or early morning and we will update you later today.

Gary

Big Warm-Up, The LRC, & The Weekend Storm

Good morning bloggers,

Let’s start with the big warm-up. As the New England coast gets battered by a major winter storm, that was accurately predicted by using the LRC, Kansas City will likely be within 24 hours of a record breaking day. The high temperature tomorrow may very well reach 70 degrees, depending on some cloud cover coming out of the southwest.

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There are some big changes in store for Kansas City.  This warm-up was predicted by our weather team weeks ago. The eastern blizzard was also predicted on December 8th to happen this week. Now, we didn’t say it would be a full blizzard, but we did predict a major storm on the coast.  I did a major blog about this on the Weather2020 site, and I would just like to show you how we knew this pattern would return this week. Take a look:

This 500 mb map shows the flow around 18,000 feet above us on December 11, 2014.  Well, what can you say, it’s just a coincidence? Nope, it’s the LRC:

LRC C2 December 11

This same part of the pattern cycled through 86 days ago on November 2nd, and it looks just like it does today. Here is today’s 500  mb flow, 47 days after the map above:

LRC C3 GFS FCST January 27

Again, do you really think it’s a coincidence? No way! For over a decade I have been sharing this with you and I am proud to continue to share it with you again today.  We can predict the future without computer models. What is going to happen next? The storm that we have had in our forecast for around January 31st is finally coming into focus on the computer models. Yes, some of you have been patiently waiting to track that end of the month storm to track, and it is finally there, but what does it mean for us in KC?  The models are all trending in the direction of the pattern change into the colder phase that will be taking place during the next three weeks, and right on schedule. The models will continue to be all over the place, but one thing for certain, we will be able to sort it out for you by using this new technology.

Have a great day. We will be looking ahead into this storm system later today in an updated blog.  In the mean time, let us know if you have any questions, and of course you can join in the LRC Forecast Experience over on my other blog where we share more in-depth information into the cycling weather pattern.

Gary

Record High and Blizzard

Good Monday bloggers,

Our weather here is very calm, while they brace for a blizzard in New England.  Boston could see 20″-30″ of snow with 50-70 mph wind gusts!  NYC will see 6″-12″ of snow as they are on the western edge of the heavy precipitation.  If the storm shifts a bit further west then NYC will see 12″-20″ of snow.  Here is our powercast for 1230 AM tonight.  The storm will be really blowing  up.

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Here in KC we will have a calm and clear night with lows in the 20s.  Tuesday will be a bit cooler than today as a weak cold front slips in tonight.  So, we will be on the cooler side of the front Tuesday as it becomes a warm front.  We will see highs in the 50s, with 40s to the east and 70s to the west.

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Wednesday will see the warm front surge north, so we will get into the much warmer air.  The record high for Wednesday is 65° in 1917.  Based on what we are looking at we should smash this record as we are going for a high of 69°.

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Highs Wednesday

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The cold front pictured above Wednesday in Nebraska will move through Wednesday night and temperatures will return to more seasonal levels with highs in the 30s.  A weak storm system is likely this weekend.  We will see some snow and/or rain.  We will talk more about this in the coming days.

Have a great week.

Jeff

A warm start to the week & a look at the East Coast blizzard

After a cloudy, cold, & windy day, we’ll turn things right around on Monday. While we dealt with the clouds, there was sunshine today in Western Kansas. Had this system been more to our East, we would have been in that sunshine & mild air.
VisSat

We should be in the mid to upper 50s for Monday & Tuesday. Wednesday will be our warmest day of the week, as highs will flirt with 70 degrees just to our West. This will be thanks to Southwest winds, a dry ground, and a little trough moving through.
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I know some are asking how unusual this is. Keep in mind we’ve not broken any records this January for temperature, so while it may be a little different from the last year or two, it’s not unheard of. And as I keep saying: there is plenty of winter left to go. Speaking of…

As you may have heard by now, the same system that moved through today will turn and head up the East coast on Monday into Tuesday. In doing so, it will gain strength and be fed moisture from the warmer-than-average ocean. Add in a strong area of high pressure parked just North of Maine and all the ingredients will come together for a classic Nor’easter.
GFSNE
Given the tight pressure gradient (contrast of pressure differences due to big low pressure next to big high pressure), winds could be as high as 50mph. This will make for blizzard conditions along the coast. Already the National Weather Service had hoisted blizzard warnings which impact millions of people.
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Without question, this is shaping up to be a “big deal” for those along the coast.

Latest guidance suggesting two to three feet of snowfall in some highly populated areas. And this is still subject to change.
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The amounts have already gone up from what was forecast earlier this morning. Some of the worst-case scenarios are playing out areas of snow near 40″; incredible. Moreover, when you factor in blowing and drifting, there could be snow drifts over eight feet high.

Snowfall rates may be around 2-3 inches per hour. This will be an impressive storm for an area that is no stranger to big snowstorms. Even those who usually downplay snow events are saying now is the time to stock up on food and supplies. Roads will likely be closed and travel put to a stop (this includes flights in and out of the area). Connecting flights could have issues thanks to this storm.

You will likely hear words like “bombogenesis” and “blizzard” over the next day or two. Keep in mind there are definitions to these terms, you can read up on those in this article I wrote up a few months back.
Additionally, words like “crippling” and “historic” will be tossed around as well. While that may apply to some select areas, it won’t be that way for every city that sees snow. The area that will see the worst looks to be around the New York to Boston to Portland region. They will likely see the heaviest snow along with the highest wind speeds.
Also, potential exists for power outages due to a combination of the snow and the wind. This is all going to be something to keep tabs on.

Back here at home, I don’t see any big signs of winter still. However, models are picking up hints of cold air for next weekend. Yet again, though, there is a disagreement between the GFS & the Euro. See for yourself.
ModelGuideWeek

Given the “hot hand” the Euro has had in the long run, I will trend that direction with the forecast. Looking back at my notes from last Sunday, the GFS said today would be in the 50s and dry, while the Euro said 45 with morning showers. Yet another reason I will side more with the Euro model.

It will be interesting to watch how the snow takes shape on the East coast. There are plenty of live cameras (via sites like EarthCam) you can watch as the snow falls. And I am sure someone will setup a timelapse camera to capture the snowfall. Stick with us on air and online to see pictures and video.

Enjoy your week ahead and the nice weather here. Maybe call in sick Monday?
-JD