Blizzard, Severe Weather Risk, A Strong Storm, & A Look Into March Weather Madness

Good Saturday morning bloggers,

Jeff Penner has the weekend off, so I am working on this Saturday morning blog entry.  I have been analyzing the entire weather pattern and everything is right on cycle, as it always is, according to the LRC.  This storm system is caught in the part of the pattern that tracked systems south of KC in the first two cycles of this years pattern, and this time the storm is tracking a bit farther north.  There are reasons beyond the AO+ that is forcing the farther north track of the system that are still being defined. In the coming years as we learn more about these other forcing mechanisms and seasonal differences our weather forecasts will get even more precise and accurate.  This season, our weather forecasts from 50 days out have been spot on with every single one of these storms. There has yet to be any LRC blunder, as we have really refined our forecasting technique.  Now, our specific forecasts have also been accurate as well, and forecasting the weather for each specific location is still going to be more hits that misses, just not as spot on as the LRC itself.  This storm was predicted to arrive this week, and it is here.  Now, what will it do today? Let’s take a look. And, then we will look ahead to the “Blizzard Part of the Cycling Pattern”, or as one of the bloggers said yesterday, “The Drought Busting Part Of The Cycling Pattern”. Cycle 4 of this years pattern will begin next weekend.  And, yes, the LRC will once again be spot on. Will it produce a blizzard, snowstorm, Arctic outbreak in the first week of March? Well, let’s see. A week out in the past three cycles, the models had no clue that there would be a storm. This time they have a clue, well the GFS has anyway. Let’s take a look.

7 AM Radar: Thunderstorms over northeast Oklahoma were moving north-northeast and tracking right towards KC as this storm system is moving out into the plains from the southern Rocky Mountains.  These thunderstorms will spread in from the south and quickly move across before noon today.

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Kansas City Weather Timeline:

  • Today:  A round of heavy showers and thunderstorms between now and noon. Then, another thin line may move through later this afternoon. In between these two bands the winds will pick up from the southeast and there is a chance of a warm up into the 50s. The highs will range from the mid 40s north to the 50s south.
  • Tonight:  Very windy with a wind shift to the west, then northwest at 30-50 mph and gusty.  There may be a little band of snow closer to midnight, more likely up north. A mini blizzard is possible around Hiawatha, KS and Maryville, MO with 1 to 4 inches of snow and blowing snow.

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The three naps above show the storm developing at the surface today, the severe weather risk, and the snowfall forecast.  There is a moderate risk of severe thunderstorms today centered on Mississippi and Tennessee, and there is a major snowstorm and blizzard likely extending from southeast Colorado to Wisconsin.  Warmer air may be drawn all the way north into KC And we may see a couple bands of showers and thunderstorms, and maybe even some snow on the back side of this storm.

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By this evening, the surface low will have jumped northeast and redeveloped over eastern Iowa. Look at that pressure gradient near Kansas City at 8 PM tonight.  This may produce 50 mph winds, and there is a trailing tail to the comma head that may bring one quick band of snow across our area by 11 PM. Why not, it has snowed on 37 different days this winter season. If it does snow at 11 PM to 1 AM even just a trace, that would add two dates to the total number of days with snow. Will that tail swing across KC? Let’s track it tonight.

The early March set up:

There she blows!  This is the GFS model, that for three model runs in a row has been trending into position a similar set up to the last two LRC cycles which did produce a blizzard and a major snowstorm in KC.  The January 12th, second cycle produced the nearly 1 foot on the south side of KC, and the blizzard on November 25th did produce nearly blizzard conditions and over a half foot of snow.  This model has a similar set up to these, and the other models just had strong cold fronts and weaker storm systems. So, here we go again as the models just poorly handle all of these set ups from even a couple days out, not to mention a week or longer out.  There is also an Arctic Blast trying to organize. Let’s see how this trends in the next few days.

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If it does not snow again this season in KC, then my winter forecast will have been spot on. I just do not think it is stopping yet, and later next week will be the next test.  In my winter forecast we discussed a range from 15″ to 37″ of snow.

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Have a great day!

Gary

The Influences On This Year’s LRC & This Approaching Storm

Good morning bloggers,

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Another storm is approaching the plains. It just produced extremely unusual and rare events out over the southwestern United States. It snowed at low elevations near Los Angeles.  It snowed in Calabasas, one of my neighborhoods my parents moved to after I went to college at the University of Oklahoma.  That is just outside, or really on the edge of the San Fernando Valley.  It has snowed there before, and it is just something that happens once every 20 to 60 years or so.  Snow fell in Las Vegas, NV, as you can see on the left here.   There are some false reports going around that Las Vegas has never had snow before.  7.4″ fell in a rare storm in 1979. This storm was close to doing something like that huge storm if it would have just organized in the right spot, but fell short at just under 1″. Still incredible.

The storm is now heading east into Arizona.  Flagstaff, AZ has already had 2 feet of snow and more snow will fall today.  And, then this storm will reorganize out over the plains states and head east producing a severe weather risk.

Here is the day 3 severe weather risk for tomorrow, which will be updated just after I post this:

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Kansas City has had an incredible winter, and we aren’t done yet. Take a look at all of the days that have had at least a few snowflakes:

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37 days with snow, are you kidding me?  There is a lot to think about, a lot of take aways, and we will be going over these in the coming weeks.  The LRC is the centerpiece of the big atmospheric puzzle. As discussed in yesterday’s blog, this part of the pattern was predicted to be the dominant storm track this winter.  Everything is right on schedule, and predicted by the Weather2020 team.  There are influences on this pattern, and right now there is something interesting happening with this next storm.  It is tracking north, instead of tracking south. It may very well be because of an AO+ influence. The AO is the Arctic Oscillation. Take a look at the index as of yesterday:

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When the AO goes high positive, the jet stream is likely going to retreat north and weaken, and when it goes deep negative, the jet stream is more likely to dive south and the pattern would then get energized.  This season has seen this index hover closer to neutral, with some smaller dips here and there.  So, how did it turn so cold and snowy? The LRC!  There are other influences.

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El Niño is the warming of the Tropical Pacific Ocean.  And, this is likely going to be a very weak El Niño influenced winter season. There is little doubt that this has impacted the winter.  There were many sources named this some sort of El Niño that would still be dry in California.  I was shaky on this thinking, and as it turned out, it has not been a dry winter out west.  So, once again, El Niño is definitely an influence on the pattern.  Look closely at the numbers.  This El Niño is quite similar to the one in the winter of 2006-2007.  What happened in Kansas City in the winter of 2006-2007?  How much snow fell that winter?  10.2″ fell that winter. Something else must be going on, right? Yes, the LRC!  Kansas City is now at 26.3″ of snow, and it has come from relentless snow storms, all fairly small when you really look at it.  There have been winters where big 1 foot snowstorms hit KC. As of this point we have not had one of these.

This next storm is being influenced by the AO+, the weak El Niño, and other factors.  And, the trend on the models has been for this storm to track farther north.  Let’s take a look.

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These are some maps I showed last night on 41 Action News, KSHB.  This shows a band of rain moving by Saturday morning with snow developing west on I-70. I would not want to travel through that developing snowstorm.

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The trend has continued north, and the farther north this system tracks, the better chance it will draw in warmer air.  I am posting this just after midnight.

Thank you for spending a bit of your time reading the Action Weather Blog featuring Weather2020 and the LRC.  Go over to the Weather2020 blog and join in the conversation or read the comments as we share in this weather experience.  Have a great day.

Gary

The Next Storm Is Producing Out West

Good morning bloggers,

Screen Shot 2019-02-21 at 7.19.01 AMIt is snowing in Las Vegas, NV this morning and an inch is possible. This is the second time it has snowed in Las Vegas in the last week.  The latest storm is dropping south down the west coast and intensifying. It will be forming into an upper level low over Arizona by Friday,  and then begin tracking east before ejecting out into the plains as it gets kicked out by the next system heading into the Pacific northwest.  Seattle has had its snowiest February in this wild weather pattern, and Kansas City has now had 37 days with at least a trace of snow since our first one on October 14th when 0.2″ fell at KCI Airport. That was the earliest snowfall accumulation ever recorded in Kansas City since records began in the 1880s.  This weather pattern has suddenly been producing with storm after storm after storm.  This is what we forecast would happen months ago as we experienced the first LRC cycle in October and November. This is a graphic I showed on the air in early December, the Dominant Storm Track:

Winter Forecast Pattern December 1

And, here is the pattern developing now, as it lines up with the vision we had for this years pattern three months ago:

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The ridge off the west coast extending into Alaska has ben developing over and over again allowing for the Arctic air generation. When you have anticyclonic flow that amplifies over Alaska, it creates the conditions for high pressure to build at the surface. This causes the sky to clear and the winds to go light, which in turn allows for radiational cooling and the build up of very cold Arctic air. This took through December to finally build up.  In December there was a lack of this cold air, even though there were wet storm systems.  In January and February, this Arctic air blasted south, and there has been enough cold air leftover, even when the Arctic air has retreated north, to provide the conditions for these recent snow storms.  Here is what I wrote in November when we issued our winter forecast:

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In our Winter Forecast Video, I discussed how up to 37″ of snow would fall in the KC viewing area this winter. Right now, KCI Airport is officially sitting at 26.3″ for the season. If it stopped snowing right now I would be exactly right on that specific forecast.  We know that we aren’t even close to being done yet, however. How high will this total go? This is a good question.  Maybe we should play another game of predicting the final snowfall total for the season? What do you think?  Malarcky won the title of “Best Weather Forecaster Of The Week” with a great prediction of 7.3″ of snow for these last three events, as we ended up with 7.2″ from the three storm systems.  If we play another game, we may wait until next week to begin.  Let’s first see what will happen with this next storm system.

As you can see above, the Canadian Model is showing the upper level low circled over the Texas Panhandle and western Oklahoma. The GFS and FV3 GFS models are the farthest north with the track of this next storm, and most of the other models track it more like this Canadian model, or just south of KC. If it does track south of KC, then the snow would be pulled into the KC metro area.  Rain and thunderstorms are possible ahead of this system. There are still just too many questions to be answered, and I will hold off on the deep analysis of this storm until we get through a couple more data sets, which will begin arriving in the next few hours. These will be discussed in the comments section of the Weather2020 blog.

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Just look at the cyclone forming on the new NAM this morning.  We will discuss in the comments today!

Thank you for sharing in this weather experience, and have a great day!

Gary

A Recap Of The Three Recent Storms & A Look Ahead

Good morning bloggers,

Who is worn out?  I know I am, and I am still energized by this incredible weather pattern that we have been experiencing.  There is so much to discuss today and I am trying to figure out where to begin.  Well, let’s begin with the snowfall total on the Plaza for our contest.

IMG_7292This was our third storm system in the past five days.  The first storm came through Friday and caused the conditions for the horrific multi-vehicle accidents on I-70, including the 47-car pile up near Oak Grove, MO.  This first storm produced 4.2″ in front of our studios on the Plaza.   And, then we had the second system come through on Saturday evening with the graupel, snow, and freezing drizzle.  The graupel was fascinating in its own right as it was being described as dippin’ dots.  I ended up getting a great video of Sunny while it was falling. That system did produce 1/2″ to 1″ of snow up north. On the Plaza it produced 0.1″.   Then, we had last last nights third storm in five days.  I measured in five spots that were cleared and had new snow, and the total is 2.9″ as of 6 AM this morning.  For our contest, this will end up being a total of 7.20″.   I will post all of the entries below.

I think we set the record on the number of comments yesterday in one blog.  Thank you for sharing and participating.  Many of you got the usual “modelitis sickness” and emotions were up and down based on every hour of model runs.  The most important thing to do on days like this is to monitor radar, satellite, and surface observations.  Remember rule #1 of forecasting:  Always look outside because you never know!  So, if you are immersed into the computer models, then you may forget rule #1.  It was quite difficult, as right before I left for work, the European Model had an epic failure on its snow modeling. It had zero accumulation south and east of around downtown KC, and it would have been easy to panic at that point. Then a few HRRR model runs came in with similar solutions early in the afternoon, and it was about that time I found one of the disturbances over Oklahoma that was strong enough to convince me those models were just “bad” data.  And, I updated you in the blog to try and help with your emotions.  That disturbance did track northeast into Missouri, and it put KC into the favorable spot, and yes, it was the disturbance we discussed in the days leading up this storm. The LRC helped with a specific forecast.

I-70 was shut down once again and closed east of KC in the 6 AM hour once again today, but it quickly opened up again with no reports of any major crashes.

A Look Into This Weather Pattern:

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This map above is what I showed last night on the 10 PM newscast.  It was a modeling of one possible solution for the Saturday storm system.  If you have been following the LRC closely, then you know this is the “St. Louis storm” part of the cycling pattern in this third LRC cycle.  In mid-November there was a 9-inch snowstorm that hit St. Louis. KC had snow from this system as well, and this part of the pattern did produce another system in cycle 2 in early January.  Both systems tracked south, so a south trend on the models makes sense by just knowing how to use the LRC.  The models have had this south trend, and if they track this system just a bit farther south, it would potentially be a blizzard in the KC viewing area.

2As I just discussed, the trend has been for this system to track farther south.  This map on the left shows the 500 mb flow valid at noon central time Saturday.  Look at the little circle near Wichita, KS. This is the type of storm that the blizzard conditions would develop just north and west of this upper level low. So, if it tracks south of your location, then you would go into that snowstorm and blizzard threat.  Ahead of the upper low and to the south and east there will be a chance of thunderstorms.  This is a fast moving system that is being ejected out by another system moving into the western United States, near Seattle, WA.

The trend has been south, and we will just have to see how this third LRC cycle sets up. Remember, “it’s the same, but different”, as Gary England said to me ten years ago, a meteorologist in Oklahoma (was in the movie Twister as the featured weatherman warning the public).  He said this to me when he actually had a glimpse of the LRC.  He saw the complex puzzle that we share with you here, and he only saw it once, in that 2009-2010 winter when I was trying to explain to him why Oklahoma City would get hit by a major snowstorm. I discussed this with him around a week before it produced as it fit the pattern. Then, he has told me, he has never seen it again. This is how complex the LRC truly is.  I am on a tangent now, omg.  Anyway, this storm fits too, and it is “the same, but different”. So, we must see how this third cycle sets up this weekend.  The fourth cycle of the LRC will begin in around a week to ten days.

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This next map shows the Saturday storm system. This is the NAM model that has its own solution. I don’t want to over analyze this system yet, as we just need to see how the models trend today.  For now, this storm is pulling away, and we get somewhat of a two day breather before Saturday’s storm approaches.

The Weather Blog Snow Forecasting Game Results:

  • Storm #1:  4.2″
  • Storm #2:  0.1″
  • Storm #3:  2.9″
  • Total:  7.2″

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Thank you so much for entering.  If you take Jeff Penner and myself out of the contest, then we have a blogger winner.  The winner gets the honor of being the “Best Weather Forecaster Of The Week” award.  The winner is Malarcky!  Malarcky, you are “THE BEST WEATHER FORECASTER OF THE WEEK”.  Congratulations! We should play another game. What would you all suggest?  The 7.20″ of snow that fell in the five days is about as much as what fell all of last winter, and more than the previous two winters before that. Wow!

Sunny The Weather Dog shows us the snow on top of snow with a snow depth of nearly 6″ here in KC:

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Thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading the Action Weather Blog featuring Weather2020 and the LRC. Here is the link to the Weather2020 blog so you can join in the conversation, or read the comments from our weather friends as we discuss this fascinating weather pattern:  Weather2020 Blog

Have a great day. We will go in-depth on 41 Action News tonight as this next storm comes into focus.

Gary

The Anticipation Builds For The Snow To Begin Later Today

2:15 PM Update:

The NAM model now is showing the disturbance that the European Model did not pick up on. It is still, as always, a waiting game now as anticipation builds. There are questions that will be answered soon.  You can see the disturbance here:

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Previous entry below:

 

Good morning bloggers,

Today will be a rather fascinating weather day in and around Kansas City.   We will get to watch the the sky go from sunshine this morning, to increasing clouds, to a lowering ceiling as snow begins to fall to the ground by later this afternoon. I will be sure to set up a few time-lapses.  We currently have around 2.5″ of snow on the ground and we have 2″ to 5″ in our forecast:

Snow Ruler

Sunny shows us the snow depth, the snow forecast, and the final forecast result.  I am expecting around 4″ in Kansas City, so the snow depth will be around 6.5″. We are going to be monitoring closely for that southern wave of energy that may enhance snowfall totals, as discussed in yesterday’s blog and on last nights Facebook Live I did.  It has shown up on some of the models. If there is that southern wave, then around 9 or 10 PM tonight there would be a little comma head moving almost due north up the state line and that would increase totals by around 1 or 2 inches. I just did a thorough analysis, and I do not see that advance disturbance at the moment. It is something we may not see until this evening. So, until I see any evidence, I am in that 2-5 inch range for snowfall amounts in KC, with the chance of 2″ at 100% and the chance of 5″ at 30%.

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These are the maps I showed on my 10 PM newscast last night.  Here is today’s weather timeline in KC:

  • Today:  Some sunshine early today, then increasing clouds. It will become cloudy with snow spreading in from the south, or possibly a lead band forming overhead later this afternoon.  High:  30°
  • Tonight:  A 100% chance of snow, possibly mixing with sleet or freezing rain just southeast of Kansas City.  The snow may become heavy at times with 2″ to 5″ on top of the snow we already have by 6 AM.  Low:  28°
  • Wednesday:  Lingering morning snow showers, possibly changing to freezing drizzle with a light glazing or dusting on top of the snow.  High:  34°

Thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading the Action Weather Blog featuring Weather2020 and the LRC. Go over to the Weather2020 blog for more information and to join in the conversation or at least read the comments from the bloggers.  Have a great day.  The evening rush hour may become quite challenging for travel.

Gary