Winter Storm Continues On May 3, 2013

Good morning bloggers,

It may not have been a record at KCI for the biggest May snow, but it likely was on the southeast side of the KC metro area. Look at this picture from near Chillicothe, MO taken by John Marcolla on a table outside:

snow May 3rd

Huge snowflakes were falling around midnight as we moved into day three of this storm.  Do you remember Wednesday when it was near 80°?  Here is a picture of Breezy and Stormy Wednesday morning:

Dogs Midnight May Snow3At the time I took this picture on Wednesday we were making the forecast for snowfall amounts of between a dusting and 6 inches that would begin accumulating Thursday evening.  The snow did begin falling Thursday afternoon and there have been a few reports of 3 inches as of midnight, including at my house in Overland Park.

Dogs Midnight May Snow1Here is another picture of the dogs that I took around midnight as the snowflakes were just huge.  If you look closely, not only can you see Breezy’s tongue trying to get a snowflake off of her nose, but the huge snowflake on the left side of the picture actually casted a shadow on the snow near Breezy from the flash of the camera.  There was only a slushy accumulation on the driveway, but as you can see I had just under 3 inches of snow.  There were new bands of snow forming south of Kansas City and drifting north just after midnight as the main storm system is just now closing off near the Oklahoma/Kansas border.

The precipitation shield shifted to the east by sunrise and is just east of the KS/MO state line at 7 AM.  Take a look at the main upper level low forming today:


The upper low will be intensifying during the next 12 hours and as it does Kansas City will be going into east to southeast flow aloft.  This will provide the conditions for new areas of rain and snow to develop and move back west into the KC metro area and all the way back into eastern Kansas. Some of this may be heavy this evening and it could impact the Royals game again.  Yesterday’s Royals game got rained/sleeted/snowed out.  And, here is the simulated radar forecast from this morning’s NAM model valid around first pitch time at the K:


Bands of rain are now increasing east and southeast of Kansas City and rotating our way. I think it will be difficult for the Royals to get the game in again tonight.  We will go over the details on 41 Action News today and tonight.

Thank you for reading the Action Weather blog and sharing in our exciting weather pattern that we have been in this year. Let us know if you have any questions or comments.


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71 comments to Winter Storm Continues On May 3, 2013

  • McCabe58

    The snow is pretty much over.. Well done Gary, you’re prediction of a dusting to 6″ was accurate lol……

  • Blizzard365

    May 3rd, 1907 was also a friday.

  • Mildcatz

    One on your worst forecast in a long time. A dusting to 6″? Then you claim it will snow all night as it shifts back to the west, but you were wrong! I would love to see where anybody got 6″ confirmed without melting.

    Way too much hype and your forecast models let you down! I see why you lost the most accurate to another station this year… he is pretty good!

    • douglas6280

      He was saying dusting to 4″ last night and I had 3.3″ at my home in South OP at 10PM last night. I think the forecast was pretty spot on considering the temps and it is May.

    • Theo

      Looks like blog bully Mike’s alter-ego is here. One of his many IP’s (so he can’t be traced).

    • jrfan830

      If you think the other guy is pretty good, then why are you still checking Lezak’s weather blog if you know the information is inaccurate??

  • Mildcatz

    Sorry to be so harsh, but the wide range of snow totals was a bit much, esp without showing you usual snowfall map.

  • kstmchsr

    You guys are spot on with the forecast. I barely have a dusting just north of Spring Hill. 3 inches just a mere 15 miles away in OP, tough forecast but nailed it as usual.

  • Skylar

    I have just under 2″ by JoCo Executive (deck), with about an inch in the grass.

  • R-Dub

    From downtown OP: 0.0″ on sidewalks and roadways. About 2″ on top of the thick sod that the city laid down last fall. The parts of the yard where the grass is thinner have less, an inch on some spots, none on others. Overall I’d say NWS had a more reasonable forecast…did anyone really get close to 6″ of accumulation?

  • yewtrees

    NWS: …precipitation becomes lighter later this morning into afternoon, surface temps should become unsupportive of much additional accumulation. May still see occasional flakes mixed in through much of the day especially for areas east of Interstates 35/49 and near/west of US 65.

  • R-Dub

    At 10 last night I watched Gary and the most experienced met in KC. And both forecasters had a case of the hypes. The snow was clearly winding down for metro KC, but both said we should expect snow all night and into the morning. Here it is, morning, and I don’t have any more snow on the ground than I did then, and its not snowing now.

    • NoBeachHere

      Not to single out but the hot chic(little animal) station guy said the same thing(snowing all night), while the NCIS channel said it would slow a bit.

      • We all along knew that this was a thin band. A slight shift to the east overnight and it may have stopped snowing at your house, but it went on all night long just one county to the east. You guys are so picky!

        Have a great day!


        • NoBeachHere

          I am not picky Gary. Some just like to be picky about the your details.

          • BigSteve

            The TV news/weather broadcasts are supposed to be for their entire viewing area, not just your neighborhood.

        • nofluer

          Just for the record… my forecast for my area (nearly two hours drive from KC) was fairly accurate both this time and during last winter’s Big Snow. (For the Big Snow, Gary said 15″ or 16″ for our area, I said no more than 6″ – We received 6″)

          That said, Gary provides raw data, and serves his primary market (KC area) and takes a shot at the outlying areas. (Which is more than most of the other stations do – not even showing radar for outlying areas during severe storms!!!) He was RIGHT ON THE MONEY for the Big Snow in the KC area. And keep in mind that KC covers a LOT of area. Room for some pretty significant variations.

          I look at a variety of maps and data from different online sources and, knowing the “mechanics” of wind and atmospheric behavior, I evaluate it as best as I can. If Gary hits on our area without being aware of some of the local peculiarities of terrain and wind patterns, he lucks out. If *I* miss, bad on me ’cause I know the area. (One of my local anomalous conditions is the ban on wind generators in the zone that I’m in due to high frequencies of wind shear events.)

          I don’t use the “models” at all. They mostly don’t apply to my area. I look at the current conditions and forces at play, and like forecasters have been doing for thousands of years, make my best guess. Gary’s a lot better guesser than I am, ;-D and his work on patterns is advancing meteorology from an arcane art to the raggedy edge of becoming an actually replicatable science. (One of the best arguments against AGW is that when we can’t accurately forecast the weather for next week, how can we say what it will be doing 50 or 100 years from now!)

          “Today the 3 day forecast – tomorrow the decade!!! ;-D

          So… I’d suggest that commenting on “misses” is okay, but do it with a minimum of snark – ie with respect. K? Tnx.

  • Theo

    Blog bully reports 6 inches just NW of Liberty in the storm’s vort max.

  • Justin

    10 years ago tomorrow we were dealing with a tornado outbreak. 10 years later, we’re dealing with snow. If it’s not one extreme, it’s the other.

  • ixj

    Someone else may have already pointed this out, but I had to check this morning.


  • goodlifegardens

    Garden City/Creighton It looks like we may have had an inch or more but it’s hard to tell because it is melting at the same time it’s coming down. The grass is white. The picnic table has more than an inch, the cars less than an inch the ground and roads far less than an inch. Right now light snow with big flakes.

  • tushchaser1

    Wait a second: I thought the weather models showed Kansas City just getting blasted with 6+ inches of snow…didn’t the NAM and GFS and EURO all point to snow amounts just getting ridiculous?

    Heck, one guy out in Kansas got 1.4 inches of snow in 14 minutes! 14 Minutes! Amazing!!!

    Man, I sure hope the cycle gets to cycling and this weather rides its self out of here. Looking forward to 70s and sunny! That is, until GL tells us that snow is going to happen again and our last snowflake of the season wasn’t really our last snow flake of the season!

    • nofluer

      one guy out in Kansas got 1.4 inches of snow in 14 minutes! 14 Minutes! Amazing!!!

      Are we sure he was reading the “inch” side of the ruler instead of the “cm” side?


  • frigate

    Thats a great idea about the snowflake contest. Would be fun, considering this will happen again in a week or so, the snowflake contest should be started up again. As this is the 3rd or 4th time, we will hear that there will be no more snow until next December.

  • j-ox

    No snow accumulation here in Lawrence…in fact the concrete surfaces were dry at 7 AM.

    How’s a weatherman supposed to get EVERYONE’S forecast correct? A tall task when we’re dealing with 1000s of sq miles. So many events are quite isolated…like THIS one.

    Yeah, still below avg precip-wise out this way…but very GREEN. Me likey.

  • Brian

    Great forecast Gary….You and your team did an excellent job forecasting this difficult system. It’s to bad that there are a couple of immature people who post on this blog regularly and want to pick out and complain about every single scenario that doesn’t happen at exactly the right time, in exactly the right way, in exactly the right amount. Most of us just laugh and feel sorry for them. You should as well, and I am sure you do. Keep up the good work!!!

  • udndcs

    Any chance this system scoots about fifty miles to the east and allows us some sunshine today? The visible satellite shows glorious clear skies almost in our backyards. 95% of the state is cloud free today, yet we’re stuck with this dreary crap the rest of the weekend.

  • KCR Fan 1995

    Gary, where is the 2″-4″ of precipitation that was forecasted?!? So far we have received less than 0.75″.

    • There is more coming later today. And, it just got so cold it limited the potential of us getting a heavy rain event. There is another very good chance later next week.

      Have a great weekend.

  • Hockeynut69

    Well I would say that possibly 6″ fell in some areas but due to ground warmth and early melting and compacting, accumulations were much different. Regardless still an awesome weather event to talk about. Happy Friday everyone! Looking forward to the 70’s next week and beyond.

  • smiley10

    I’ve never been so happy to wake up and see no snow accumulated! In May I don’t want to be dealing with that!

  • McCabe58

    Yeah… I got 6.5″ here in pleasant hill….. Not. More like 2″ which has since melted to about an inch. All of you seriously thought we could get a 6″ snow in may? Unreal. Was cool to a really see the snow in may though. Alot of hype out of this one..

    • McCabe and everyone else,

      Let’s make something clear about these forecasts. When you predict a dusting to 6 inches is possible, it doesn’t mean that 6 inches will certainly fall. It is just the range I thought was possible from this storm. It appears that it ended up producing a dusting to 4 1/2 inches in the area. I call that an accurate forecast. And, we clearly said there would be NO accumulation on the roads.


  • blue8091

    I easily had 2+ inches of snow accumulate here in S OP. I would think that with the viewing area being as large as it is, this is why the variance in the amounts received – it seemed to me like it was where you are along with where the bands of snow fell. I think it was a comprehensive, accurate forecast, with a dusting in parts of the viewing area and heavier amounts in others. Pretty simple.

  • McCabe58

    Correction, most of the snow here has melted… Just chunks of it in the yard and roofs left. Can we all just be happy with spring coming now? Lol.. I’m so ready for 70s every day! And maybe some thunderstorms?

    What’s the +1 thing about? I’ve asked before, but don’t remember what was said

  • blue8091

    +1 is a version of “like” on FB, or “I second that”

  • Tornado

    So much drama. So little snow.

  • McCabe58

    I believe it was accurate Gary, just the wide range was a little much. The most I’ve seen reported per the national weather service in pleasant hill is 3″. When you say there is more coming later today, do you mean more rain? That would be my guess since it’s well above freezing now. No doubt you guys are one of the most accurate in town Gary, and I didn’t see any of forecasters forecast for this one… Just a dusting to 6″ leaves a lot of room for accuracy. I understand the reasoning though for that forecast. Do the long range models show a more spring like weather pattern showing up? Or are there still going to be these cold rainy days until June?

    • McCabe, The dusting to 6 inches was for the entire viewing area. The range was my initial range, then we narrowed it down to a dusting to 4 inches which is exactly what happened.

      Anyway, in the longer range, this same pattern continues to cycle, but this was likely winter’s last big punch. It knocked out spring for a few days. Now, spring will begin to battle summer.

      The next band of precipitation will likely be in the form of rain, and it is heading our way.

  • frigate

    Gary, I may not be happy about this weather, but you were the first telling us what was coming several days ago! You also nailed the temps several days back, though it was hard to believe it would really happen, it did! Considering the difficult circumstances of pinpointing the amounts of snow…I think you had no choice but to say “A dusting to 6 inches”. Again considering the vast area your trying to forcast for, not just KCI or the Plaza.

  • mukustink

    A bunch of nothing for sure. Heck I could make a forecast of a dusting to 6 inches as well. Yes I know it was a small area however you identified that area and I think the problem most people have is that you often go with these wide ranges and then call it accurate. I forecast we will get from a trace to 2 inches of rain today. That’s not a forecast that is a cover your butt forecast LOL.

    Again I will ask what happened to the forecast for above average temps this spring? What has caused it to be so darn cold and below average?

  • j-ox

    I hear ya, but, a trace to 2″ of rain…would equate to a dusting to ~24″+ of snow. There’s only so much moisture that a storm has to work with…making snow prediction probably the toughest to get right.

    • J-ox,

      Rainfall forecasts are just as difficult. But, water doesn’t accumulate like snow, so even though we attempt to get it right and do fairly well, the amounts always are extremely difficult to forecast.

  • Eswar

    I am located about 30 miles north of Des Moines, and I received a storm total snowfall of about 4.5″ yesterday and this morning.
    There definitely seemed to be a sharp snowfall gradient in the state of Iowa, with just a 20 mile wide area reporting 8-12 inches of snow.

    • nofluer

      As a former resident of Iowa, I can testify that most of the snow there comes from the State capitol building when the legislature is in session…

  • so Gary are you saying we could see MORE snow later today/tonite??? unreal

  • udndcs is correct, based on visible satellite, sunshine is right on our doorstep.. How cruel is this??? So close for some sunshine yet we are stuck with some yucky weather this weekend!! bleh!

  • kettle corn

    Gary please tell me its not going to rain next weekend! Just looked at the 10 day forecast and its calling for storms next weekend. Uggh

    • It looks wet around Friday. Hopefully not next weekend.

      And, did anyone just watch Kalee Dionne on KSHB? She just showed the snowfall range from a dusting to 6 inches. Yes, 6 inches did fall near Warrensburg. That shouldn’t shock anyone. This has been the snow hot spot all winter and it isn’t just a coincidence. It is related to the entire pattern that continues to cycle.

      Rain is heading our way right now, inching in from the east. It will be fun to watch!


      • Coaches Kettle Corn

        Hard to sell Roasted Vanilla Bean Kettle Corn in the rain : ( . Our event in Grandview got cancelled due to the weather this weekend. Does anyone know how to change the pic on my profile?

  • RickMckc

    I had .8 in the rain gauge when the rain turned to snow yesterday. This morning I had 1.3. The additional .5 fell as snow but only about 1/2″ accumulated on the grass and rooftops.

    Even though it wasn’t 4″ in my backyard, I still think it is a decent forecast to call for a half-inch of moisture to fall in the form of snow.

  • sansherm

    Gary as usual you are right on! Had 3.0in at 148th & Metcalf.
    By the way your new weather person Kalee is a pleasant surprise. A big step up from your last weekend person.

  • Knox454

    I have to respectfully disagree with my fellow bloggers. Gary’s forecast verified very well. Six inches in places, a dusting in others. This was always the type of set up where the accumulations were going to be patchy. Also, the NWS was predicting that the low would close off and start to pivot close to Kansas City. The pivot point just shifted a little south and east. Nobody could have predicted that, except for the man upstairs. Here in Warrensburg it is still snowing, and there is at least 4 inches of snow still on the deck. In all I bet it really snowed around 7 inches if you count all of the melt. There is also a lot of tree damage and a lot of people were without power this morning. So, I say the forecast verified. Sorry for writing a book, I just feel that Gary was pretty accurate and does not deserve the grieve he is getting on the blog today.

  • kobecobra76

    Six inches, three inches or a dusting? Who cares. This is clearly the Sprinter of our discontent. (Sprinter being a new and highly obnoxious season).


    It was a very unusual setup with the 80 mile band of cold temps bookcased on either side by warmer air. 80 miles west last night and it would have been a different story this morning.

    Btw, kalee is awesome and a great addition. Bubbly personality. Roll Tide Roll !!!! Sorry, I’m a transplant and had to get that out there. :)

  • Joseph Tay

    At least here in LS, overall I’d say this storm did not live up to it’s hype

  • tushchaser1

    “The weather pattern continues to cycle.” Gary Lezak

    What kinda of cycle are we talking about? Three days of sun and 70 degree temperatures and a 4 days of snow, rain, and crashing temperatures? Is this the cycle?

    I don’t recall this pattern of weather in October, November, or much of December…and January was relatively dry and mild too. By the beginning of February, people were starting to anxious because of the winter wheat crop and the drought…now people are less concerned because it appears we have been in a “cycle” that includes numerous rain chances and low temperatures.

    Where is the verification of the above average temperatures during Spring? Or does the cycle just fit where it needs to fit?

    “Winter’s Last Punch.” Gary Lezak

    Really? You said this last week too. The amount of revisionist history at times on this blog is disconcerting to many people. Is this really it or are you leaving the door open because of the “cycle?”

    Now, before those who believe everything Gary says runs to his aid, these are legitimate issues…if the cycle is “cycling” why hasn’t the extended stretch of “decent” weather returned? Where is the surface low “bomb” associated with Hurricane Sandy? Don’t show me a map and say “there it is” or “I can’t help you see it” like you have told Jerry and others.

    Now, as for the recent snow forecast…I think sometimes people get overly excited because a weather model shows a huge amount of snow and they discount climatology. R-Dub was spot on, the snow won’t last, it won’t be huge amount of snow, and cold rain will be the major source of precipitation. I will give credit, you did state it wouldn’t impact the roads or sidewalks. I also don’t care if we got a dusting or 6 inches, just that fact that it snowed in May is aggravating enough.

    • udndcs


      I’m right there with you, man, and I’ve yet to see a firm answer as to why. Who remembers Gary screaming “when in a doubt, leave it out!” back in the fall? What happened to those days?

      My understanding is that the “cycle” refers to the large upper level storms, which do seem to fit in with Gary’s theory of regular recurrence. I think the LRC is quite valid in that regard. The big, big, big problem IMHO is that those storms can manifest hundreds of miles apart from each other at each recurrence of the cycle based on the jet stream, AO, blocking highs, and other large scale factors, which creates huge discrepancies on the micro/local forecast level. Personally, I don’t care if this same storm system was there 90 days ago but didn’t affect us because it dug in east of KC, or that the Great Lakes region was affected in November while we had beautiful weather here. On a local level, the past six weeks of weather have been very unlike the early and middle portions of this LRC season. The upper lows most definitely exist, but the wide variance of the storms’ locations seems to make local predictions of temp and precip quite tricky and only moderately associated with the larger scale features at best.

    • nofluer

      Three days of sun and 70 degree temperatures and a 4 days of snow, rain, and crashing temperatures? Is this the cycle?

      That would be a tri-cycle with a spare tire.

  • stjoeattorney

    Everything slid to the southeast, it does not surprise me that was the hotspot all winter long. Warrensburg, Missouri, had taken the cake all winter long there is no reason they should relinquish their trophy in May! :-).

    That having been said, it is an event that we will not likely see for quite some time. Look at Omaha, they received 3.1 inches of snow between two days and that was a May record.

    What surprises me is the continuous cold temperatures for highs, this could be the summer that never was. We had one of those in 1974. I do not think it got above 92 or 93° all summer long.

    This has been a busy day and I have only had the opportunity to look at the blog now, it is unfortunate that we have so much discontent and rabble-rouser going on. The forecast verified, plain and simple. Some people will never admit it, those of us who are regular bloggers just need to ignore them and move on.

    There are better things to do.

  • j-ox

    All of us are but a speck…but wanting an accurate forecast for our own little speck. What happens across town may be what was forecast, but since it didn’t happen to me, well…

    Said it before, and I’ll say it again. (Most) Any weatherman/meteorologist is doing the best they can. Why would they not?

  • Drought Miser

    Lets focus on next weekends storm any chance of eighties for Rockfest weekend or are we stuck in the seventies??


    If you look back at the April 30th “computer models agreeing” blog entry and take a look at the GFS model prediction for ending Saturday Gary posted. And then look at current national radar. It looks pretty spot on to what we are seeing right now.

  • mukustink


  • mukustink

    UGH anyone else having posts eating by the blog machine?

  • HeatMiser

    I have no idea what Gary forecast for Lawrence yesterday, but TWC had KC and Lawrence in a 5-9 inch swath of snow. Lawrence got absolutely nothing sticking, zero, zilch, zip, nada. Epic forecast fail by TWC.