A cold front and then the storm

Watch 41 Action News Tonight At 10 PM for a segment on Global Climate Change!

Good morning bloggers,

There is a lot to go over today as a storm has our attention for later this week.  A cold front will pass through today with a chance of showers near the front. Cold air will blast back into the area and how much of this cold air gets in here is big factor for what will happen with the mid to late week storm system.

This week’s time line:

  • This morning:  A cold front will move through before noon.  The wind will be from the south with temperatures in the 50s ahead of the front.
  • This afternoon:  The wind shifts to the northwest with temperatures dropping into the upper 30s to lower 40s. Strong northwest winds will blow at speeds of 20-35 mph.
  • Tuesday:  Low temperatures near 20°. Sunny and cold with a high in the mid to upper 30s
  • Wednesday:  Staying dry with increasing clouds. A storm will be approaching the area with cold air getting trapped over the area
  • Wednesday Night:  Various types of precipitation develop and spread across our viewing area.  Snow will form across northern areas and snow, sleet, or freezing rain developing farther south.  Accumulations are likely of all of these types and significant problems are likely going to affect us by early Thursday morning
  • Thursday:  Snow, sleet, freezing rain, and rain will be likely across our viewing area.  Accumulations are again likely with the heavy precipitation shutting off by early afternoon.

Gary Snowflake 1

This picture is from Friday night’s snow showers. I had been at work for the past two year’s worth of snowstorms, which weren’t many.  So, I finally was able to get outside and act like a kid for a while.  Will we have more snow this week?

A cold front will move through this morning.  Here is the 7 AM surface map:



The cold front will be moving into an increasingly moist air mass and rain showers will begin developing. This will most likely happen just as the cold front passes Kansas City so we will likely stay mostly dry today with the exception of possibly one or two brief rain showers.  Colder air will then move in, with a second surge of colder air likely by Tuesday night.

Weather Discussion:

This is obviously a very difficult forecast.  A strong storm dropping down the west coast will affect Los Angeles first.  This is a strong system dropping down into the southwestern states and you can click on the map for a larger view:


The storm system that we are about to experience will be digging down the west coast and affecting Southern California tomorrow and tomorrow night.  1 to 2 feet of snow are likely across the Southern California mountains around Big Bear Lake.  This storm system will then turn our way. And, you can see the cold surge moving south around the eastern storm, yes another northeastern storm system.  The cold air surging in Tuesday night is of Arctic origin. How much cold air surges in will be one of the factors for Wednesday nights storm system. So, FACTOR #1:  Cold air surging in Tuesday night ahead of the storm.

Kansas City will be deeply into the cold air by Wednesday morning as the storm turns our way.  The upper level storm is another factor that is somewhat important. So, FACTOR #2: The development and track of the main upper level storm.

The upper level storm will be developing over California.  Let’s look at where the storm will be on Tuesday night:


The storm we are discussing hasn’t even developed yet, and this is why we really have to take a deep breath and see how it forms in the next two days.  After it develops we will get a better handle on where it will track.  This is a rather unusual set-up and even though the track of the upper level storm is very important there are other factors that are also coming into play.

Factor #3:  The depth of the cold air!

The NAM model this morning has come out with the 850 mb (5,000 foot level) temperatures colder than last night’s run and farther south.  This trend will likely lead to a better chance of snow from this storm.

Did I say this was unusual?  Okay, I have been writing this blog entry for hours now. I am going to take a break. Let’s discuss this in the comments section the rest of the morning into the afternoon. The latest NAM model has snow, then sleet, then snow and heavy amounts in our viewing area. And, then what it does at the surface and other layers of the atmosphere complicate this forecast even further.  We will begin making our precipitation amounts forecast later today.

Thank you for spending a few minutes reading the Action Weather Blog.  We will try to update the blog later this afternoon or evening, so check back in. Look for the updated blog entry by around 5 PM this afternoon.  Have a great start to the week.


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  1. Lets hope we get some kind of moisture, although ice would be less desirable. Still have not fueled my snow blower yet. Watching and reading here.

  2. Normally I love exciting winter weather; however, im flying back from florida and am scheduled to arrive back at mci at 7pm on Wednesday. Do I stand a chance to beat the storm and make it back into kc?

  3. Argh…I have not been able to log into this website for a while. I obviously figured it out.

    So, for you all that have been tracking the models, has the amount of precipitation to work with in this storm gone back up? I read yesterday that the models had trended toward less and less.

    It is interesting to see that the NWS has mentioned the possible storm for Monday.

    • The precip totals will likely be between 0.70″ and 1.00″ with this storm. We still have 2 1/2 days to really figure this out. We have a lot of model runs to go. So nothing is set in stone right now. We know based on the data that there will be a storm in KC with most of the precipitation being frozen. But how much all depends on the track of the storm and how much cold air we can funnel in with this cold front that is due to come in later tonight. Its all things we will be tracking today and through the week.

    • If it doesnt affect Kansas City it wont matter if its stronger. We know that this storm is going to have a high impact on KC. So lets focus on this storm first before we focus on a storm 8 days away.

  4. 12-16 in stjoe we will not get sleet, the cold is here off today on my way to KC to visit family.

    Monday next is lookig good as well



  5. Gary I live in Polo mo and was wondering if u think my area will mostly be snow or a little of everything

  6. Looking like Eastern Jackson County is going to see little snow at this time. Anyone else finding info different from that.
    I was looking on wxcaster only.

    • Craigmac….do you mean today’s little storm, Thursday storm, or the possible storm next Monday?

  7. Gary I think you may have a cavity. I would make an appt with the dentist.

    Let the madness begin! Can’t wait for all the discussions after each model run. Madness just madness I say.

  8. OK, Think I am caught up now. Wow going to be a good storm! headed out to get fresh fuel for the blower.

  9. Accuweather says Platte City will get 9.5in of snow. We know how accurate they are, I mean they are ACCUweather.


  10. LoL…Accuweather says 6-10 inches of snow for Lawrence. Problem is, their amount prediction will change a number of times before it gets here.

    • We would get that much snow if the set-up was different. The sleet will significantly cut into snowfall totals.

      • You’re probably right, but combined sleet and snow totals will probably be some of the best frozen accumulation of anything we’ve seen since 2011. The latest NAM also indicates less sleet and more snow, so it might not be that bad. :)

        • Its going to be the best storm we’ve had in a few years. But Im not buying the snow solution yet. I need to see more models and more runs agreeing for me to say this will be a snow event. I agree with f00dl3 right now. My gut says this will be a sleet event or a mixture of both. But like I said, once I see more model runs I will agree with the snow trend.

  11. Jjoel:

    If u are flying back on SWA from Fort Lauderdale Wed night, you should be fine. If they determine its going to get bad Wed overnight and Thurs morning, they sometimes cancel the inbound flts after 9 pm which are scheduled to remain overnight. They don’t want airplanes buried in the snow overnight. But I’m assuming you are on flt 330 which goes on to Dallas. You should be fine.

    I work for SWA in KC but my statements are my own opinion and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Southwest Airlines.

  12. I’m really thinking this is going to be a sleet event for the KC metro area. 2-5″ of sleet, with maybe an inch or two of snow. Less than 1/10″ of freezing rain accumulation.

  13. great write up this morning Gary! I’m not taking the bait from the nam. First prediction is for 3 to 5 of mix precip. Hope im wrong! Far nw mo ne ks 6 to 10.

  14. Hasn’t the NAM been too aggressive and wrong for pretty much every storm system this winter? I’m kinda wondering why the blog spends so much time talking about the most recent NAM run. What does the Euro model say?

    • R-Dub,

      The NAM is the first model out, and it is at least some first hint at a trend in how this will set up. Now, this is a very unusual set-up. Let’s see what the other models show. Usually when an upper low tracks well off to your northwest it won’t snow here. This is an unusual storm.

  15. Has anyone read the Omaha discussion? They talk about the axis of heaviest snow from SW Neb to SW Minnesota. I realize they don’t forecast for KC and the storm has multiple features, but doesn’t that axis, if they are right, make it sound like we can’t get in to the heavisest snow this far south from those locations? If it’s a massive storm, that usually means more snow for more locations, but less for a particular location. Anyone?

  16. have not seen the latest models yet but last nite they seem to agree kan/neb line was going to get well over a foot
    BRING IT ON!!!!!!!!

  17. R-Dub, I think you know why, the NAM is predicting the most snow, therefore it is the model of choice at this time. When will the local stations start doing their live shots from beside the roads to warn us of the impending doom?

  18. Other models not just the NAM are indicating significant accumulations of snow and sleet. Euro still has a fair amount of snow for KC.

    One trend that has been strong on most model data is that it looks to eliminate the potential for freezing rain for the KC area. Much more data to sort through, but, trends do favor a major storm for KC.

    All the bashing of the NAM accuracy, well, it was the first to pick up on that 1-3 inch snow Friday that went through eastern Ks. and the south side of KC. This is just one example, it has certainly been accurate at other times this winter, but at the same time, it has been rather inaccurate at times.

    All snow folks…with some sleet 6-10 inches likely.

    • The fact that the NAM picked up on a small feature that produced a brief snow shower Friday is not really relevant to this week. How has it performed with large systems this winter? The answer: terribly. Consistently predicted more precip than we really got.

    • Nam has sucked all season. Typical for this blog to pick the model with the most snow and hold onto it. Need to look at all data – not just models.

  19. NAM is just showing a more southerly track. I don’t even think it predicts far enough out yet to gives us snow predictions.

  20. I wonder what track it will take and how strong this one will be when it returns sometime in April.

  21. Dew points have surged into the 40’s this morning ahead of the front, rain may be likely for a short while today.

    Kole, good thinking….

  22. I see there’s already a growing band of rain (or snow?) up in Nebraska heading this way. Also, the new GFS is continuing the trend of being colder.


  23. I’ve been enjoying the disagreements of various forecasters. (For my place in Manhattan, KS)

    KSHB: we don’t really know, some sort of storm, accumulations likely but uncertain.

    NWS: snow, changing to sleet and eventually rain on Thursday, and then back to snow at the end. Accumulations in question. Hitting 37 degrees at some point Thursday.

    Earl Barker’s Maps: 8-10″ of snow, most of which will be early on before the switch to sleet/rain on Thursday

    TWC: BEHOLD! THE END IS NIGH! The personified system “Orko” shall be the doom of the Great Plains!

  24. “http://www.intellicast.com/National/Radar/Current.aspx?location=USKS0523&animate=true”

    This is not all reaching the ground but it is developing faster than forecasted. Outside my office here in Kansas City the roads are wet. I would say there is a 60% chance of rain showers through about 2pm.

  25. Brett..I noticed NWS has lowered their predicted high temp for thursday by a degree, from 38-37 lol. This has had me puzzled, if the high is going to be that, then alot of whatever we get should melt, at least on the roads. Gary, do you agree with NWS predicted high?

    • The temperatures will not get that high. If you pay attention to the NWS forecast often, you will notice that their temperature forecast is normally wrong. They are always higher. The temperature for most of this winter storm will be in the mid 20’s. By Thursday afternoon when the precipitation starts to end, we will likely rise to near freezing or a degree over.

  26. Get to the store NOW!! Get your eggs and bread and milk!! The end may be near!! Look for live shots starting at 4:30 from salt doams,overpasses, and grocery stores!

  27. No snow… The storm will stretch and leave us high and dry… Then we will talk of another storm. And the same thing will happen..leads to excitement and then disappointment… Now this pattern is most predictable!

  28. Did anyone else notice the title of today’s blog, this isn’t “a storm “, this is, “The Storm” . I just wish they would hurry up and start telling us what to do. (Nanny State)

    • Well how else would they describe it? It’s the only storm system that’ really going to affect us this week, and it’s not like one day out they’re going to say (anyone really) “a storm will do such and such. tomorrow.” No, they’ll probably say “THE storm will do such and such tomorrow.”

    • Skylar, it is well documented that you live under a perpetual vort max. It guarantees you will see more precipitation than anyone else out of any system, much like 4 miles NW of Liberty..

      • It is well documented that you live under a perpetual cloud of snark. Please lighten up or this will be a long week.

        • Rick,

          It is well documented that you are the self annointed Queen of Courtesy and Civility on the blog. Nothing makes for a longer week than sanctimonious and self righteous people who feel it is their moral obligation to make sure nothing disturbs the warm and fuzzies of others.

      • I’m actually had light rain for almost two hours here in downtown Lee’s Summit. Even a few ice pellets.

  29. “http://grib2.com/gfs/CONUS_GFS0P5_SFC_ACCUM-SNOW_84HR.gif”

    latest GFSsnow map show 4-8″ for the metro, with hight amounts JUST to our N/NW

  30. New GFS has a snow to sleet to snow scenario on the south side of KC, but north side and north from there stays almost all snow. I agree freezing rain is not the threat according to latest model runs (but of course it can still change). Now the challenge is deciding how much sleet falls across different parts of the city, cutting down snow accums. If it was all snow, 6-10 inches across the city.

  31. REALLY! Trying to forecast a MAJOR STORM 70 plus hours out and we cant even forecast precipitation 3 hours correctly! We had a 10% chance this morning (amazingly that recent changed to 50%). Fun to talk about, but NOBODY really knows what is going to happen as far as rain, sleet, ice or snow.

  32. Yeah it will probably change and surprise us. I have a feeling the forecast will change while the event is happening.

  33. I think The Weather Channel should start naming all lightning producing storms. Historically, lightning kills more people every year than hurricanes and tornadoes combined!

  34. Why is it that EVERY storm seems to be “unusual” or “difficult to forecast”?? Where are the “usual” storms that are “easy to forecast”?? If every storm is “unusual”, wouldn’t that make them “usual”??? Hmmmmmm…..

  35. I think I need to lay off the blog, maps, and various channels because no one seems to know what is going to really happen. Just when I get excited about snow, another channel pipes in and says that the warm air will “take over” and it will be mostly sleet and rain with a little snow. They went as far as to say 1.5 inches of “moisture” and like .8 inches of snow. Blah….you can keep that forecast. please tell me this is not true. I am giving up weather for Lent. Can I do that?

    • Thinking maybe they meant 0.8″ of moisture equivalent in snow. That would equate to about 8″ of snow. I don’t know anyone that would forecast 0.8″ of snow three days out. LOL

  36. The next Storm to be named is a Q Storm.
    Next Weeks would be Rain then.
    Also could name Severe Weather Systems.
    No need to have Reporters out by Major Roads,Salt Domes and so on intill 2-21.

  37. Crazy how the line of precip continues to set up right through the middle of the city…here in Grain Valley, its been a light to steady rain for a couple of hours. I wonder how this pattern of usually heavier precip on the south and southeastern parts of the city will pan out with this next system? .15 so far and still raining.

  38. Not to get ahead of ourselves here, but the 12Z ECMWF projects another monster storm around a week or so out. Quite a change from the rest of the winter.

    • 12z GFS shows it, too. 1.8″ of liquid falling as snow.


      Won’t happen but it is nice to see the pattern changing.

  39. Let us remember…we are in the midst of a very significant drought. Without the benefit of a hurricane, we’d have gotten little impactful rain in the last 10 months. Unless this is going to be a hurricane of snow….the pattern says we may not get much.

    How many times has Professor Lezak bemoaned, over the last year, that storms have just missed KC? Its midday Monday, and we are talking about a storm that is at least 60 hours away….lots can happen in that much time.

    Lord knows we need the precip…however we can get it. But lets keep our heads.

  40. The trend is for the low pressure track to be farther south so in response the forecasts should reflect that, but no one truly knows what is going on! The local meteorologists should bet each other on storms like this and the losing ones should have to team up and shovel the driveway of the winning one! Gary, what do you think about this?

    • Maybe we will beat the all time high Temperature not once but twice like he predicted in July that didnt happen lol.

      • Are you planning on contacting the local Olathe School District and advising them about the cancelling school? I know they haven’t been able to function without good old Weatherman Kumke calling the shots. I mean, you did cancel school 6 times your senior year…pay no heed to the fact we received 40+ inches of snow that year and every school district had 6-9 snow days.

  41. Anyone taking bets on how this storm will pan out and how much snow will fall? Maybe we can set up a trading instrument similar to weather derivatives. LWTP, or “Lezak’s Weather Trading Platform”. This way some of you who claim to know your stuff can put the money where the mouth is!

  42. For those of you who dont know, I am a professional storm chaser and travel the country chasing tornadoes and all sorts of severe weather. I was an intern here at 41 Action News for about 3 years and thanks to Gary and everybody at KSHB, I have learned well how to forecast and do the things I do. I have launched my Facebook page to discuss the forecast and I will be posting pictures and other things from my storm chases.If you go to facebook.com/jacobhoneycuttwx you can like my page and feel free to comment and join the conversation.

    Thanks guys!
    Jacob Honeycutt

  43. The only real trend I’ve seen with the models is that warm air is going to overrun the cold air at the surface. The cold air at the surface extends up into the 825 mb layer, but there is warm air above that. The 540 line is going to be hovering around or just north of Kansas City. This means that the cold air is going to be deep enough to freeze precipitation, but the precipitation will be falling from a level where the temperatures will be slightly above freezing. Read: Sleet.

    • I see that, too. I also see a reduction in total precip amounts. 12z GFS shows .8ish compared to >1 yesterday and earlier.

      • I think one thing that was throwing people off yesterday is that when looking at total accumulated precip it showed over 1″ while 60 hour accumulated precip showed .8-.9″ – the models were picking up on today’s light rain event but everyone was ignoring that and thinking that higher total was the THU event only.

        • Could be, but I like to look at the numerical output here:


          … which splits it out by event (assuming you can do some addition!)

  44. I think it’s due to come on shore this evening. Let’s see what the models say once they are able to sample the storm system. We may be dissapointed come Thursday. Who knows. Only mothernature knows and she’s been a bitch towards KC lately lol.

  45. Here is the latest SREF from MKC. (Downtown Airport)


  46. For right now I’m going to stick to my forecast of 10-14″ , but I reserve the right to adjust that by 10-14″ either direction as we get closer to this historical storm. Still waiting for Sly James first storm presser . . . . The populace has got to know what to do!

  47. “http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/pwpf_24hr/prb_24hsnow_ge12_2013021900f072.gif”

    chance of seeing geater than 12″ of snow


    chance of seeing greate than 8″ of snow

  48. Let’s not forget the special tonight on climate change. I’m counting down the hours. It’s all of ours faults you know blogging and burning precious electricity! Come Thursday we may not have any you know!

  49. Ok, 15 miles east of Warsaw, getting a good soaking now. Would I be paranoid to prepare for a significant ice accumulation with power out here?

  50. At first glance the 18z NAM is looking better for less sleet and more snow. :)

    This doubles KC’s accumulations from 12z: “http://www.instantweathermaps.com/NAM-php/showmap-conussfc.php?run=2013021818&time=PER&var=ASNOWI&hour=075″

  51. It baffles me how anyone thinks this will be a snow event – or even minimal snow at this time. 18Z run of the NAM continues to support my thinking this will be a SLEET event. Right now I’m even thinking we will be lucky to see more than 1″ of snow in the KC metro.

    Historically, Kansas City does NOT get snow from storm systems pulling the source moisture from the southwest to northeast when 500MB temperatures are above the 540 threshold – for the entire event based on all the data I am seeing the 500 MB level is going to be pulling warm air up OVERRUNNING the surface cold air, which will be very deep at the surface until the end where it may get within 1-3 degrees of freezing.

    • I see your point and have been thinking the same thing (more sleet than snow), However, the snow forecast algorithm (see Sklar’s link right above your post) built into the NAM does show much higher totals.

    • Very true, but there’s also another side; storm systems that collide with a 1040mb high moving out of Canada usually shift south of what the models predict, and the trend has been for the temperatures to be colder. We could easily end up getting nothing but sleet and a few snowflakes, but there is also a possibility of some decent snow.

    • all snow folks, deep cold from the ground up. The arctic high settling south will be a strong one. Perfect set-up for snow. It will be a snow making machine. Should be about a 12-14:1 ratio.
      6-10 inches easy with some 12″ reports within 50 miles of Downtown KC. WAA into a cold air mass should produce plenty of moisture.

      Ya know, I should factor in that the drought soils will cause less moisture for the atmosphere to work with which in return will hold total precip. amounts down.

      EMAW, did you get to the store yet?? Lines are long…

      • You just can’t get over yourself, can you Mower man? You should factor in your vort max over your house too, because no matter what happens at KCI, you’ll have twice as much 4 miles NW of Liberty!

        Storm isn’t even on shore yet. Warm air will win out and cut snow totals drastically.

        • I’m with Mike on this one. Theo you made comments over and over again about how we can’t get big amounts of rain due to the drought and nothing to do with weather patterns. Then, we promptly got a couple of soaking rains. If what you say is true about not being able to generate enough moisture to produce sufficient precip due to the drought, how do we EVER get out of the drought? Wouldn’t we always stay in a drought then?

        • KCpurpledog,

          He hasn’t confessed to being wrong. Its tough for him to do that. He predicted widespread .25 inches of rain for the last rain event with isolated .50 inches of rain.(for the record, you did not say KCI was the verification site for this particular prediction. The fact was that most of the city south and east of KCI had well over .50 inches of rain.(this was confirmed by the NWS, a billion $ operation, I guess that they’re wrong too.) Plus, many trusted bloggers posted rainfall amounts of .75 or better.

          I live 14 miles from KCI, I will likely have different amounts every storm.(also, the last 2 heavy rain events set-up along and south of I-35, east of KCI, so, that’s the reason for less rainfall. I have measuring equipment certified by the NWS. You’re more then welcome to come and see my set-up following the next storm. I measure snow on a snow board, the proper way to do it.

          We have had some good opinions together and certainly some different point of views. But, if your trying to turn this into who’s right and wrong, the facts will show that clearly.

          Bottom line, you stated that the dry grounds cause less moisture in the atmosphere which in return causes storms to produce less precip. per event. I argued that we were just in an awful weather pattern and that was the reason. You called it hogwash. Well, the last month or so has proven your argument wrong. We have had very wet storms and we have several on the way. Time to put this to rest.

          Have a good evening. Remember, mainly a snow event heading this way.

  52. 18z NAM continues on the yellow brick road…a little bit more moisture than last run and a little further south by about 20 miles for the elusive 540 line.

    • “http://mag.ncep.noaa.gov/Image.php?model=nam&area=namer&param=1000_500_thick&cycle=18&image=nam%2F18%2Fnam_namer_054_1000_500_thick.gif”

    • “http://mag.ncep.noaa.gov/Image.php?model=nam&area=namer&param=1000_500_thick&cycle=18&image=nam%2F18%2Fnam_namer_072_1000_500_thick.gif”

      And this is during heart of the most moisture over top.

  53. “http://www.instantweathermaps.com/NAM-php/showmap-conusncep.php?run=2013021818&var=PCPTHKPRS_850-700mb&hour=069″

    Sleet storm.

  54. 12z Euro shows it plenty cold at 850MB.


  55. “http://wxcaster4.com/nam/CONUS1_MESO-ETA212_SFC_ACCUMSNOWFALL-KUCHERA_84HR.gif”

    latest NAM snow map shows 6-12″ for the metro depending on where yo live

    • more like maybe 2 inches south of I-70. 8-12 by Iowa boarder. 3-5 inches of sleet and a glazing of ice.

      • Kumke,

        When is the last time KC has had 3 inches of sleet, let alone 5 inches. I certainly can’t remember. Very uncommon for that to happen around here. But, I guess there’s a first for everything.

  56. ALERT ALERT Price Chopper is low on bread eggs and milk. EMAW GET OFF THE COMPUTER AND RUN TO PC or HYVEE NOW!!!!

    • You bring so much to the blog. Keep it up. I sure have missed you since you were “banned.” I wonder if you are sitting at the local Independence library logging on and refreshing the page so you can spread your insights. Sure hope you don’t get pulled over again…those IDP officers can be a real pain.

      • Yep they sure can be. Then again that’s why you pay $350.00 to the attorney to make them go away. I’m in the comfort of my own home office thanks for asking. What do you have planned for the snow day? A trip to the head doctor for refills?

    • Here we go…enjoying the blog today, getting ready for “MUKUSTINKS” to start reporting on the activities of everyone else. Look out KC Champs and Mike and anyone else…

      • Everyone is enjoying the blog except you? Are you low on your meds? Please don’t skip doses. Thanks.

  57. I am fascinated by how consistant the majority of the models have been at keeping the cutoff line right around the south side of the city. With each run we can put more stock into what the models are saying.

    And please keep the maps coming, they are fun to look at, informative, and they bring out the best of snow lovers and worse of snow haters.

  58. The thing that bothers me and why I don’t think it’s going to be a snow event is the fact that for at least a good duration of the event the 500MB layer heights will be above 540. This means that the precipitation will at one level of the atmosphere melt and then as it enters the 850 layer it will re-freeze into sleet until it hits the ground. In fact, with the 850-surface layer as deep as it is, it wouldn’t surprise me to have a bit of small hail mixed in with convective banding. For snow you generally need it to start as snow and stay snow all the way down. Yes – if that 1040 high can push the track further south, there is a chance it could be colder. Yes, the latest NAM has the 540 line further south. Thing is I know historically the NAM has a tendancy to be cold.

    • “http://mag.ncep.noaa.gov/Image.php?model=nam&area=namer&param=850_temp_mslp_precip&cycle=18&image=nam%2F18%2Fnam_namer_060_850_temp_mslp_precip.gif”



      Looks plenty cold to me according to the NAM

      • YOU AREN’T LOOKING AT THE RIGHT THICKNESS!. Look at the 1000-500mb and the 850-750 thicknesses. Those will tell you sleet and Freezing rain potential. Not just surface temps.

        • “http://mag.ncep.noaa.gov/Image.php?model=nam&area=namer&param=1000_500_thick&cycle=18&image=nam%2F18%2Fnam_namer_072_1000_500_thick.gif”

          You mean this thickness? As in cold enough to snow? I am being realistic. The chances are this will all change many many times.

      • At 850 – yes. At 500 – no. Heights are 543-546 at the 500 level. That would melt the snow and it would then hit the 850 level and re-freeze into ice pellets before landing on the ground.



    • Exactly What I have been saying. Yet, People get butthurt because they want snow so badly instead of facing reality.

  59. Yes, my wife went to the store earlier she said it was complete pandemonium , the only thing I’m lacking is some rope and a safety harness for when I go up to shovel off the roof. Mike I think you’re a bit low on your forecast snow totals, this is goingto be a snowstorm of epic proportions ,one for the ages!

  60. My estimate

    South of I-70- starting as sleet then snow- 3-6
    North of I- 70- mostly snow- 6-10

  61. Please, we don’t need anybody getting “butthurt” this is a serious situation we are going to encounter this week.

  62. Lets see what the models say tomorrow night! Fun to watch them change back and forth. What are the chances the snow goes *POOF* and we get nothing but rain?

  63. Probably should go ahead and close all schools for this week. That will give everyone a chance to stock up. Looking like this could be one of those massive 2-4 inch superstorms! Does it have a name yet? “Q” is next right?

    • It’s called winter storm Q ironically. More often than not when the 540 is that close we end up missing out on the big snows while areas 20 miles to our north enjoy a 6″+ snowstorm.

    • Good Idea. Close all schools. Hand each kid a shovel on the way home tomorrow. We will need them to dig us all out come Friday!!

  64. New GFS goes the opposite direction of the NAM on precip, but it is colder at least.


  65. I saw the same thing. I think the question will be for KC metro will be how much sleet vs snow? Sleet will really cut into snow totals. I say we catch mothernature and torture her till she tells us what she has instore for us!

  66. Skyler , throw the GFS out it can’t be right. Another tip people before this thing hits, mark your mailboxes !

  67. I’m just guessing (like the models are at this point), but what I feel in my gut is the storm won’t get it’s act together until it has passed to the south, north, or east of KC. Either that, or it will be a decent storm but then peter out as it comes into KC.

  68. Feeling dumb but what exactly is the 540 line? Also how sure are we that temperatures will go above 32 Thursday?

    • Don’t feel dumb, it’s pretty inside technical stuff. Basically the thickness of the atmospheric layers is a guide to whether we get snow or rain. A rule of thumb is that the thickness between 1000mb and 500mb should be 5,400 meters (540 decameters) or less to get snow. Thus the “540 line”.

    • “http://www.theweatherprediction.com/habyhints/97/”

      Here you go. The 540 line is loosely tied to a transition between snow and other forms of precip. However, there are multiple variables that go into determining snow vice sleet or other forms of precip.

      • Okay. That makes more sense. Thanks for the clarity and something for me to look at as I am trying to build my meteorological lingo. I was starting to think that the 540 line was some highway I knew nothing about… :)

  69. This is the funniest thing I’ve read all day. I know zip about meteorology and the alphabet soup acronyms mean nothing to me but other than the occasional name-calling snark the humor just can’t be beat. I’ve been laughing for five minutes, thanks!

  70. “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0Ou4L3y-H8″ This is How the Snow lovers get there info spread.

  71. Ah common Gary…update yer blog. It’s coming up on 5:00 there hasn’t been an update in many hours.

  72. Also go some where where it’s warm because never know could be covered in Snow and can’t see.

  73. I don’t want to speak for Theo , but I think his point was that once drought is established it feeds off itself and becomes harder to break. When the earth is dry and parched there’s less humidity in the air, less juice for the atmosphere to work with to help form rain.

  74. This might be a useful link for those looking at model predictions and trying to figure out if that’s showing sleet, snow, or rain…very technical though.


  75. It’s kind of a double edge sword. If the storm tracks how the NAM shows it tracking, you get higher QPF due to warm air advection occuring at the 500MB level. If the storm tracks as the GFS indicates, you get less QPF because at the 500MB level warm, less warm moist tropical Pacific air is being thrusted over our cold, CP airmass. You would have thickness stay below 540, but you wouldn’t have as much moisture. Kind of a trade-off. If the storm tracks too far south of us, convection will rob even more moisture. Quite honestly, that’s why typically in our region we don’t see huge 12″+ snowfall events unless you have a powerhouse storm system. While this one is strong, it’s not powerhouse like the big New England lows we’ve had this year or the Feb 2 2011 blizzard – it’s just a storm with a good moisture fetch.

  76. “http://coolwx.com/modelts/images/nam/current/KMCI/temp.png” This is really one of the best images that kind of illustrate the problem – based on 12z NAM (so it is a bit dated) – but it shows the area of above freezing temperatures wedged in the 725-825MB layer (you wouldn’t see it at the 850MB level because it’s back below freezing at that level.

  77. Foodl3,

    Well said. I just been anything more than 4 inches with this storm will be a bonus.

    • I think anything shy of 5″ would be a pretty significant disappointment considering the strength of the storm. More ice will equal more disappointment as far as I’m concerned. Sleet sure does look like the probable form of precip for the majority of this storm though.. Uggh.

  78. Well, I think the best thing to do in this situation is to sit back with a nice glass of scotch and watch the weather do it’s thing.

    Will it snow, will it rain, will it sleet, will it do anything?

    I don’t know, but I do know I’ll be enjoying a nice glass of Glenfiddich. :)


  79. There is a chance for a forecast of lots of snow or ice. That means they have already closed schools on Thursday!

    • Some districts have late starts on Thursday, I expect it’ll only take a whiff of Winter weather to get them to close.


  80. 18z NAM for KMCI – ~1.14″ total – 0.56″ liquid as snow and 0.58″ liquid as sleet “http://coolwx.com/modelts/images/nam/current/KMCI/prec.png”

  81. Gary just on air…he said most likely storm will be sleet and snow event and not so much freezing rain to worry about. Should start KC Metro Thursday by sunrise at 100% chance with high of 32 degrees Thursday. However, I believe he actually just said we will get at least an inch and “perhaps even more”…now that’s a safe estimation…??? I guess we obviously stand to potentially not get much from this “monster” we’ve been hyping for 3 days now? Confused…an inch seems an odd first number to throw out given all the other talk going on about this storm…I’m definitely no expert, though. I trust what you are saying Gary! Just a little confused…