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A Major Winter Storm Approaches

Good morning bloggers,

A major winter storm is developing today over the southern and central plains.  The heaviest snow is likely near I-70 between Columbia, MO and St. Louis.  Farther west, there is a rather big challenge and battle between the models. Of all of the main models, not including the short range models which have a very warm bias in this situation, only the GFS model holds the changeover time to after around 9 PM in KC.  This is a big difference from the others that have the rain changing to snow period happening before 6 PM.  This will be the difference between 2 or 3 inch total amounts and 10″ of snow near KC.  I lean in the direction of the other models right now, and we will be monitoring this rain/snow change time-frame closely.  This is a rather important factor as the NWS decided to not upgrade the Winter Weather Advisory in KC and this is a bit conservative.  The latest FV3 GFS has a foot of snow near KC and the European model has around 8 to 9 inches. I will stick with 4-8 inches for now as I am anticipating around a 6 PM changeover.  If it happens earlier then the amounts will be higher. Here are some of the maps I showed last night on the air:

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Rain will be developing in a lead band before noon, and then the main area of rain will approach from the southeast after noon.  The red areas show a few snowflakes mixing in, and the blue shades show where this model is predicting snow.

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This was our in-house model at KSHB-TV that shows the rain beginning to change to snow between 3 and 6 PM:

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As the storm strengthens to the west, we will experience some dynamic cooling of the entire layer, and it may very well be enough to change to rain to snow over most of the KC region by 7 PM with heavy bands of snow.

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By 6 AM Saturday morning, as the intense emotional day for football in KC begins. We have experienced such horrible playoff losses in the past 25 years. Six straight losses at Arrowhead stadium in the playoffs, and after last years 22-21 loss after leading 21-3, it is now in our heads. There is only one way to get it out; by beating the Indianapolis Colts.  by around half time of the game, the snow will be tapering off to flurries. The wind will be out of the northwest around 15 mph, and the impacts on the game may not be so significant, unless this storm slows down just a bit.  Getting to the stadium may be a nightmare if the higher snowfall totals materialize.

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So, there is a lot to discuss today. We will update the blog later this afternoon if the advisory gets updated to a warning.  Right now, it is a “nowcast” of today’s weather and we will be monitoring the surface temperatures closely.  The NAM model develops a “snow making machine”.  Take a look at this:

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The 850 mb level is around 5,000 feet above sea level. This is why you see the dark brown color over Colorado, New Mexico, and Mexico. This brown area shows where the elevation is above this level.  This map shows a snow making machine developing at this level and it is centered where I plotted the L.  The low at 850 mb will most likely track along the 0°C or 32°F line, which will take it on a perfect track to produce high amounts of snow.  KC will be in an ideal temperature range, at around midnight, of around -3°C.  As this system tracks across southern Missouri, the rain will be forced to change to snow, and it will be heavy.  So, again, when will that changeover happen. This will be fascinating to track in the next 24 hours.

Thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading and sharing in this weather experience.  Here is the link to the Weather2020 blog: Weather2020 Blog   It should be quite the conversation today.  Have a great day.

Gary

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