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We are moving into our fourth cloudy day in a row and a storm system is approaching. A weak disturbance will be passing overhead today and then a much stronger system will move across Wednesday night. There is a good chance we will see a quick band of rain changing to snow Wednesday night, but be careful about how excited you get about this first fast moving storm. It is going to be a very fast moving system and our window of opportunity for any accumulation of snow will be quite small for a few hours Wednesday night.
There is a Dense Fog Advisory in effect this morning. The winds are light and some fog has developed. A disturbance zipping by aloft today will move past us by early this afternoon. There will be almost no wind today. The fog will lift, but it may stay cloudy most of the day. After the disturbance move by we may see some clearing. And, then our attention will focus on Wednesday’s storm system.
This first map shows a surface forecast valid at 6 PM Wednesday evening. A storm system will be strengthening at the surface with a low pressure area forecast to be near the Oklahoma/Kansas border just southeast of Wichita, KS. The first blue dashed line is the 540 mb thickness line. This 540 line is quite often indicative of where the rain changing to snow line will be located. Notice that at 6 PM Wednesday there may be some drizzle or light rain just beginning to develop, but this 540 line is still back over central Kansas. A snowstorm will be developing Wednesday afternoon and evening over northwestern and western Kansas.
By midnight Wednesday night that 540 line is passing us, so it would become cold enough to snow at this time, but will there be any precipitation left? The surface low is forecast to be near Columbia Missouri at this time with heavy snow forecast by this computer model across the northwestern half of Iowa extending southwest into northeastern Kansas. You can click on either of these two maps for a larger view.
Take a look at where the upper level storm is forecast to track:
This map, above, shows an upper low centered just north of Kansas City with a vorticity maximum (we call it a vort max) located just southeast of Kansas City. You can see this vort max by looking at the big X on the map. This is a rather strong and fast moving upper level storm. The potential for snow is much greater along and northwest of the track of these features. I would like to see it track a bit farther south, and then I would be convinced that the snowflake contest would quickly come to an end around midnight Wednesday night. If this system tracks any further north, then we could get missed by any accumulation of snow.
I will be analyzing the new data and we will try to update the blog later this afternoon after we establish a trend in the computer models. The snowflake contest may come to an end Wednesday night. We will be working on some special weather graphics including a snowfall accumulation forecast map on 41 Action News tonight.
Have a great day! Thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading the Action Weather Blog.