A Northern Plains & Upper Midwest Winter Storm

Good morning bloggers,

Kansas City Weather Time-Line:

  • Today:  Windy and unseasonably warm through 2 PM. Then, the wind will shift to the northwest with temperatures dropping later this afternoon. High:  68°


The weather pattern is fascinating and also seemingly frustrating for the weather enthusiasts around Kansas City.  If you have been monitoring the computer models and waiting for something exciting to show up, then you are likely quite frustrated.  Oh, it is exciting today way up to the  north and we will begin with that, but farther south it is dry, getting drier, and there seems to be no major storm systems in sight.

Screen Shot 2017-12-04 at 7.17.07 AM

This current storm tracking into the plains is right on schedule.  The LRC is coming even more into focus as we move through this first week of December. It now appears that the cycle length may very well be closer to 42-49 days (centered on 45.5 days), which was our first assumption way back in October.  In my 30 years of experience in tracking and finding this big piece of the atmospheric puzzle, it has usually taken until around December 10th or so before we can finally narrow in on the cycle length. This storm looks awfully similar to one from 42 1/2 days before Tuesday night. Take a look:

Screen Shot 2017-12-04 at 7.30.51 AM

If you are new to the LRC, then let me introduce it to you.  According to the LRC:

  • A unique pattern sets up in the fall between October 1st and November 30th
  • Long term long-wave troughs and ridges become established (anchor troughs and ridges).  These large scale features are where storm systems will be reaching their peak strength most often, and the ridges are where they will reach their weakest strength most often. If you are near a one of the anchor troughs, then you have a much better chance of having an above average number of precipitation producing storm systems.
  • The pattern is cycling, and a cycle length becomes established by around the first half of December. This cycle length then is set, and consistent from the rest of fall, winter, spring, and through the next summer until another unique pattern sets up the next October

We have had a unique pattern, one that has never happened before, set up in the past few weeks. We make a lot of assumptions, but it is likely now set. The LRC itself is almost flawless. The accuracy of the cycling pattern is nearly 100%. The challenge for the weather forecaster is to make forecasts in the future from one day to up to almost 300 days from now and to get them accurately predicted. If you can get 60 to 70% of your forecasts predicted accurately, then this would be just incredible. This is what we strive for at Weather2020, LLC.  We have been increasingly accurate in the past few years, but 60 to 70% also means a 30 to 40% error rate.

Just look at our first true comparison from our first cycle to the beginning of the second cycle. These two maps are 42 and a half days apart. Just a week ago it appeared to be 49 days.  We will confirm the cycle length in the next three weeks. For now what does this mean? In KC, it is very dry. Our winter forecast is for it to be dry, but also for this pattern to produce some snow, 21.5″ in my forecast for the winter season.

Today’s Surface Map, from 7:43 AM central time:


A strong cold front is approaching from the northwest.  The chance of rain with a few thunderstorms increases after the front passes by KC.  So, the chance of measurable rain is around 20% for a very brief window early this afternoon as the front passes by.

What happens next will be monitored closely.  Will it snow later this week? Kansas City has not had one snowflake yet on the south side of the city. KCI Airport did have snow on October 31st. But, for the rest of us, we are still waiting.

Have a great day, and thank you for participating and sharing in the Action Weather Blog experience. Go over to Weather2020.com and click on the blog over there to join in the conversation.


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1 comment to A Northern Plains & Upper Midwest Winter Storm

  • nomotiger

    Those were some pretty big storms for December with small hail and major wind damage farther east near Moberly, it will be interesting to see how strong this system is with storms when it cycles back through the next several times and in the Spring. 72 and record warmth and mid 30’s not far to the northwest, crazy.