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Good morning bloggers,
- WINTER STORM WARNING across northwestern Missouri and northeastern Kansas (This is north of Kansas City)
- Winter Weather Advisory for the KC metro area and surrounding communities
Winter Storm Time-line:
- Today: Cloudy with a chance of a few rain showers. High: 45°
- 6 PM-Midnight: Scattered showers with a chance of a thunderstorm. The rain/snow changeover line will be northwest of a St. Joseph, MO to Manhattan, KS line & drifting southeast. Temperatures staying above 32° in most areas.
- Midnight-4 AM: Rain changes to snow and becomes heavy at times late in this period. Temperatures will drop to below freezing with increasing winds as the snow begins to fall.
- 4 AM-9 AM Thursday: A 100% chance of snow in all locations with near blizzard conditions possible across northern Missouri and northeastern Kansas. 30 to 50 mph winds from the northwest will be increasing and spreading across the local region. Snowfall accumulations of 4″ to 7″ will be possible north of Kansas City. 1″ to 4″ of snow possible in the Kansas City metro area. And, a dusting to 2″ possible farther south and southeast of Kansas City. The map is posted below
Weather Summary:A powerful storm will be intensifying over the plains tonight and Thursday. This will have major impacts on many locations from Kansas and Colorado northeast across parts of Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa extending into Wisconsin, Illinois and other Great Lakes states. It will then affect the northeastern United States for a few days with rain, wind, and snow. Major Lake-Effect snow will also develop in the wake of this powerful storm that is directly related to the part of the weather pattern, as described by the LRC, that produced Superstorm Sandy. The Kansas City viewing area will be impacted by this major winter storm later tonight and Thursday as it intensifies over Missouri early Thursday morning.
This first map shows the beginning of this storm organizing as it moves out into the plains states this evening:
A blizzard will be developing this evening over parts of western Kansas & eastern Colorado extending into southern Nebraska. Kansas City may see a few rain showers and maybe even a thunderstorm, more likely off to our east, this evening. This storm is then forecast to intensify and, as you can see below on this next map, snow will potentially be heavy for two to three hours as the storm intensifies and tracks across Missouri. There may be a brief period of sleet as the rain changes to snow by around 3 or 4 AM Thursday.
Near blizzard conditions are possible by the morning rush hour Thursday and it may be difficult to measure the snow in some areas as it will likely be blowing around with winds gusting to over 40 mph, and possibly as strong as 50 mph. We rarely have winds that strong with snow in our area. If we end up with 2 or more inches of snow then the travel conditions will be much worse. Here is our snowfall forecast as of early this morning. We will update this forecast as we gather more information and this storm comes more into focus this afternoon and evening.
The new data coming out this morning is consistent with what it has been showing and our confidence in this forecast is strong.
Let’s take a look at the evolution of this storm that is taking place right now. This map, on the left, shows the vorticity maximum (Vort Max) located over the northern Texas Panhandle by 6 PM tonight. This is going to actually strengthen and track southeast of Kansas City which will place us in about a 3 to 4 hour period of rather significant snowfall from the lifting near the comma head of this storm.
By midnight the vort max is forecast to track across northern Oklahoma and that little circle near Wichita shows a small upper level low developing. This storm is now going through the expected intensification as the trough becomes negatively tilted. If this happens and develops as forecast by this morning’s NAM model, then we would be in that wide band of snow during the early morning rush hour.
On this next map, you can now see the storm becoming negatively tilted. I drew in a dashed black line showing the north northwest to south southeast tilt of the storm which means it is becoming more energetic an maturing into an even stronger system as it crosses the Kansas/Missouri border. We would fully be in the comma head at this time, but as the trough zips by the precipitation would likely cut off by mid to late morning.
Here is the simulated reflectivity at 6 AM from the NAM model. The blue shade is snow and the green shade is rain. As you can see there isn’t any freezing rain with this system. The little red dots show some sleet. We may have a brief period of sleet as this system moves in.
The other part of this storm, which may be quite significant, is the wind. Take a look at the surface map valid at 6 AM Thursday:
The strong surface low, that is being generated by the negatively tilted upper level storm, is just northwest of St. Louis. It may be 60 degrees in St. Louis at 6 AM while we drop into the 20s here in Kansas City. It will be quite a strong temperature gradient. And, speaking of gradients, those solid black lines are isobars. And they are quite close together near Kansas City, in fact I think the strongest pressure gradient is right here at 6 AM. This would imply that we will have nearly 50 mph winds for a while tomorrow morning causing blowing and drifting of the snow with a potential ground blizzard.
We will go over these details on 41 Action News today and tonight. Please remember to follow the rules of the blog!
Thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading the Action Weather Blog! Let us know if you have any questions or comments as this storm moves through during the next 24 hours. Check back in for a weather blog update later this afternoon or evening.