Tough Forecasts Ahead

Good morning bloggers,

The dry weather pattern just goes on and on.  We are forecasting a more active month ahead with some better chances for precipitation. Our next chance will arrive soon and here is a graphic I showed last night at 10 PM.



The models have not been very good at predicting this pattern past day four or five. They have had an occasional success, but this is where the LRC comes in to help.  This first map shows the 500 mb flow (18,000 feet up) from December 10th:

2This was the beginning of an energetic last few weeks of December when we actually had our two small snow events and a little bit of rain. If the exact same thing happens in the next month it will at least be fun to track, but it will still leave us rather dry as we move into spring.  This is a very big concern. I will be having our spring forecast on February 27th on 41 Action News.  This map, on the left, shows a rather broad trough that did produce a major snowstorm over Minnesota last month.

1This second map is a forecast valid 00z January 31st or 52 days after the first map. We are in a cycling pattern, according to the LRC, that has been between 50 and 55 days. Last nights GFS model (06z run) can be thrown out. Some previous GFS models have had this pattern picked out pretty well. Last nights European model just happened to pick up on the pattern. The previous European models have been failing miserably on predicting this pattern.  But, this last nights version of the ECMWF is almost identical at day 9 to what is likely going to set up as the big picture next week.

There will be as storm developing next week, but how much of an impact will it have on our area?  In the last cycle, this storm only produced 0.02″ at KCI airport and a decent cold front. It was followed by three active and somewhat wet storm systems in the three weeks that followed this previous cycles storm.  Let’s see how it sets up this time.

Now,  I am talking about the big, overall weather pattern. Other waves can get caught in the flow and produce storm systems and potentially some of our heaviest winter precipitation. One of these systems did show up on last nights GFS model, but do we believe it? If it’s right, then we would have a heavy precipitation event around Saturday night or Sunday, but I am not sure I buy that potential yet.  Remember, I believe the GFS completely failed after this shorter term wave, so it leaves that wet weekend system as very suspect at the moment.

Have a great morning. We will go over the details of this developing weather pattern on 41 Action News today and tonight.  Thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading the Action Weather Blog.


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21 comments to Tough Forecasts Ahead

  • Kole Christian


    New GFS is a lot more wet

  • HeatMiser

    We don’t have the technology to predict storms hitting our area five or more days out. This is evidenced by the history of storm forecasts in our area and your comments about the unreliabilty of models. So trying to do so, while it might be fun, is really pretty much guessing and in reality meaningless to what actually ends up happening. A roll of the dice might have better odds. Let’s wait until a couple of days out when we have at least a somewhat reasonable statistical chance of “guessing” what will happen.

  • Jerry

    Have you ever thought about putting out a more detailed February/March forecast sometime in January?

    If my understanding of your theory is sound, it seems like the ideal time to do long-range forecasting. In the summer, you often talk about how hard it is because the pattern is breaking down…and in the fall, you can’t do long-range foreacsting because the new pattern is just setting up…and in the winter, you are just getting a handle on the pattern length. So by now — late January — according to your theory, you’ve been through a couple of cycles. It seems like the ideal time to put together something of a detailed long-range forecast.

    What I mean is something with more definition than “Some arctic air will push in — with some mild breaks in between, and 2-4 wet storms between late January and late February” since such an amorphous forecast will almost certianly verify every year, regardless of the ‘pattern.’

    If I read him right, Doug Heady has been doing detailed long-rangers for several years now, and I’m curious why you’ve been reluctant to do the same.

    • Jerry,

      Friday, something special comes out Friday that will answer your questions. I am not quite done with it yet.


      • Jerry

        Well you’ve certainly piqued my interest.

        Fingers crossed for a peer-reviewed paper being submitted for publication somewhere!

        I know you’ve been talking about it for several years, but I hadn’t heard much on this front lately…maybe this is why!

  • mowermike


    I just don’t agree. The weather models can be very accurate 2-4 days out and give you trends for days beyond 4. Now, is it going to tell you exactly what will fall in your backyard 5 days from now, probably not, but it will show potential amounts and a trend for what area of the country it may hit. Yes, weather models have clearly been wrong in the past and will be wrong in the future. However, these long range outlooks do help out in predicting future storms.

    Case and point: The GFS on Jan. 15th last week showed a cold air mass for Monday Jan. 21st and Jan.22nd for the KC area. It also showed a light precip. event to develop where the retreating cold air and the WAA boundary would be. That happen this morning to our North where it was predicted to be. Sure, it wobbled a bit from run to run as we approached Monday, but it gave us a heads up on a potential. Not a big deal, but the 7 day outlook from the GFS showed this potential and it happened. It also predicted day 8 to have a warm-up which is what is forecast for tomorrow.

    I’m not saying that they’re always right, because that’s not true, but they’re certainly helpful in predicting trends for forecasting.

    Today is Tuesday, the GFS(6z run) is predicting rain for Sat. night into Sunday, let’s see how it ends up. It also has been predicting a storm for the week of Jan. 28th for better then 10 days now. Specifically Jan. 29th-30th. Let’s see how that pans out.

    • Mike,

      The GFS continues to show a nice precipitation event on Saturday night/Sunday. Right now it looks like rain, but it could be close to 32 degrees. This system is ahead of the storm we have been targeting for weeks. Let’s see what happens and we will go over the details on 41 Action News tonight. Finally something to track again.

  • Theo

    Your blog entry today would have credibility, IMO, had you posted it BEFORE the GFS showed the storm Tuesday night and Wednesday of next week. It has showed it for 2 days now. You need to tout your theory’s ability to predict weather when it actually trumps the models. Also, when are you going to firm up the “50-55 days”? A lot of weather, even when it’s boring, can happen in 5 days. I still believe we will get basically nothing until after Feb. 5.

  • Kole Christian


    I forgot the parentheses. This GFS is a lot more wet

  • mgsports

    On the Lake of the Ozark’s AM Station they say for Thursday into Friday Snow/ICE.

  • yewtrees

    The sky is clear and the sun is out. The forecast high for today might be in jeopardy.

  • McCabe58

    Yew it’s already almost 3 and the warmest part of the day is pretty much over. I think his forecast high will be darn near perfect!

  • f00dl3

    Looking at the 7 day I thought Wednesday was supposed to be in the 40s to near 50 – now it says 29 with a morning low of 13. Is this the old not updating thing or the actual forecast?

  • HeatMiser

    One good snowstorm…JUST ONE is all i ask. It’s kind of pathetic, but so are mother natures winters lately around here. I would prefer several good snowstorms…but at this point one would do. I need a minimum of six inches to call it a good snow storm. Anything less just won’t do.


    Looks like the “storm” on the 29-30 is disappearing from the latest runs.

  • dogsinkc

    Here come the 50s!