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Suddenly, First Inch Of Snow Is Less Likely?

Good late afternoon bloggers,

As I posted on social media yesterday with my picture of me with no hair to make a point of how difficult snow forecasting is, well……this chance of accumulating snow, although still there, is decreasing.  Will we have our first inch of snow?

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The latest data is not trending well. What is going on? There is not a well defined storm system, as we have been discussing in recent posts, and this little weak system may track too far north, and also be just too weak to create the area of snow that has been in the forecast. The latest GFS model also has come in with a very disorganized precipitation pattern, and this is not good news for snow lovers out there.  Here is the new snowfall forecast map I am going to show on the air now. Of course I may update this later.

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As this is likely frustrating news to many of you, I do have some good news. 15 years ago I was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer, and today my doctor told me, “you are cured”.  Wow!  Thank you Dr. Rosenthal! Our story is on at 6 PM tonight on 41 Action News:

Cure

Gary

First Inch Of Snow Is Likely!

Good morning bloggers,

A weak storm is approaching the plains states and it will spread some snow into our area by early Saturday morning.  My gut instinct is that we will get a quick one to two inches on grassy surfaces, with a bit less on the pavement. It is coming in during the day, and even though the sun angle is low, the snow will be coming when the solar insulation is at it’s strongest.  If the snow lasts longer than three or four hours, then we may be able to add to these totals just a bit.  Bottom line: I think the snowflake contest will end, but there is enough disorganization to this system that I would go with slightly lower totals.  Just my gut instinct. Let’s see what the models show today and we will have you updated on 41 Action News.

Weather Time-line:

  • Today:   High overcast this morning with some sunshine. Light winds with high pressure right overhead. High:  33°
  • Tonight:  Increasing clouds becoming overcast by 5 AM.  Low:  23°
  • 7 AM Saturday:  Snow increasing just west and southwest of Kansas City.
  • Noon Saturday:  Snow likely with our first inch possible before noon.  High of 30°
  • 7 PM Saturday:  Cloudy, cold, and becoming windy by midnight. There will be some lingering snow or flurries with minor additional accumulations. Total accumulations are forecast to be in the one to four inch range!

This map shows the leading edge of the snow on our doorstep on Saturday morning.

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Here is the snowfall map we showed last night at 10 PM:

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You can still enter the snowflake contest, and it may end Saturday morning. The contest ends when one of our meteorologists measures 1″ of snow in front of our studios at 41 Action News. If there is a tie, then those entries will go into a drawing that we will do live on the air. There is a much increased chance of a tie this year as you are allowed to enter up until that first inch of snow falls. The deadline for entries is November 23rd, or when the first inch is measured.

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Gary

A quick look toward the Saturday snowfall

If you’ve been keeping up with us on air and on our social media pages, you know we’ve been intently watching this incoming wave for this weekend which will bring us measurable snowfall. Gut feelings for the last few days have been in the 2-3″ ballpark for metro KC. Given the latest run of forecast information, confidence is increasing. At this point, it’s likely we’ll get snow; not much argument about that right now. Even the NAM model has jumped on board with the snow. Previously, it was saying there would be no snow.

By no means is this a slam-dunk forecast nor a “regular” snow system. Matter of fact, it’s just a bit of a “wiggle” in the atmosphere that happens to be passing through. There is not going to be a pronounced surface low taking shape either. I had to look in the mid to upper parts of the atmosphere to find the feature.
GFS 250

Over the last few days, the models have wavered back and forth on snow amounts. The GFS was the worst, bouncing all over place, saying little to no snow one day, then 2, 3, 4 inches of snow the next. The Euro has been more consistent at 2-4 inches across the area for the last several days. Now that we are closer, the RPM model is able to be used. However, it’s been a bit aggressive in my opinion, wanting a wide swath of 3-6″ and a sizable area of 5-8″ just to the West of the KC Metro area.

As we continue to crunch all the data, the forecast is still subject to change, so please keep that in mind. That said, given what we’ve seen, below is the going forecast for snowfall totals.
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We feel confident that there WILL be an area of heavier snow. Right now, that should be to the West of Kansas City, just along and South of I-70. As always, though, this could change a little bit. You will also notice we have the greater Metro area in a 2-4″ range, with those higher amounts on the Southwest side.

The snow will likely move into the Metro area in the mid-morning hours Saturday and continue through the early evening. It’s quite possible we see a few hours of heavy snowfall in the afternoon and then lighter snow to flurries in the evening.
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While the amounts are not going to be anything major, this will be the first measurable snowfall of the season and this tends to catch some off guard. We need to think about the impacts of this snow and how it may affect the roads and your plans this weekend. Here are just a few things to think about:
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Obviously, with the Chiefs game on Sunday, we may have a lot of people traveling on Saturday to get to the KC area. This could lead to minor accidents due to the roadways being slightly snow packed and reduced visibilities. Please use caution Saturday if you or someone you know will be traveling around. In addition to that, there is a home game for the KU Jayhawks as TCU visits. This could be a very “interesting” game for them. Kickoff is set for 2:00pm Saturday. This could be a snowy game for players and fans.

In addition to the snow, the cold air is not going anywhere over the next few days. The areas that pick up heavier snowfall will likely see a big temperature crash going into the first half of next week. If you’re wondering about record lows for the next few nights in Kansas City, we’re going to get close. Even tonight!
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And if you think that looks cold, you better check out the forecast for next Tuesday morning. The good news: a warm up does appear to be on the horizon. Hang in there.

In the meantime, we will continue to look over the forecast information as it continues to arrive through tonight and tomorrow morning. As mentioned, it is possible we make minor tweaks to the going snow forecast. Gary is on the air as of publishing time of this blog. Catch his detailed forecasts at 5pm and 6pm, then again tonight at 10pm. Obviously Kalee will have a fresh look at forecast information early Friday morning so check in with her as well. If you’re up on social media, follow all of us on Twitter & Facebook for little updates here and there. Here is how you can do that:

Gary: Twitter (@glezak) Facebook(facebook.com/garylezak)

Jeff: Twitter (@jeffpennerKSHB) Facebook (facebook.com/KSHBJeffPenner)

Kalee: Twitter (@kaleedionne) Facebook (facebook.com/KSHBKaleeDionne)


JD: Twitter (@jdrudd) Facebook (facebook.com/KSHBJDRudd)

Whether we like it or not, our first true dose of winter appears to be around the corner. Hope you all are ready.
-JD

Snow is in the forecast for Saturday!

Good late evening bloggers,

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A, what seems to be, disorganized storm system is approaching our area. A series of waves rotating around a developing upper level high over Alaska, combinging with a wave breaking through underneath the ridge near the west coast of the United States will combine to bring a set-up for wide spread snow on Saturday into Saturday night before the next surge of cold weather arrives.  Here is the set up for noon Saturday. Snow will likely be developing in, what is called, a warm advection zone. Where this sets up several inches of snow could accumulate in a short period of time. Kansas City is likely east of the initial zone where the heaviest snow will fall, but we seem to be in the targeted area to get at least one or two inches of snow.

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The latest NAM model has jumped on the snow bandwagon and is now similar to some of the other models.  Our forecast for the entire viewing area will begin with a dusting to 4 inches of snow. It is still November, remember, and the biggest November snowfall in KC history is 9 inches. We do average one inch of snow in November, but many years it doesn’t snow measurably this month.  I saw some of you wondering about the snowflake contest and we set the rules up this year to allow entries through the 27th. So, this means you can enter up until the last minute. When will we measure that first inch is the question.  If there is a tie, then those entries go into a drawing and we would then pull one winner out from all of those entries.

What are the chances that this system misses us?  I would say quite low. But, it isn’t zero.  Let’s keep watching this. We will get the blog updated Thursday morning.  Thank you for participating in the Action Weather blog and let us know if you have any questions.

Gary

A Long November Cold Wave: Now, will it snow?

Good evening bloggers,

I am on the air right now working on the best way to describe this weather pattern. There is a trend in the models that has a somewhat better chance of snow this weekend. It is an interesting set-up and a lot of variables have to come together. There is a wave rotating around the developing big upper high and things just may come together to end the snowflake contest early this year.

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This Nicklaus Golf club pond has frozen over the past ten years in December, but never in November. Could it happen this year?  I will go over the details on 41 Action News tonight. Let’s see how the models trend and I will update this blog tonight around 9 PM.

LRC November 13th NAM

The new data coming out this tonight is continuing a transition into something that just may get exciting around here over the weekend.  There are so many uncertainties that the trend is just that, a trend!  Energy is forecast to come over the developing Alaska blocking high and then carve a trough southeast of this high over the Pacific northwest states. This evolution is quite rare and unusual.  This is such a complex development that I have no confidence at all this far out. We are going to up our probability of some snow to 50% later Saturday, but too many uncertainties remain at this moment.

The main emphasis the next two to three days will be this long duration November cold spell. It will be dropping into the teens the next few nights. Record lows are in the single digits to near 10 degrees.  This air mass has been setting a few low temperature records, but just not here in KC as of this moment.

Have a great Tuesday night. We will get the blog updated on Wednesday!

Gary

November Cold Wave

Good Tuesday bloggers,

It was quite a slap in the face this morning from the 70° weather of Monday.  The cold front came through early Monday evening, then a fast-moving disturbance raced by between 2 AM and 4 AM, bringing locations south of I-70 a 30 minute period of sleet and rain with areas north of I-70 seeing sleet and snow for 3o minutes.  As this band of precipitation was moving through temperatures fell from 32° to 26°-28°.  The temperatures on the surface of the main roads were in the mid to upper 30s, so they became wet then dried out before freezing could occur.  The decks and overpasses were different.  They are elevated and the assume the air temperature quickly as the air circulates around the surface.

Here is a pic from a deck in Overland Park.

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So now what is next.  The next few days will be dry and cold with highs in the 20s Wednesday and 30s Thursday and Friday with lows in the teens.  Here are the highs today.

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Look at the lows for Wednesday, ouch the teens!

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Is this record territory?  Not really.  Look at the record lows the next 3 days.  Our lows will be around 15° each of those mornings.

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This is not a small cold air mass and it will be with us for about 7 to 10 days.  Look at the lows tomorrow morning in the northern Rockies and Plains, 10s below zero!

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There is a small system to monitor for the weekend.  It is on the order of what we just had.  We will update this in the coming days.

Have a great day and stay warm.

Jeff

The Cold Air is Marching this Way

Good Monday bloggers,

The weather this afternoon will be beautiful for this time of year with highs near 70°.  It will be windy with south wind gusts to 35 mph.  Enjoy this weather, as the cold air will arrive this evening.  You will know when the front has moved through.  Temperatures will plummet and the wind will shift to the north and gust to 40 mph.   You can see below on the 10 AM Monday map that time is running out on the nice weather.

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Temperatures by midnight tonight will be in the mid 30s with temperatures in the mid to upper 20s by Tuesday morning and wind chills in the teens.

What about precipitation?  There may be some mist/drizzle/few rain showers along and behind the front.  Rainfall amounts will be a trace to .01″ .  Most likely surfaces will not even get wet, but they could get damp.  Lets say enough rain falls to get the surfaces wet.  Will this lead to icy roads?  Our answer is no.  There are 3 reasons for this answer.

1.  The precipitation will likely be too light to get surfaces wet.  

2.  If the roads get wet, the rain will not last long and any water will evaporate before it has a chance to freeze as winds will be gusting to 40 mph and dry air will be rushing in.  

3.  Pavement surfaces will not be cold enough, fast enough to freeze the water.  See #2.

Lets go through the time line of the change.  11 PM tonight will be windy with temperatures heading to the 30s along with areas of mist/drizzle.

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By 3 AM Tuesday temperatures will be in the low 30s with flurries and strong north winds.

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8 AM Tuesday :  Bundle up the kids and yourselves with wind chills in the teens.

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3 PM Tuesday will be mostly sunny, windy and cold with wind chills in the 20s.

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The cold air is going to be around for at least 10 days.  In the coming days we will be tracking a small snow system for this weekend and possibly a bigger storm at the end of next week.

Have a great day and enjoy the warm weather!

Jeff

 

 

What to expect Tuesday and a word of caution on long range models

The Hype Machine
Many have their eyes on Tuesday as it will bring our first dose of winter-like weather this season. But as we normally see when this happens, there’s a lot of clickbait and hype surrounding what will (and won’t) happen. We’ll likely see this happen again and again as the season grows.

What’s “clickbait” you ask? Headlines on websites or social media accounts that are meant to draw you in with a wild use of dramatic words and a “forecast” without any science behind it. You may see this as an image or a map declaring a crippling winter storm. Most often the headline with include one or more of the following words:
Monster
Surprise
Massive
Historic
Crippling
Extreme
Never-before seen
It’s a little sad that people have to be scared with dramatic headlines in order for them to pay attention to the weather. But in this day and age, it’s a battle for your attention and sites are doing all they can to get it. My word of warning is: if a headline sounds like it’s the end of the world and the sky is falling, it’s likely a lot of hype. Two terms floating around right now–out of context–are Polar Vortex and Bombogenesis. I have a video on our site talking about what the Vortex is and what it is not; be sure to check it out.
Oh, and if you really want to see the Polar Vortex as it is right now (and realize it’s true location) you have to check out this link:  http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/isobaric/10hPa/orthographic=-95.00,65.73,421

As for bombogenesis, it’s a common thing that happens when an area of low pressure drops 24 millibars or more within 24 hours. We typically see this on the East coast with Nor’easters. The rapid drop in surface pressure causes the storm to gain strength and produce heavier precipitation. It’s nothing new, but the term has found its way onto the networks and is being spread around to gain attention.

As more and more of you get to know me, you realize that I do not treat every single storm like it’s the worst storm we’ve ever seen. I have never been one to scare or frighten people or hype up an event. While I am aware there are those out there who love a good snow storm, there are also those who dread it. It can give them anxiety and unneeded stress when they hear these dire predictions of weather winter.

My job is to give information and a forecast. I try not to be a cheerleader for anything in particular. What I think is comfortable and great weather, someone else may not. That same thing goes with each of us. You may love 15° and a foot a snow, but someone else does not. Sunshine and 75° is wonderful, right? Not to a farmer that needs rain.

Moreover, when people start posting photos of snowfall maps and/or making their own forecasts, it can confuse the general viewer. Let’s say you’re an amateur forecaster (unless you have a meteorology education you’re not a meteorologist), and you start posting forecast model maps of snowfall in 10 days. Someone that does not know all that much about models and forecasting could see that and think that’s what is really going to happen. Remember, most of us here are weather geeks. We understand certain things about models and trends and whatnot. But many others do not. If my mom ever saw the 10 day snow output in the middle of winter from the models, she’d expect it to verify in 10 days. You have to know the audience.

All right, I’ve said enough, I know…

Breaking down Tuesday
Let’s get into the business of Tuesday. The main thing you should know: it’s going to be windy and very cold with a small window to see a stray snowflake or bit of drizzle very early Tuesday morning. That’s it. There’s not a “storm of the year ” coming our way, no attack of the Polar Vortex. It’s just going to get cold.

Tuesday Morning:
Temperatures will be in the 20s for most of the area. Winds will be from the North at around 25 miles per hour, making for brutal wind chills.
Tuesday Afternoon:
I am optimistic that sunshine will return. This should help to push our temps into the upper 30s (at best). Winds will still be strong so it’s going to be a raw afternoon.

Snow chances for our area:
None. It’s not going to snow. That said…. I still believe there will be an area or two that sees flurries mixed with a little bit of drizzle. I even worry there could be a small area of freezing drizzle that impacts a couple of roadways North of KC. Models have been consistent at placing this around the St. Joe to Hiawatha area. But, with such a change in airmass coming, that cold air will do its best to squeeze out moisture so I cannot rule out a few spits from the sky almost anywhere. But again, the timing for that would be between about 2am and 5am. Many of us will be sleeping and as of right now, I do not feel it will impact our roads in Kansas City. However, this will need to be monitored in case something changes.

I have broken all of this down in my online forecast video on our site, give that a look if you’d like. Of course, it will come down as soon as Kalee updates her forecast Monday morning, so check it out now. In case you did miss, here is a snapshot of the entire timeline; you’ll need to really zoom into this.
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What about next weekend
Yesterday I added in snow chances to our forecast for Saturday the 15th. Some questioned this because the GFS model wasn’t picking up on it. However, the high resolution ECMWF model that I have access to did pick up on it. And on multiple runs. I would love to post images from that here, but the terms of service of the site I use will not allow that. I can tell you as of tonight, based on the 12z run of the EMCWF model, it paints a picture of snow falling on Saturday into Sunday in the area still. I have done my best to recreate the model printout for the area with this image:
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As mentioned, previous runs of the GFS did not print out any snow. HOWEVER…. the new 18z GFS model came out a couple of hours ago and has suddenly latched onto snow for next weekend. Via free access to the data from WeatherBell, this is the map for next weekend.
18zGFSSnow

Before anyone starts going around and saying we’re going to get a big snow storm next weekend, there are a few things to keep in mind. First off, the models are never correct this far out. Never, ever. That band across KC could wind up across the Iowa line or could wind up across Tulsa (and newer runs of the model will likely flip-flop on placement and magnitude).
Secondly, should the suggestions of snowfall be in the ball park, we’re only looking at a few inches of snow and it would add up from Saturday night through Sunday night; not all falling in a small period. But here again, this could drastically change. The amounts could become a few more… just as well as it could become a few less (meaning almost nothing).

We will get through the cold airmass invading on Tuesday and then start really turning the focus to the potential for any kind of winter weather over next weekend. As some of you like to say, this thing could entirely go “poof” before our eyes so let’s not drink the model kool-aid just yet. It’s on our radar, it’s on your radar, and we’ll keep tabs on it.

Thanks for reading the blog post and keeping a level head as we move into our first dose of winter-like weather over the next week or two.
-JD

******11:15pm Update*****
Just to show you how much models change from run to run, the new 00z GFS snow product just came out and look what it says now:
00zGFSSnow

Quite the flip-flop from what the previous run wanted. You go from 4.5″ to 0.9″. I’m not surprised at all. And I’m telling you now: we’re going to see this flip-flop happen a few more times leaving many forecasters pulling out their hair in order to nail down what may happen next weekend! This is part of the reason why snow forecasts change, especially this far in advance.

A few quick highlights about this week

I’m going to keep this write-up short but plan to post something a little longer Sunday evening.

Looking over the most recent information, the cold air is coming. There is no mistake about that. Biggest question might be: just how strong will the cold air be? Model guidance (which has been in great agreement temperature-wise lately) says middle to upper 30s for highs Tuesday through Friday. Comparing the operational GFS & Euro, along with their ensemble counterparts, you can see the overall agreement: it’s going to be cold!
ModelsCompare
What you’re looking at here is Friday morning temperatures. That solid white line which runs through Texas and the Gulf Coast states is the 32° freezing line. Needless to say, there were be a lot of headlines and talk about how cold it will be in those areas!

Looking ahead, the GFS is the warmer solution, putting us back into the 40s for highs on Friday and Saturday. I am not too sold on that right now. The GFS model has issues, there is not debate about that. Lately it’s been known to suggest precip on days where it did not happen. For example, last Sunday it was wanting rain for today. That didn’t happen! But, it is just a model after all and trusting it six days out is never a good idea. However, I am hoping some of the upgrades that take effect to the GFS next month help cure some of this!

Yes, I personally tend to favor the Euro model, mainly since it has a record of being more accurate overall. That said, I will not buy into everything it’s selling! For example, it says next Saturday will be snowy. It’s suggesting 3-6 inches of snow around this area! ***THAT IS NOT OUR FORECAST***  Please do not take that line out of context. It’s a model and it’s just spitting out a solution. The GFS says there is not a drop of moisture anywhere close to KC next weekend. So we have the classic case of model divergence in the long run.

To bring this back to the near future and talk about Tuesday, I feel confident that it’ll be cold and I also believe there will not be any accumulating snow. That’s something I’ve been saying for a while. The best area for real, true snow is going to be in Southern Minnesota and South Dakota. There could be a few wayward snow flurries that get squeezed out of the atmosphere; that tends to happen with a strong push of cold air like this will be. It’s like wringing out a damp sponge.

Here are a few things I think we all should know about Tuesday:
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Also, this cold air coming in here is not the Polar Vortex. I know a lot of the national media has been throwing that term around like it was candy at a parade. The problem is: the Polar Vortex doesn’t exist at the surface of the Earth so you can’t really be in it. Here are a few things to know about the dreaded P.V.:
PV1

PV2

The term has “buzz” factor to it, so I am sure it’s going to be used. Much like people call tissue paper Kleenex or a soda a Coke. It’s catchy and people “know what it means”, even if it’s being used incorrectly.

Enjoy the second half of the weekend. Sunday and Monday are going to be pretty nice days. We will likely not see highs in the 60s again for a while. Last check of the longer range models (which again, shouldn’t be taken to the bank) suggest we’ll be stuck in the 30s and 40s for a while. We’ll discuss more of that tomorrow.

-JD

Could Our First Snow Be Showing Up?

It’s Friday Bloggers, and an interesting weather pattern is evolving before our eyes,

As the LRC continues to showcase what it may be providing us this winter and into the next year there are things going on now that are just fascinating. El Niño conditions have started, but it will not be a full fledged El Niño for another few months, but there are strong indications that it will be an El Niño influenced weather pattern.  This would likely result in a stronger southern jet stream, and splitting of the flow in the upper levels of the atmosphere. This could be exciting for Kansas City, but it isn’t a sure thing that we are in the right spot just yet.  Take a look at this latest GFS model run:

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You are looking at the 500 mb forecast valid one week from Sunday morning above, and the surface reflection of this below:

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There is so much that happens between now and this day 9 forecast (216 hours) that confidence is very low. Once we know the LRC better, then we can identify if this is even possible. On the top, upper level 500 mb, map you can see cross Polar flow carving south into a Rocky Mountains and plains states trough. And, at the surface a snowstorm would be in progress over Colorado, and we will have already had a chance of snow on a lead wave a day or two earlier.  This is a different solution than what we have seen on previous model runs, but something is evolving that will likely lead to our first chance of snow within ten days or so.

We will discuss this on 41 Action News today and tonight!  Have a great Friday. Exciting weather days are likely ahead of us!!!!

Gary