Top Weather Events Of 2017 & Arctic Blast Arrives Tonight

Good Friday morning bloggers,

An Arctic Blast will arrive tonight in Kansas City and expand over a large part of the United States tonight and Saturday.  An Arctic Blast Warning is now in effect through Monday.  Temperatures will drop to below zero, but the bigger factor will be a northwest wind blowing at 10 -25 mph. This will lead to dangerously cold wind chill values.

We will also discuss the top weather story of the year in Kansas City and nationally.  Let’s begin, however, with this Arctic Blast.

Arctic Blast Warning


The National Weather Service created this graphic above. It will be very dangerous to spend any amount of time outside beginning tonight, but increasing on Saturday night into New Year’s Day.

  • Hypothermia and frostbite can happen in less than 30 mins and the symptoms can look just like someone who has celebrated too much
  • Temperatures will likely drop to below zero, possibly as low as 15 to 20 below zero near the Iowa and Nebraska borders
  • The wind will be blowing in the 10 – 25 mph range. This will create wind chills 15 to 40 degrees below zero
  • Most people will only spend one to three minutes outside. When you are going to New Year’s Eve parties, limit that time outside to a few minutes of getting out of your car and into the party. Don’t forget to have that designated driver

GFS Temperature Forecast Valid 6 AM January 1, 2018


European Model Temperature Forecast Valid 6 AM January 1, 2018

Screen Shot 2017-12-29 at 5.20.50 AM

Arctic Air Retreat Within Ten Days


This map above shows the forecast temperatures valid at noon on Sunday January 7th. Temperature may reach into the 40s and 50s, possibly even higher, over the Kansas and Oklahoma.  The Arctic air will likely have retreated back into Canada, but it is still sitting there to be tapped for LRC Cycle 3.

Speaking of the third LRC Cycle; it will begin around the middle of January. This cycling weather pattern began around October 7th, and each LRC Cycle is coming in with around a  47 to 48 day cycle length.  LRC Cycle 3 could begin as early as around January 5th to 7th, but more likely around January 9th to 11th.  Remember, in October it was actually fairly wet in the first few storm systems that cycled through, and ever since October 22nd it has been ridiculously dry.  We have noticed that every other cycle matches up better at times. So, there is hope that we can have some wetter storm systems January.

Today’s Set Up & Weather Time-Line:

As I was writing up this blog at 5 AM, and I was finishing this last Friday entry of 2017 I noticed the low cloud surge that was on the move. You can see the low clouds well on the 2-4 satellite picture before the sun rose this morning. Look at the dark areas, which showcase the low clouds. These were surging north and northeast right towards KC:


Kansas City Weather Time-Line:

  • Today:  Increasing clouds, becoming cloudy. There is a chance of light freezing drizzle or snow flurries this afternoon and evening.  East to southeast winds becoming south, but staying fairly light. High: 29°
  • Tonight:  A chance of flurries of light freezing drizzle. Turning colder with winds increasing and shifting to the northwest at 10-25 mph. Low:  
  • Saturday:  Partly cloudy, maybe a few flurries. High: 10° with wind chills 10 below zero
  • New Year’s Eve (Sunday):  A few clouds and maybe a few flurries. High:  8° (Wind chills 20 below zero as we ring in the New Year!)
  • New Year’s Day:  Clearing and cold with early morning flurries, a light dusting is possible. Low: -10° High:

Top Weather Events Of 2017:

Nationally, I think Major Hurricane Harvey comes in at #1. In Kansas City, I believe that the March 6th tornado outbreak that produced EF-3 tornadoes near Smithville, MO and Oak Grove, MO is #1.  Here are some of the events as shown from the NWS:

Screen Shot 2017-12-29 at 5.33.16 AM

  • #1:  March 6th Tornado Outbrea
  • #2:  July flooding event over south KC
  • #3:  August flooding event on Eclipse day
  • #4:  The lack of snowfall
  • #5:  White Christmas

What do you vote for as #1 through #5?

Hurricane Harvey Is #1 Nationally

Hurricane Harvey formed near the Yucatan Peninsula just as the eclipse was being experienced around August 21st.  Harvey intensified into a major hurricane and slammed into the central Texas coast as a Category 4 hurricane with winds topping 130 mph near Rockport, TX, on August 25th, making it the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since 2005.  After landfall, Harvey moved inland and stalled over south Texas and then drifted around before re-emerging out over the Gulf of Mexico and then making landfall near Cameron, Louisiana five days later on August 30.  Harvey was a named storm for 117 hours after its first landfall. This makes Harvey the longest Texas landfalling hurricane to hold onto its name after landfall for that long.  As a result of the slow movement and track of Harvey, 50 inches of rain blasted away rainfall records and created massive catastrophic flooding in many cities, including the Houston metropolitan area. Harvey is the #1 weather event of the year nationally, the way I see it, but other storms come close such as Hurricane Irma.

Thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading the Action Weather Blog featuring Weather2020 and the LRC.  Join in the conversation over on Weather2020, click on the blog as we are all learning and sharing together in this weather experience.  Have a great last Friday of 2017!


A Very Dry Weather Pattern Continues: A Look Into The Cycling Pattern

Good morning bloggers,

The Arctic Blast Watch continues for this holiday weekend! A brutally cold air mass is developing and about to blast into the United States. We will look into this developing pattern and also discuss where we are in the LRC.  An extremely dry stretch of weather continues over many areas of the United States, especially across parts of Kansas, Missouri, and over Southern California.  Los Angeles has had an incredibly low 0.12″ since October 1st, when their rainy season begins. Last year 5.48″ had already fallen, and 3.82″ is average by now.  This is 3% of the average rainfall so far in this early season.  The driest year ever recorded in Los Angeles has been 3.38″. The majority of their rainy season is still ahead of them in January and February.  Kansas City has also been extremely dry.  I know last year I was concerned for a drought in the spring and summer, and those concerns are again very high.  Last year, KC started getting hit by regular heavy rains once spring began. There is a chance of that happening again this year, but that chance is rather low.

This Cold Wave Is Right On The Cycling Pattern Schedule:

Screen Shot 2017-12-28 at 7.16.57 AM

The second cycle of this years pattern is in progress now. Cycle #3 will begin in around two weeks, and we can hope that it will be more functional as there have been no major storms in KC in this second cycle.  We will be looking into the third cycle soon. For today, let’s look at where we are now:

Today’s Weather Video

The Cycling Pattern As Of December 28 from Weather2020 on Vimeo.

The latest models have this forecast valid on January 1, 2018 below.  A 1052 mb (31.06″) surface high is settling in right over Omaha, NE:


Take a look closely, well, it isn’t that hard to see. The entire nation is pretty much dry as it will be controlled by this large and expansive high pressure area. There is snow over the shipping lanes off the east coast and a cold rain in the Gulf of Mexico. There is some weak Lake-Effect snow through the Great Lakes, but other than this the weather is dry nationwide, and cold:


Kansas City will likely drop to near 10 degrees below zero with the -20°F air reaching close to northern Missouri. This is just brutally cold.  What is next? A huge warm up is likely before the Chiefs home playoff game on January 7th. Now, specifically for that day it is still unclear, but a rise to near 50 degrees or higher is likely between now and then as LRC Cycle 3 will be about to begin. For now, get ready for the Arctic Blast!

In the video, I showed the warm front from LRC Cycle 1 and discussed how something similar is happening now. Well, take a look:


Some warmer air will be approaching, but the Arctic air will then blast in Saturday. This map above is a forecast for noon on Friday.

Thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading the Action Weather Blog featuring Weather2020 and the LRC.  Go over to the Weather2020 Blog and join in the conversation as we share in this educational and fun weather experience.


Arctic Blast Watch This Weekend

Good morning bloggers,

We are issuing an ARCTIC BLAST WATCH for this holiday weekend.  It is increasingly likely that temperatures will drop to dangerously cold levels with wind chills down to 30 and 40 below zero. The actual air temperatures may drop to nearly 20 degrees below zero or colder over parts of the plains.


GFS Model Temperature Forecast Valid 6 AM January 1, 2018


The Arctic High Pressure area that is forming over the next five days will be strengthening. How strong will it get?  The conversion from millibars to inches of mercury is 29.92″/1013.25 mb.  So, multiply this by the number of millibars and you will come up with an incredibly high pressure of 31.24″, which is the conversion number for 1058 millibars.

Surface Forecast From Last Nights GFS Model:


I am not sure what Kansas City’s record highest pressure is, but we will be making a run at that record.  Now, will it snow with this pattern. It has continued to be a struggle, even though KCI Airport is now up to 2.2″ of snow after yesterday reported 1.1″ for the second storm in a row.  I wasn’t up there, but that seems like a high total. I have had 1.3″ and .4″ in the last two snows.  It was February 2013 when Kansas City last experienced 3″ of snow in one calendar day. That is a ridiculously long time. I am expecting this streak to end this winter season.  For now it continues to be a struggle.

The GFS model trended down, while the European model trended in the GFS direction for how this pattern will unfold. But, the European Model has not had even a dusting forecast for anywhere in Kansas or Missouri from this Arctic Blast.  It will likely again be a struggle. Here is last nights 06z (midnight) run of the GFS snowfall forecast ending January 1, 2018:


As you can see, this model is now at 1 to 2 inches of snow near KC. This would be the biggest snow of the season if it happens. Let’s see how the models trend. Notice, how there is no organized big storm at all as this Arctic Air Mass blasts south.

Kansas City ended up officially having a white Christmas with 1″ of snow on the ground at KCI Airport. Here is the snowfall chart from Christmas Day:

Snow Cover Christmas Day

Snow Cover Christmas Day 2

There is now a large snow field across the Northern Hemisphere.  This is a factor moving forward as January approaches.

Kansas City Weather Time-Line:

  • Today:  The sun returns!  Mostly sunny but then increasing clouds later today, and after a low below zero (-3° as of 7 AM) it will warm up to near 14°.
  • Tonight:  Not as cold with wind chills below zero with a light southeast breeze around 10 mph. Low:  10°
  • Thursday:  A few clouds, but it will be mostly sunny.  It will be warmer. High: 30°
  • Friday:  Increasing clouds, becoming cloudy later in the day.  High: 25°
  • Saturday: Cloudy with a chance of snow. Some minor accumulation possible Saturday night or early on Sunday.  High:  11°
  • Sunday (New Year’s Eve):  Cloudy with light snow or flurries ending. Total snow accumulations of around 1″ possible.  Wind Chills down to 20 below zero. High:  7°
  • Monday (New Year’s Day):  A few morning ice crystals. Brutally cold. Low:  -10°  High:  3°

Have a great day. Thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading the Action Weather Blog featuring Weather2020 and the LRC.  I will work on a video to show you how this New Year’s weekend pattern fits the LRC perfectly.  It is pretty incredible, and I will post this tomorrow.  Go to Weather2020 Blog and join in the conversation, or read the comments as we share in this weather experience.


Snow On The Day After Christmas

Good morning bloggers,

Screen Shot 2017-12-26 at 6.01.26 AM

Kansas City has dropped into the single digits and snow has developed.  The KC metro area and surrounding areas a bit to the north and south are the target for this rare cold snow event that is in progress as I am starting this blog entry. It is 5:45 AM and look at the radar:


Every radar echo was producing snow reaching the surface. When it is this cold, it is actually easier for the atmosphere to saturate. All you need is something to cause lifting and then boom, snow forms. KC will have a fluffy snowfall with rations 20:1 or 30:1 possible.  This means the .o3″ liquid could produce close to 1″ of fluffy snow. The models have not helped much, unless you have been monitoring the RUC or HRRR short range models. The other models have hinted at this snow, as I showed in yesterdays blog entry. The models did not have it this cold at the surface and this is likely why some of them struggled to show this developing.

Screen Shot 2017-12-26 at 5.52.36 AM

This is still a difficult “nowcasting” situation. A “Nowcast” is just that, forecasting what is going to happen in the next two to four hours, or right about “now”.  There will be a thicker band of snow around one to two counties wide, or around 30 to 40 miles wide, where the heaviest snow will fall. This band of snow will be quasi-stationary with a drift to the north or south. Where will the center of this band be located? This is the big question, because there will likely be over one inch in the middle of the band.  Kansas City will be near this center, but it could be one county north, or one county south.

After today’s snow event moves by, the potential for a major Arctic blast exists in the next week.  The models have widely varying solutions.  How cold will it get, and will there be another snowfall around New Year’s Eve?  The GFS model has consistently produced 1 to 3 inches near KC and a near record cold Arctic blast. The other models have been completely dry, like the European model, and not nearly as cold as the GFS. This is something we will discuss later today or in tomorrows blog. We will discuss this in the comments section of todays blog on Weather2020.com.

Thank you for spending a few minutes reading the Action Weather Blog featuring Weather2020 and the LRC!  Go over to Weather2020.com and click on the blog over there to join in the conversation as we share in this weather experience.


A Christmas Miracle: KC Had A White Christmas

Merry Christmas Bloggers,

We had a Christmas Miracle.  In the 12:35 AM Climate Summary Kansas City had a 1″ snow depth after 1.1″ fell officially at KCI Airport on Christmas Eve:

Screen Shot 2017-12-25 at 8.58.02 AM

And, look at what the new data provided us this morning. Another miracle? Snow on Tuesday morning? Take a look at the latest NAM Model:

Screen Shot 2017-12-25 at 8.51.27 AM

This would be more snow in some areas than what happened yesterday.  The big question will be; will the lower layers become saturated? This model saturates the layer and produces 0.06″ liquid which could be close to another 1″ of fluffy snow. The other models have hinted at this, but they have been drier due to the lower layers staying too dry. I lean in the snow direction for early Tuesday.


Sunny The Weather Dog and our family are hoping you have a great holiday week!  Thank you for spending a few minutes of your Christmas Day to read the Action Weather Blog featuring Weather2020 and the LRC. Go over to Weather2020.com, click on the blog and join in the conversation over there.


White Christmas and Cold Intensification

Merry Christmas bloggers,

Snowfall amounts were as predicted, 1/2″ to 1″ with some locations just over 1″.  Trenton, MO received 3.2″ and this is where we expected the heavier snow. Now, did the snowflake contest end? Remember, there needs to be 1″ of snow at 41 Action News as measured by one of our meteorologists.   I was the meteorologist with the ruler at the station and well…




We measured 0.8″ of snow here on the Plaza, so the Snowflake Contest rolls on. Gary measured 1.3″ in Overland Park and the National Weather Service measured 1.1″ in Pleasant Hill. So, what is going on? Well take a look at these radar images and it explains why the Plaza had about 0.5″ less.

Around 350 AM as the main heavy band of snow was moving across the city you can see the heavier snow is split around the Plaza with heavier snow showers from southern Platte/Clay and southern Johnson counties.


Then, by 405 AM the heavier snow connected, but east of the Plaza, so this really shows why the Plaza had a bit less. Also, the snow was moving east at 70-80 mph, if it was moving at 60 mph then the Plaza would have had the extra 0.5″ regardless.


Now, we turn our attention to an increase in the cold and new small snow chances.

SUNDAY AFTERNOON: It will be sunny and cold with highs in the 20s. Wind chills will be in the teens.


CHRISTMAS NIGHT: The kids should be sound asleep as Santa arrives in KC. Temperatures will be in the teens, so Santa will feel right at home. The wind will be west at 5-15 mph.


CHRISTMAS MORNING: This will be a great morning to stay inside and open presents as it will be mostly cloudy and dry with temperatures 10° to 15° with a 5-15 mph wind and wind chill values near zero.


CHRISTMAS AFTERNOON: A legitimate Arctic front will be moving across the region. We will see highs around 30°, but look at Omaha, 14°, how about a high of -3° in Rochester, MN. There will be many clouds, but dry.


TUESDAY MORNING: Eek! It is going to be very cold with lows around 10°. If it clears lows may drop to 5°.  Look at Omaha, -1° and Rochester, MN, -10°. Flurries are possible, but we do not expect any measurable snow. We do need to watch this for a dusting.


TUESDAY AFTERNOON: The sky will clear, but highs will struggle to 20°. Highs along I-80 from Omaha to Chicago will struggle to 10° despite sunshine. Rochester, MN will have another day with highs below zero.


So, the weather pattern for the last week of 2017 is evolving in to one in which we will have blasts of Arctic air as disturbances race in from the west-northwest. This sets us up for two to three chances of small snow systems. They are timed for Thursday and Saturday as it stands now. We still have to watch the Tuesday set up.

Here is our latest forecast for the total snowfall potential the next seven days. You can see, it is not much, but we have to watch the systems at the end of the week for more potential.


Merry Christmas!

Please don’t drink and drive

Jeff Penner

A Fast Moving Band Of Snow On Christmas Eve

Good early morning bloggers,

We are now done with looking at models. Well, most of you are likely asleep as it is 2:30 AM.  Snow is about to start falling in Kansas City for the first time this season. It isn’t quite a Christmas miracle, but I will take it.  I just glanced at the models to see where the vorticity was located, and we are lucky to be getting what we are getting. The new “vort max” is forecast to develop over eastern Kansas and western Missouri between now and 10 AM, and then zip east over Missouri and out into the eastern states later today. This transition is different than what was being forecast, and as I said, we are just fortunate to be getting this early morning snow at all. It will move by fast.  Here is the 2:20 AM radar image:


Here is the 2:40 AM Radar, as we are about to see our first snowflakes:

Screen Shot 2017-12-24 at 2.38.49 AM

I will check in later after I get Sunny The Weather Dog up and out for a walk in search of the first snowflake.  Have a good morning. And, go to Weather2020.com to join in the conversation over there.


To Dream or Not to Dream of a “White Christmas?”

Good Saturday bloggers,

Well, here we are on the doorstep of Christmas and it looks like we will not have to dream of a “White Christmas!” A series of disturbances will be tracking out of the Rockies, consolidating to one main disturbance as they move east across our region. Based on the current track of the system it looks like the KC area will be on the southern edge of the accumulating snow. In order for there to be a legitimate “White Christmas” we are going to need at least 1/2″ of snow as anything less could sublime before Christmas day. Sublime means the snow evaporates going from the solid to gas state.

Let’s go through the time line and then the latest forecast for amounts.

SATURDAY AFTERNOON: It will be dry with increasing clouds as highs climb to the upper 20s and low 30s.


6 PM TO MIDNIGHT TONIGHT: It will be a dry, cloudy and cold evening in KC with snow increasing across Nebraska, Iowa and far northern Missouri. Temperatures will be in the mid to upper 20s.


MIDNIGHT TO 3 AM SUNDAY: The snow will be increasing from northwest to southeast and moving into KC. Temperatures will be in the low to mid 20s, so any snow will stick to all surfaces.


3 AM TO 6 AM SUNDAY: This is the most likely time frame for the most snow to occur in the KC area. There will be heavier snow showers embedded in light to moderate snow. Temperatures will stay in the low to mid 20s with a 10-15 mph north wind, so wind chills will be in the single digits.


6 AM TO 9 AM SUNDAY: The snow will be shifting east and likely ending in KC by 9-10 AM. Temperatures will be in the low 20s with wind chill values near zero as north winds blow at 10-20 mph.


6 AM TO 9 AM SUNDAY: This data has the snow over by 8 AM as the system races east and cold air pours south.


9 AM TO NOON SUNDAY: The snow will be over and the sky will be clearing from west to east with temperatures in the teens and low 20s. So, if you are headed out to Arrowhead it is going to be very cold with wind chill values around zero in the morning and single digits in the afternoon. Sunday afternoon will be mostly sunny with highs 25°-30°.


How much snow will occur on your yard or farm?

SNOWFALL FORECAST KC (NORTH I-70): As is, we are expecting slightly over an inch north of I-70.


SNOWFALL FORECAST KC (SOUTH I-70): At this time it looks like slightly under and inch. What does this mean for the Snowflake Contest? Well, it has to snow 1″, as measured by one of our 41 Action News meteorologists, at our studio on the Plaza. So, if this verifies, we may come up short.  It is going to be a close call.


SNOWFALL FORECAST REGION: It still looks like a band of 2″ to 3″ of snow will occur along the Missouri-Iowa border with 1″ to 2″ between that band and I-70. A dusting to 1″ is possible south of I-70. This can still shift south or north by 50 miles, so it is not quite set in stone. But, it looks like a “White Christmas” is likely for most locations in our viewing area.


Merry Christmas! Please don’t drink and drive.

Jeff Penner

What Are The Trends: Drought & Snow

Good morning bloggers,

It’s the Friday before Christmas. It isn’t quite beginning to look a lot like Christmas, but in some areas it may very well be by early Christmas Eve morning.  Here is the European Model forecast from last night. This model shifted the snow a bit farther north, but it doesn’t mean it is exactly right. This band could shift even farther north, or it could shift a bit farther south. We will be monitoring this closely as we move into Saturday night. I will provide updates on the blog, Facebook, and Twitter as this chance of snow approaches.  In today’s blog I will discuss a little of the meteorology behind tracking this snow potential.

Euro Snow

What is going to cause this little band of snow? Take a look at the wave we are tracking:


Look at the X over Oklahoma, and the X near Seattle. These are called “vort maxes”, or the area of maximum vorticity. As a “vort max” approaches, you will have what is called PVA, Positive Vorticity Advection, and this causes the air to rise.  Watch where this is forecast to track:


This second map, above, shows the storm missing KC to the south in northwest Arkansas, and the storm approaching from the northwest. Look at what happens next, by 3 PM Saturday:


The first storm is a rapidly exiting “short wave” that you can see by looking again at the “vort max” moving over the eastern states.  And, then you can see the  system tracking southeast across Idaho, where they have set records for snowfall to start the season.  If this wave gets absorbed into the flow, then our chance of snow will go “poof”.  This next map shows the latest NAM model forecast valid Christmas Eve at midnight, 24 hours before Santa arrives:


Precipitation Type Forecast Valid 3 AM Christmas Eve:

Screen Shot 2017-12-22 at 8.22.12 AM

Now, here is the problem for Kansas City:


The heaviest snow will fall along and just north of the vorticity maximum’s path. Look at where it is forecast to be at 6 AM Christmas Eve. If this is right, then the KC metro area will have 2″ north side to 1″ south side, with barely a dusting one county away.  Think about this; one county away there could be nothing. What if this system goes just a bit farther north. Do you see where we could have a frustrating problem?

Either way, this is a small little system that may produce 0.22″ maximum along its path. This is a fast moving and very small storm system. This is increasingly becoming alarming when you look at the developing dry conditions:


We have another day and a half to track this. I know a lot of you just look at the precipitation totals. Look at the deeper meteorology behind what produces the precipitation. If this X tracks farther north do not get your hopes up, but if it tracks a bit farther south, then we are certainly going to be in this. If this one misses us, and some of the KC viewing area will likely get misses, then what is next? It is a dry pattern that has yet to break.

Have a great day everyone. Thank you for reading the Action Weather Blog. Go over to Weather2020.com and click on the blog there to join in the conversation, or follow what others are saying. We will have a good discussion as this system approaches. My expectations are already a bit lower than yesterday as I know the cut-off line from snow to no snow is rather close to KC. I am hoping for a slightly farther south track and not a slightly farther north track. We will discuss on 41 Action News tonight.


So, You’re Saying There Is A Chance

Good morning bloggers,

Winter begins at 10:28 AM central time this morning!  A weak storm is splitting as it moves out into the plains the next two days. One part is going north and falling apart, while a second part is going well to the south. This will leave Kansas City with only a slight chance of any measurable rain or snow again.


Kansas City Holiday Weather Forecast Time-Line:

  • Today:  Cloudy with a chance of some light drizzle. The chance of measurable rain is 10%.  The wind will shift to the northeast later today at 5-10 mph.   High:  49°
  • Friday:  Mostly cloudy with a north breeze at 5 mph. High:  35°
  • Saturday:  Mostly sunny with increasing clouds late. High:  32°
  • Christmas Eve:  There is a 40% chance of light snow early.   We are still monitoring closely for any realistic chance of any accumulation and this is being discussed in today’s blog. High:  30°
  • Christmas Day:  Partly cloudy with a a few snow showers possible.  High:  36°

Weather Discussion:

The models have been rather frustrating to monitor if you are near KC.  I have yet to make a prediction for a chance of a dusting to an inch of snow.  This may change within hours as the data is close to convincing me that there is a chance of a little band of snow near KC Saturday night into early Christmas Eve. Here are the models to monitor today:

  • NAM Model: This comes out in the next few minutes and I will add my thoughts on what it shows soon. This model came out dry! This is due to the smoothing of every wave, phasing into the flow.
  • GFS Model: This has been the best model this season as it has not been showing many chances at all of any snow or rain in the first five to seven days. The chances are always around seven to ten days away or longer.
  • The European Model: This model has been the most aggressive on snow chances in the past few weeks, but even this model hasn’t had many of these chances and they are also almost always seven to ten days away.  The trend on this model has been consistently showing 1 to 4 inches of snow near KC early on Christmas Eve.
  • The Canadian Model: This model has had snow modeled around early Christmas Eve for around seven days now, but it has gone from accumulations down to just barely a dusting


Kansas City is not alone when it comes to the lack of any snow to start the season:


Some of these cities may get their first inch in the next 18 hours.  But, KC will be left snowless once again. Here is the precipitation type forecast valid at 6 PM this evening:


Tonight’s storm system is splitting into pieces with the northern piece zipping northeast and weakening on Friday, with a hang back southern piece reorganizing, Let’s take a look.


This map, above, shows the northern system all sheared out, stretch out as it tracks over the Great Lakes. This system basically falls apart as there is no PVA, Positive Vorticity Advection left due to the shearing out, and thus very limited rising motion. The southern system, on the other hand, is reorganizing and this will begin to produce some lifting to create areas of mostly rain over the southern states, but this system is also forecast to phase into the flow over the eastern part of the nation. Then, look up to the northwest. This energy is what we are monitoring closely for Saturday night into early Christmas Eve morning.

4What happens next may “drive us crazy”.  The southern storm system will have organized by 6 PM Friday, when this map verifies. And, the northern system is strong. If you were to show me just this forecast map weeks, months ago, I would tell you, “if there is cold air available, then KC is about to have snow likely”, from the southern system alone.  But, this system is in this years cycling pattern and we have already experienced similar systems that have just barely fallen short from becoming a more legitimate storm system. I know, what did I just say? Bottom line: it doesn’t and won’t quite do it for eastern Kansas. So, we will concentrate on that wave of energy up north.

This is the wave of energy that will be acting on a rather decently strong baroclinic zone. What is a baroclinic zone? This is a tight temperature contrast zone, or really a frontal zone, a front that may be above the surface and not quite at the surface.

5This next forecast map, from this mornings NAM model, shows the southern storm phasing into the flow, and the northern wave still holding together. For KC to receive snow, we just need this northern wave to hold together and track overhead Saturday night and early Sunday morning and then the European Model forecast of 1 to 4 inches could verify. But, will it? This is the problem. The GFS continuously phases every wave together, right at the perfect time to produce nothing but maybe flurries. But, why does this model have to be right? Every chance we have had thus far, the GFS model has been the right one in modeling NOTHING. Will this happen again, or will we break the ice?

So, yes, I am saying there is a chance. Until we do break the ice and see our first dusting, I am really getting “gun shy” on making any bold prediction. Next week’s storm? Well, we will look into this later. As I have been saying. Something has to give.

Thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading the Action Weather Blog featuring Weather2020 and the LRC. Go over to Weather2020 and join in the conversation. Have a great Thursday.