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Snowfall Amounts

Good late evening or early morning bloggers,

It has been a long day here in the 41 Action News Forecast Center. We feel we did pretty good with the forecast. There was, once again, a lower amount of snow to the south, and there was even a long period of graupel, sleet, and freezing drizzle on the south side and farther to the south and east of Kansas City. How much snow did you get?  There is a big warming trend that will begin, but with some questions on cloud cover this weekend.

Here are some snowfall totals and a comparison to last year:

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Gary

Wednesday snow update

As you know, we’re tracking that larger area of snow in Nebraska which is headed to the East-Southeast. This is the latest radar image.
Snap-Radar

Model guidance over the last 24-36 hours has been fairly consistent on suggesting amounts of snow in Kansas City would be light at best. The higher snowfall should hug the Iowa/Missouri state line.
Hot off the press is the high-resolution NAM model:
SNOW-NAM4km

And this is the snowfall from the short-range RAP model.
SNOW-RAP

On the latest HRRR model, this is how the radar may look later this afternoon around 2pm.
SNOW-HRRR_RADAR

The overall snow will be taking the fast-food approach: in and out of here. This is one of the reasons why the snow amounts will be light. However, should a smaller, heavy snow band form, it could produce isolated higher pockets of snow.

Here’s our current snow forecast, showing where the higher amounts should wind up.
SNOW-Forecast

If you’ll be traveling later today, be alert to some slick roads due to snow cover.
Roads

We will continue to cover the snow on our social media pages as well as on our website. Our on air coverage will continue on our hour long midday program and then again starting at 4p on The Now KC.  Make sure to send us your weather pictures!
-JD

Wednesday Winter Weather Advisory

Good Wednesday (oops, it’s only Tuesday) afternoon bloggers,

Our next storm system is on the way.  This system is much smaller than the one from the weekend, but it appears it will track right over eastern Kansas and western Missouri.  It appears it will be a weakening band as it moves south, but will hold together long enough to bring most locations accumulating snow.  As the storm is moving by, an Arctic blast will head south.  Wind chills by Wednesday evening and night will be near -10° as temperatures fall to the single digits, bottoming out around 0° Thursday morning.  We are on a roller coaster ride and will be near 60° by Saturday.  But, that is for another blog.

The NWS  issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Wednesday

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The best timing for the snow in KC is that it begins 8-10 AM and will end 3-5 PM.  It will be a few hours earlier north and a few hours later to the south as the band basically sags from north to south.

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So, how much snow will fall?  We have two scenarios.  The reason is that, as we said before, this is a weakening band.  So, amounts will depend on how fast it weakens as it heads south.

SCENARIO #1 (If band weakens faster)

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SCENARIO #2 (If band weakens slower)

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Whether scenario #1 or #2 pan out, roads will get slick around midday.  The road crews will have a slower time of cleaning for two reasons.  One, the wind will be blowing the snow around during the afternoon.  And, two, there will be traffic during the day, impeding the plows.  This is different from the storm systems that end at 2-3 AM.  The road crews do not have to battle the traffic.

Gary, myself and the whole team will continue to analyze the new data and have updates.  Gary is going to be on air at 4 PM on the NOW KC and at 5,6 and 10 on 41 Action News.

Have a great night.

Jeff

Evening Update On Next Snow Chance

Good late evening bloggers,

Our next chance of snow is showing up for Wednesday. I am going to up the probability to 100% chance of measurable snow on Wednesday afternoon. The window of opportunity for snow will open up for around four to six hours at the most, so this will be a fast moving band of snow. A four to six hour band of snow can still produce up to six inches where the snow if falling the heaviest.  As usual, it appears the KC metro area may be in a transition time period where it reorganizes and then produces more again to the south and east, if that makes sense. This will be forming on jet dynamics rather than our usual storm systems that we like to track.  There will also be a very strong baroclinic zone, which means a very strong temperature contrast. The exact location of where the heaviest snow will fall is certainly still “up in the air”. So, let’s hang on and see how it sets up tomorrow.  The new data is coming in and we are getting varying solutions on Wednesday’s chance of snow.  Our in-house computer models are showing these two latest solutions:

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The above data was initialized this morning, and the bottom data was initialized later this afternoon:

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The new NAM model had a solution somewhat similar to the possibility map above.  There was actually a sliver of lower snow totals right over the south metro area. Really? Come on. Could this be another frustrating day for those of us on the south side?

Have a great evening. We will update the blog later tomorrow morning or during the afternoon.

Gary

The Next Chance of Snow

Good Monday bloggers,

Snow cover sure can make a difference with low temperatures.  This morning we dropped to one lonely degree.  Today will be mostly sunny, helping us to warm into the 20s.  Tuesday will jump to the 40s as south winds increase.  This is all ahead of our next winter weather change.

First, here are the lows today.

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Highs Tuesday.  Temperatures will jump to the 40s.

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Now on to the next chance of snow.  This is a much smaller system than the weekend storm as it comes in from the northwest.  But, the data is consistent on putting our area near the center.  This system is also accompanied by a shot of Arctic air.

WEDNESDAY MORNING:  It will likely be dry and cloudy for the morning rush hour with temps in the 20s.

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WEDNESDAY 130 PM: This model has us in the middle of the snow around lunch time.  The timing is not set in stone, as it could be a few hours slower.  The snow could come down pretty hard for a short time.  Also, it is still not set in stone that we are in the middle of this snow band.

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WEDNESDAY EVENING:  The snow will be either ending or still falling. Arctic air will follow the storm and winds will pick up from the north, dropping wind chills to near 0° by evening.  Lows Thursday morning will actually drop to zero.  How much snow? Our first opinion is 1″ to 3″.

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Gary will have updates with new data this evening on the NOW KC at 4 pm and at 5,6 and 10.  I will have an update on midday.

Have a great week and stay warm

Jeff

January Statistics Day

Good morning bloggers,

It’s January Statistics Day, and I guess it’s also Groundhog’s Day. Did you know that the Groundhog now see’s his shadow every year, but for some reason the officials in Pennsylvania say he doesn’t see his shadow some years. With all of the camera lights on him he has to see a shadow!  As legend has it, and the myth continues, if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, then he is scared and goes back in for six more weeks of winter. Did you know that there is always 6 more weeks of winter after February 2nd.

Anyway, back to January stats day:

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We had seven days with snow falling, and a grand total of 2.3″ at KCI Airport, another 2.4″ fell after midnight Saturday night right at the beginning of February:

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Our next storm system is showing up with another blast of cold from the north.  This will arrive on Wednesday. Let’s look at the new data and see how the models trend with this system. Have a great start to the week.

Gary

Kansas City Is Split Down The Middle

Good morning bloggers,

Here is our latest thinking.  A rain/snow mix will continue until about 8 AM with wet and slushy roads.  Then, an Arctic front will sweep through 8-10 AM as the precipitation changes to all snow and become light to very light.  Temperatures will be in the mid 20s by noon and near 20° this afternoon with wind chills 0° to 10°.  New snow accumulation through the day will be a dusting to 2″ with the most north of I-70.  The water/slush will freeze hard after 8-10 AM so, drive carefully today.

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Here is the 6 AM radar:

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We had one rain/snow line through the city that was oriented west to east, and there is a second rain/snow line approaching from the west.  Please let us know how much snow you have had and we will read some of the totals on the air. And, let us know what happens as the Arctic front moves through.

Jeff Penner & I are tag teaming the weather this morning from 8 to 9 AM. We will be going over the new data live on the air.  Have a great Super Sunday! Who do you think will win the game. It’s on NBC, so I will be back to work tonight right and we will look ahead to the mid-week storm system around 10:15 PM. Jimmy Fallon has a special show after our newscast. It’s a big day on NBC!

Gary

Saturday night weather update

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Update – 10am Sunday
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It was like Christmas morning for some today: waking up out of bed, shooting to the window or running outside, all to see just how much snow there was. And, much like Christmas morning, you may have been left with a big smile or a McKayla Maroney face.
mckayla-maroney

First thing to point out: a little more snow will still fall between now and about noon-1p. Most of it will be along & North of I-70, but it could add in another couple inches to snow amounts. So final snow numbers will not be available until later tonight.

That said, here is a look at a snowfall map via the reports gathered so far this morning.
Snow Map

Just 36 miles separate no snow in Northeast Kansas and 6 inches of snow near the tri-state line. Amazing. Goes to show how tough snow forecasting really is.

For those who like numbers, here are a few highlights. Again, these are as of 9am and may have already changed a bit.
9a Snow Amounts

As per usual, your backyard ruler will vary. But it appears Metro KC North of I-70 had picked up around 1-2″ so far. Those South, it has been spotty… some reporting a dusting to nothing (in Olathe), others saying around an inch (Lenexa, Lee’s Summit).
Given the warm ground in some areas couples with geographic placement, the snow may have melted before finally sticking. I know some complained they didn’t get what they thought in the downtown area. Keep in mind how downtown usually runs 2-3 degrees warmer than the edges of KC. That will make all the difference in the world when it comes to snow. Just look at the spread over a small area!
Snow Pic Reports

As the snow wraps up, we’re in for part 2 of this feature film: wind & cold. Temps will drop like a rock and we be around 19 degrees by about 6pm. Throw in a stiff north wind at 20-30mph, and it’ll feel brutal. That wind could lead to problems in areas with heavier snowfall as blowing and drifting snow will be likely. Please, take it easy on the roads today. A combination of the moisture and the wind may lead to travel troubles.
Radar

Due to Super Bowl coverage we will not have a newscast until after 10pm tonight. Gary Lezak will be in and have the latest forecast for you.
Hope you’re enjoying the snow today and of course, the big game!

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Update – 11:15pm
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Hi. Me again.

Quickly wanted to share with you some snowfall reports via the NWS. Your backyard ruler/yard stick may vary a bit.
Snow Reports

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Update – 10:45pm
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If you missed the on air forecast at 10p, be sure to jump on to our website and watch the video forecast. The rain and snow continues to push across the area. Many thanks to those who are sharing their reports; it helps in so many ways.

Our own Justin Wilfon shared this photo of the plaza at 10:30p:
Plaza

And Kevin sent this one to me from the Northland (near 169 & 435) just before 10pm.
Northland

Snow in and around Metro will likely stick to grassy areas first and may take a little while to start to adhere to the streets. This is part of what I mean when I say “what all falls may not all stick”. Another reason to allow that wiggle room in the forecast.

Radar as of 10:50pm showing some heavier bands of moisture headed this way.
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Movement is from the Southwest to the Northeast. So if those heavier blobs of rain happen to pass into a colder column of air, we could see some snow bands that setup and drop some heavy snow for a brief period of time. Generally speaking, those South of I-70 will continue to see rain and a little sleet tonight. Some exceptions may be around the 435 loop.
Those North of I-70 will continue to see snowfall through the night. This is part of the reason I am allowing for higher amounts to the North.

Latest short-range model, HRRR, suggests the back edge of the snow bands pass through KC around 8am. The cold air sweeping in will likely still cause some flurries to be squeezed out. Then, the winds pick up and that will blow snow around. For those more to the North, with higher snowfall amounts, that blowing snow will be an issue. I didn’t mention that too much on air, but probably should have.

Just continue to be safe on the roads tonight and into Sunday. Meteorologist Jeff Penner will be in with you early tomorrow starting at 7am with the latest on the radar and any updates to the forecast. Please keep your reports coming. Thanks for following the blog tonight and making it a happy, knowledge-sharing environment!

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Update – 9:15pm
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Various reports on social media of light snow starting to stick in a few more places, like Leavenworth, KCI, Lawrence. Radar is showing the rain/snow line now sitting almost along I-70.
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Additionally, MoDot has been reporting bad road conditions in Northern Missouri.
TravelMap
Check the latest report here: http://traveler.modot.org/map/

Newest guidance is suggesting the storm may actually be out of the Metro area by 8-10am tomorrow. But before it moves out, it appears to take a bit more of a dip to the South. Given this, and the radar trends, I have updated the forecast a bit.
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Again, there could still be a sharp gradient between little snow and a fair amount of snow. Anyone that happens to take a drive up I-29 or I-35 tomorrow will likely see a change over the course of 20-40 miles.

I’ll make some final adjustments to things and have a full forecast coming up at 10pm. Be sure to watch.

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Update – 8:15pm
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Surface temperature at KCI is holding at 34 this hour. Look at the surface obs around the rest of the area.
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Now check out the radar.
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The algorithm of the radar software is flipping back and forth, as it is struggling to determine if rain or snow is falling. Many in/around Metro will continue to see showers and a little bit of sleet here and there.

What concerns me a bit is that we’ve already seen snow accumulations of around 1 to 2 inches in Northern sections of Missouri…yet, the temperatures are technically above freezing. It’s quite possible the “warm” air is very, very shallow. This would allow some snowflakes to get to the ground and should enough of them pile up, it maybe enough to snuff out that warmer layer of air.
Trenton, Gilman City, and Maryville all reporting 2″ of snow as of 8pm.

Latest 00z run of the NAM model is hot off the press. Here is what it is showing for snowfall amounts by Monday morning:
0zNAM

This would suggest about 3-4 inches of snow in the KC Metro. It also maintains the idea of higher snowfall amounts (near 10 inches) in Northern Missouri.

The 00z RPM follows a similar trend as the NAM
0zRPM

I’m going to mull this over a bit and then see about tweaking the overall snow forecast. We may have to allow for 1-3 inches in the Metro. I’m just concerned there will be a difference between what falls and what sticks. Three inches may fall, but only an inch or so may actually stick to the ground.

Keep checking back here on the blog for updates and be sure to watch the forecast at 10pm.

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Previous Entry – 6pm
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You don’t need me to tell you the rain (and snow) are here. Just depends on where your “here” is. Sunday will be a weather alert day as the rain changes over to snow for most and that’s thanks to the cold air moving in during the day.
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And armchair meteorologist knows that the difference between a little rain and a lot of snow is just a few degrees. As we’ve been saying for a while now, the warm air will linger around Kansas City through about 8am Sunday. This will prevent the change over from rain to snow, however… should colder air arrive sooner, things will change. Likewise, should the cold air take its time, things will change the other direction. We are at the mercy of the cold air.

Here is a look at the radar as of 6:30pm
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Already this evening (as of 6:30p) there have been reports of a couple inches of snow in Northwest Missouri as well as reports of sleet around the Metro. I expect temperatures to actually go up a couple degrees going into the overnight period, so the showers will continue in Metro KC with an occasional ping of sleet here and there. Those in Northern Missouri and far Northeast Kansas, you’re in the snow and going to stay there a while.
At this time, I would not be too concerned with slick roads in Metro tonight given the warming temps. That said, as with any rain event, accidents can happen so please take it easy. The spray from vehicles in front of you may be a bit of a hazard. Elsewhere, be careful as you venture out tonight, especially those dealing with snow on the ground.

No surprise here, Winter Storm Warnings are in place for counties in Northern Missouri and this stretches all the way to the East coast as the storm will move that way next.
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I know the biggest thing everyone wants to know is: “How much snow will there be?”. It bothers me to say this, but: it’s not that easy this time around. There is a lot of factors at play that can alter this greatly. Adding 3 plus 3 plus 2 is pretty easy. But adding 3 plus six divided by the square root of the absolute value of the cosine of X over pi to the 85th digit isn’t so easy. The more variables you have, the harder the forecast. Now then, with that obligatory “cover my backside” wording out of the way, based on what I’ve seen, this is my latest snowfall forecast.
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Please, use this as a guide. We are measuring with a micrometer and then cutting with a weed wacker on this one. There will likely be a tight gradient of little/no snow, to high amounts of snow. Seriously, I would not be surprised if some counties had a four or five inch spread just across the county from South to North!

Given all the “stuff” going on in the atmosphere around us, it leads to a lot of room for error on this one; no doubt about that. If the rain changes over sooner, snow amounts will go up. Remember on average the snow to rain ratio is 10 to 1. So, a half inch of rain could quickly become five inches of snowfall. If we are wrong on when KC sees snow, then the amounts will be off.

Many of you have already been keeping close tabs on the models, I am sure. There has been consistency in saying those along the Iowa line with come up as big winners in the snow department, with raw outputs suggesting amounts near 12″ possible. I do think *some* of that is due to the models changing over the rain too soon. But with all the different models saying roughly the same thing, it makes me a little nervous.

What makes me shake my head is that the Euro & the UKMet have been banging the drum for big snow for a few runs now, but we’ve brushed it off. I saved those outputs, by the way. Now, suddenly, the American models are jumping on board. Check out the 18z GFS (via WeatherBell)…

18zGFS

And the 18z 4km NAM (also via the fine folks at WeatherBell)…
18Z NAM

Just yesterday both models were being snow grinches and hold back on snow amounts. Obviously, the Euro model got beat up after missing the snow forecast on the East coast. But if the higher amounts do materialize in Northern Missouri, then the clear winner will be the Euro which picked up on this days ago.

However, just because a model *says* it will snow, does not mean that it will do exactly as the model says. The atmosphere tends to march to the beat of its own drum and does what it wants. Kind of like a toddler.
Personally, I never want to over-promise snowfall, but I also don’t want people caught off guard and surprised. As I usually say: don’t focus so much on the exact amounts. I think too often we shake our fist at the TV and say “You said three inches of snow and I only got two!”.
Many people cannot tell the difference between five inches of snow and seven inches of snow, it’s all psychological. Think more about the impacts and how it will play a role in your plans on Sunday. Yes, I understand there are those out there who push snow for a living and two inches of snow versus five inches of snow equates out to money. Take your frustrations up with the higher power. I’m in sales, not manufacturing!

On Sunday, with the cold air rushing in, I would be a little concerned with the wet roads freezing up. I know many will be going out to Super Bowl parties. Please use caution, take your time, and leave a little early.
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I will continue to update this post as the night goes on and I will be back in Sunday morning to track things for you. As a programming note, due to Super Bowl coverage, we do not have a 5pm newscast Sunday. We will be on at about 10:15pm. You’ll need to stick with us on our website, our mobile apps, and on social media for updates.

Be safe and thanks for any reports you can provide us.
-JD

Rain, Snow, Arctic Blast and Wind

Good Saturday bloggers,

The weather this weekend will be quite active as part of a storm system in the southwest USA moves northeast and merges with a strengthening storm system dropping in from the northwest. The new data coming in this morning is trending stronger on the storm and it is digging bit harder. This will likely still pull in warmer air and push the heaviest snow potential north, like Gary had last night.  It is even raining in Omaha early this morning.  The NAM continues to show the rain/snow line just north of Kansas City, but we still believe this is likely too far south. Eventually later tonight, and IF the storm does dig farther south, then we will likely see a better chance of a few hours of snow Sunday morning and this is when most of the accumulations will likely occur.  Here are all of the weather events this weekend.  Lets go through it.

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First, here is a shot of the radar from early Saturday.  The rain extends south all the way into Texas.  So, we will have rain all day and night with up to 1″ possible.  Temperatures will be 35° to 40°.  Some snow may mix in to our west and north.

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Saturday at 3 PM.  Rain will be widespread, even in northern Missouri.  There will be a few patches with mixed snowflakes (pink).

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Sunday at 630 AM.  Tonight the rain will change to snow in northern Missouri as Arctic air comes rushing south.  The Arctic front will be roaring through here 7-9 AM Sunday. We will still see rain until this front moves through.

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Sunday, 7 AM to Noon.  This is when the Arctic air will be flowing in.  The rain will change to snow as the main precipitation moves away.  Temperatures will fall from the mid 30s to mid 20s by noon with 40 mph wind gusts.  So, slick spots will form Sunday morning as the water on the surfaces freeze and a coating of snow covers the water.  Sometimes, this becomes very slick all over the place and sometimes this is just spotty.  This will likely be somewhere in between.  It will be worse if we are under doing the temperature drop.  Sunday afternoon will see 40 mph wind gusts with snow showers and flurries with wind chills in the single digits.  We will bottom out around 8° Monday morning.

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Here is our snowfall forecast map.  There is little change from what Gary showed Friday night.

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Have a great weekend and meteorologist JD Rudd will have an update this afternoon and night.

Jeff

New Data On Friday Night

It’s Friday Night in the Big Town,

The new data is trickling in and while we analyze this take a look at what has happened temperature-wise this month, including our forecast high of 37° tomorrow.

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Before I even look at the data let me tell you what I saw in today’s trend.  The models all have been trending consistently into this system digging slightly harder. What does that mean? It means, first of all, that it is becoming a stronger storm system, a more organized storm system. And, secondly, it needs to continue this trend if Kansas City is going to see any significant snow. By digging harder, this will mean there is more curvature to the upper level flow and the storm is a bit stronger.

New data analysis:

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What would you forecast if this map above verifies? This is such an unusual set-up.  There are factors that aren’t quite “normal”.  The 850 mb temperatures for example likely are cold enough for snow the entire time from beginning to end. And, I am talking about for Kansas City.  But, there is a layer from just above the surface to around 2,000 feet up that is near to just above freezing. It would be just thick enough to melt the snowflakes into big rain drops in Kansas City, but what about St. Joseph, Hiawatha, Trenton, Maryville, Chillicothe and other locations just north of us? This is very complex and rain and snow amounts are likely to vary greatly.  The storm has trended farther south on this model run. Take a look at how organized the storm gets at the 850 mb level (5,000 feet up) by Sunday morning:

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I am going to work on some graphics and make a snowfall forecast chart and post it here later on. I will have all of this on our 10 PM newscast, and then watch our weather team over the weekend for updates.

Here is the snowfall forecast map I just showed at 10 PM. Again, this is quite complex and we will adjust this in the morning.

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Gary