A bright, sunshiny day

What a difference a day can make, right? If yesterday was Dr. Jekyll then today must be Mr. Hyde. If only that good doctor could write the atmosphere a prescription to control these mood swings. I mean seriously, we drove off a cliff in terms of temperatures Wednesday night. This simple meteogram shows the dramatic drop for Kansas City.


For those wanting something a little more technical, geek out on this for a second:

Look at the pressure and the wind. Pretty fascinating.

Today, we have the sunshine but certainly not the warmth of yesterday. The visible satellite picture shows us the clear sky as of early this afternoon. Note the fresh snow in Iowa; you can see all the rivers there. Cool.
Vis Sat Noon

Generally speaking, today and tomorrow are the quiet days. I’m at the station and sitting down to go over all the forecast information as we speak (12:30p). From an early look at things, here’s my take: Saturday will become the cranky toddler we have to babysit. And to keep that analogy going, Sunday is the rebellious pre-teen and then by Tuesday, it could be the level-headed adult. I’m combing over all the finer points right now and will go into much more detail later tonight (look for an update by about 7p), but this is the 1000ft view going into this weekend and the first few days of March.

Saturday: Snow likely. Amounts still in question thus causing the endless biting of fingernails
Sunday: Rain/snow/sleet and even some ice possible
Monday: Some late-day showers, highs above freezing (snow melting)
Tuesday: Milder with rain a high possibility (more melting of snow)

Simply to address it: are some outlets already publishing snowfall maps? Sure. But I’m betting they’re also saying how much this can all change. It may not be a bad idea to keep copies of those maps and see how much they are altered over the next couple days.

Tonight I plan to show you some of the raw model numbers so you can see how all over the place it’s been lately. Last night’s GFS went overboard (I think) with snow (10″). But it’s been doing that this year. Whereas the NAM has been taking the conservative road. Seems the Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde mentality has made it into the realm of the model guidance world too.

Sides are forming already between those rooting for snowfall and those looking for Spring to make an early entrance. We can wish and root all we want, but the atmosphere will do what it has done for thousands of years: whatever it wants.

In the meantime all we can do it gather data and analyze. From there we’ll do our best to predict the future for a tiny geographic spot on a 4-thousand mile wide spinning rock that’s hurling through space at the rate of nearly 67-thousand miles per hour. Hey, anyone with a computer & internet connection can do that, right?!


Snow Likely On Saturday

Good morning bloggers,

We went from a late afternoon high of 54 degrees to snow by 6:45 PM on Wednesday.  And, it was snowing at 1 AM when I finished writing this blog.  During the next seven days  we will likely experience snow, sleet, freezing rain, and rain.

The weather pattern is setting up perfectly for a warm advection snowstorm Saturday into Saturday night.  A series of waves coming out of a trough dropping into the southwestern states is going to help create the conditions for bands of snow to move across beginning as early as Saturday morning just southwest of Kansas City. There is no strong storm ejecting out and this is somewhat of a concern, but we are right down the middle of this snow developing zone, so confidence is higher than it has been all season for a wide spread snow event with 1 to 4 inches likely.  This means that 1 inch is the minimum in this range, and 4 inches is the maximum in this range. Your location will most likely fall into this range by Sunday morning.  Could our forecast be upgraded or downgraded?  Of course, but our intention is to forecast what we expect at the moment.  It’s still early with two days before this event.

Model comparions:

  • GFS Model:  3 to 6 inches of snow with 7 inches in spots
  • NAM Model:  2 – 4 inches with heavier amounts south
  • Canadian Model:  1 to 3 inches max
  • European Model:  6 to 10 inches

If you believe the European Model, then you would have experienced four 10 inch snowstorms already this winter.  Kansas City has had officially 12.9″ of snow at KCI Airport. There has been a bit more than this up north, and a bit less than this down south. At the same time, Boston has gone over 100 inches for the season, most of which has fallen in the past two months:


We will be adding to the 12.9″ total, the question is how much?


The map above shows the Powercast with snow advancing northeastward on Saturday morning.  And, the map below shows the heavy snow (white area) just east and southeast of Kansas City.  This is just one solution of many we will see during the next 48 hours.The purple to pink areas show moderate snow and the blue shades are much lighter snow.


Okay, so I am so confident in the 1 to 4 inches of snow by Sunday morning, but then what happens next raises the weather forecasting difficulty factor to a very high level.  I am taking the next two days off. JD Rudd will write an update to the blog later today.  Have a great day. The Kansas City Pet Telethon is on Sunday night from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM on 38 The Spot, and we are streaming on KSHB.com. Call in and donate if you can!  I will be checking in over the next few days if you have any questions.


Rapid Weather Changes Tonight

Good Wednesday evening bloggers,

Today was beautiful with highs in the 50s and abundant sunshine.  The reason we warmed up so much is that we ended up on the southwest side of the Alberta Clipper we have been tracking.

Here is a map from 2 PM today.  The surface low is in southwest Iowa and we are getting the southwest winds pulling in a nose of warm air.  Look at Lincoln. NE where it is 28° and Valentine, NE where it is 16°.  This Arctic air will be rushing in this evening.



What about precipitation? Since we are on the southwest side of the system we are going to get clipped by the main area of rain and snow.  At 3 PM there was a band of rain to snow showers headed this way.  So, we will likely see a period of rain showers, ending as snow showers between 5 PM and 10 PM.  The only way we have slick spots is if we see more than .01″.  Otherwise, the surfaces will get blown dry by the north winds gusting to 30-40 mph before they have a chance to freeze.  We may get a dusting of snow as the Arctic air rushes in overnight and/or the cold air catches up with the rain-snow shower band faster, so that more snow falls than rain.


Here is our time line of events overnight.

5 PM to 7 PM: Rain showers with temperatures falling from near 50° to near 35-40°.  By 7 PM there may be some snow northwest of the city.

7 PM to 10 PM: The band of precipitation exits and most likely ends as snow, but it will be light and brief in any one location.  Temperatures will fall from near 40° to the upper 20s on north winds gusting to 30-40 MPH.

10 PM to 7 AM: Flurries or some snow showers with a wind blown dusting possible.  Winds will be north gusting to 30-40 MPH.  Temperatures by Thursday morning will be 10° to 15° with wind chills as low as -10°!  Ouch!

Thursday and Friday will be dry and very cold.  This will set us up for a potential variety of precipitation over the weekend as warm air tries to return and a small system moves by.  It looks like the initial precipitation for Saturday into early Sunday will be snow.  Right now it looks like 1 to 4 inches.  A few of the models have come in with 8 inch totals, but we know how this year has gone. We will have our forecast on the 4, 5, 6, and 10 PM newscasts tonight.

Have a great night and bundle up!


A Mid-Week Storm Targets Northeastern Missouri

Good evening bloggers,

Gary is on the 4, 5, 6, and 10 PM news tonight, and he has the challenge of describing this storm system.

First, tonight will be dry and calm with lows in the 20s.  Then, most of tomorrow will be dry with increasing clouds and highs in the 40s.  We then have this system to track for Wednesday night.  The trend on the data the last 24 hours has been for this storm to track farther northeast, putting our area on the southwest side of the precipitation shield.

Here is the time line of events.

WEDNESDAY EVENING: It now looks like a mix of light rain, sleet and snow will start during the Wednesday evening rush hour with temperatures above 32° in the mid 30s.  So, roads will likely be damp to wet.


WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Between 6 PM and midnight Arctic air will come in from the north as the main system tracks from Iowa to northeast Missouri.  Our light mix will change to light snow and flurries.  Temperatures will fall from the 30s to the 20s.  Slick spots will form as the damp/wet surfaces freeze along with a dusting of snow on top.  The heaviest snow will occur from Maryville to Chillicothe north and east where a Winter Weather advisory has been issued from noon Wednesday to 6 AM Thursday.  A Winter Storm Warning is in effect for Iowa where a band of 4-8″ of snow is possible.


Here is our latest thinking on snowfall accumulation by Thursday morning.  The main weather issue that we will all be dealing with is Arctic air pouring south.  Temperatures Thursday morning will be in the teens with wind chills -10°.


Thursday and Friday will be very cold with highs in the teens and lows Friday in the single digits.  This will set us up for a complex weather forecast Saturday night through Tuesday as 2-3 systems come out of the west and interact with the Arctic air as it tries to leave.  This is going to mean a changing forecast and a mixed bag of weather across the region.  Stay tuned!

Have a great night and lets watch Gary explain this interesting stretch of weather on 41 Action News at 5,6 and 10 and on the NOW KC through 5.

Have a great night.

Jeff Penner

Not again, really?

Good morning bloggers,

There are two storm systems that we are tracking this week. The first one is due in Wednesday night and the second, and potentially wetter one is due in over the weekend. Both of these storm systems are presenting the usual difficulties in this year’s pattern.  The first one looked like it was going to be lower stress on the forecaster until last night’s data came in. And, the second storm is also looking different in every model run. Let’s start with a look at the first one.


The trend on the models has been for Kansas City to be right on the edge of this southeast tracking storm that is caught in northwest flow.  If this latest trend continues Kansas City will only have around a dusting to an inch with the heaviest snow farther to the northeast.  I am leaning in this direction as well as Kansas City just has not been in the right spot all season.  On this map above you can see the second shade of precipitation, which is the 0.10″ line that is just northeast of Kansas City near Liberty.  The 0.25″ line is the darker green line. Let’s look at the new data and see if this east trend continues.

Now, as we look at the weekend storm.  If this were even close to being a “normal” storm, I would have some confidence in what will happen. But, just like all of the others this season it appears Kansas City may end up in a zone where everything is phasing together. This doesn’t mean we won’t get hit by something significant, but it certainly is a warning sign as something is still not quite right.  We will be going into the southern branch with no main storm ejecting out of the southwest until early to mid next week.  This southern branch, however, may be situated in such a way that we go into a long fetch of moisture with the potential for a heavy precipitation event. And, the rain/snow/sleet/freezing rain line may be lining up right near KC. That will make me pull my hair out, but I have none left to pull out.

Have a great morning and we will look deeper in to this storm later in the day.


Two Storm Systems To Track This Week

Good evening bloggers,

We have an active week of weather ahead.  There are two somewhat exciting storm systems to track. The first one on Wednesday into early Thursday, and a second much larger one over the weekend. They both are producing some big forecast challenges for us.  Before we get to these two storm systems, there is one tracking to our due south today.


Tuesday will be interesting as temperatures should warm up significantly ahead of this next change on Wednesday. This forecast for tomorrow is one of our many challenges. And, then we get to track this:


The system approaching us Wednesday night has varying solutions and the latest models are trending towards more snow around north central Missouri from Chillicothe north to the Iowa border. Kansas City is the zone between the heaviest snow to the east and somewhat of a mixture to the west where it will end up changing to snow.  We are forecasting a dusting to 4 inches and we will narrow in on a more specific forecast, perhaps by the 10 PM newscast tonight, but definitely on Tuesday. This is a strange little system tracking in from the north and northwest.  I will show the Powercast at 5 and I may have my new Powercast for the 6 PM and 10 PM newscasts.


This storm system coming in from the northwest on Wednesday has a set-up that is a bit different than what we have seen this season. I do believe there will be a really nice band of snow north and east of Kansas City and 7 inches is not out of the question up near Chillicothe.  Farther west we could be more on the edge, and there is some potential for an initial mix of rain and sleet as it begins which would cut into totals. We will look deeper into this storm system on 41 Action News tonight.

After this mid-week storm we will immediately begin focusing on a tough weekend forecast, and the part of the pattern that has produced in other cycles of this year’s pattern. The wet storm on the LRC calendar is showing up for this weekend. This is the storm that has produced for our area in previous cycles of this weather pattern. Remember the October 12th storm that washed out the Royals Baltimore playoff game? Then, the second one in November produced around 1/2″ of rain with a warm up in the middle of our cold outbreak. The January version went by dry, and now we get to see what the late February/early March version will bring. It is right on schedule.  This storm is due in later this weekend, and there may be a leading area of warm advection snow.  What is warm advection snow?  When warm air is forced into the colder air mass we can get the conditions for lifting. It depends on how this warm air moving in (advection) sets up. And, it appears there will be a warm advection zone on Saturday or Saturday night, most likely just west of Kansas City.

The latest data has around 0.50″ to 1.00″ of liquid equivalent precipitation this weekend.  Now, it’s Monday night, and that storm is a good five to six days away.  We will learn so much more about this storm system between now and the end of the week. Let’s concentrate on this Wednesday night system first!

Have a great evening and we will update the blog on Tuesday!


The twitchy weather continues

10:45a Update Monday

Just for kicks and giggles, let’s update this post with the latest offering of the 12z model runs from today, shall we?
I noticed something interesting I wanted to share, so let’s get right to the juicy part of this steak: snowfall for Wednesday night.

While I cannot post the image, I can tell you the 12z RPM model almost mirrors the 00z Euro to a T. So, let’s look at the RPM!
The 12z Euro will not be available until about 1pm this afternoon. I’ll be curious to see if it keeps the snow in NE Missouri.
The trend is for this round of snow to get pushed off to our East. We’ll have to see if the guidance later today and tomorrow follows this trend. Given this season, it probably will!

Meanwhile, the latest 12z NAM places that blob of snow a lot more to the West; right over our area.
NAM Snow

On the GFS, it sort of follows the NAM, but leans a bit toward the Euro/RPM solution.

The biggest takeaway here is that all the guidance suggests what we’ve been talking about: this will be another event where the amounts could be anywhere from a dusting to about two to three inches. It doesn’t look like a “monster” of a storm by any means and will probably get shunted to the East if the given trends continue. In any event, we’ll keep tabs on this as we step closer to Thursday morning.

Original entry – 6:30pm Sunday

The last time I saw this much back & forth I was at a $2.99 buffet in Vegas. The weather has almost been sort of like a buffet, with a little bit of something for everyone. And some of it turned out to be more bland than it appeared from afar!
At this point, about the only thing you can do is laugh a little. Otherwise, you’d go mad! Right? RIGHT??

Check out the highs for the last ten days in Kansas City.
2 PM

Another note: in those ten days, we had four days of more than a trace of snowfall reported. Those tapping their foot and getting antsy for more snow (or at least that one “big” storm) will have a few chances as we close out the month of February.

Tonight, we will all suffer from chattering teeth as temperatures dip to near zero. While the wind won’t be all that strong—just 5 to 15mph—it will be enough to send our wind chill values to near -15° for a few hours Monday morning. Make sure you’ve got that exposed skin covered up!

Our yo-yo temperatures will continue for the first half of the week, going from 20s on Monday to middle 40s on Tuesday. Then, it’s back into the freezer yet again. I don’t know about you, but I think I’ve got freezer burn.

A snapshot of what’s ahead as we go through the next few days:

I can hear some of you smiling about Tuesday. Or maybe that’s Wednesday you’re excited for…

When it comes to the snowfall, there will be a little feature that slides through the area Wednesday night into Thursday. This should drop some light snow across the region. Looking at the latest guidance, this won’t amount to much of anything, but here is the most likely area to see some form of snowfall from Wednesday night through early Thursday.

Try not to read too much into this graphic. Simply based on simulated radar & where the moisture will be (plus cold air), I would expect snow to show up on radar in this area from Wednesday afternoon through Thursday morning. Accumulating snow would only be spotty in that area; read on for more.

Both the Euro and the GFS are suggesting snow amounts for our greater KC area will be around a dusting to three inches at best. Obviously that’s an early figure and we’ll fine-tune it as we get closer to the middle of the week. Of course, what is par for the course this year is for snowfall numbers to decline as the event gets closer. So, it should be no real surprise if this doesn’t produce anything more than a generous dusting for some. We should call this season the year of the maids! … because dusting. Get it? …….moving on….

I’ll refrain from posting snowfall maps at this point since really the only one I can post is the GFS. By tomorrow, the NAM & RPM will be able to compute the data and provide their opinions. That will be a lot more helpful for us so let’s give it 24 more coo-coos.

Next weekend is already looking “interesting”, as we say. Once again we find ourselves looking at guidance that is split. Oh joy. The GFS side of life pushes a bubble of warm air into the area suggesting highs in the mid to upper 40s (direct output says 47 for KC on Sunday). It then slides moisture through Saturday night and all day Sunday. Given the temperature setup, this would look to be mostly a rain event for us. Although the GFS does suggest a couple inches of snowfall by Monday morning.

On the other side of the coin, the Euro is handing out snowfall like it’s candy–“here ya go”. It claims our high is only around freezing on Sunday. It brings a similar slug of moisture across the region but because of the temperature setup, it says we’re in for a decent little snow event. I’d be lying to you if I said the highest value showing up in our area was nine inches.

While I cannot post the European output, I can show you the Canadian model and the GFS model. The Canadian leans more toward the Euro solution, for what that’s worth.
This is the GFS simulated radar for Sunday afternoon:
18z Sun GFS
As mentioned, it keep us in the warm air so the precip falls as rain.

The Canadian model Sunday afternoon:
18z Sun GEM
Cold air in place, thus snow would be the precip type. Of course, you’ll notice the better bands of snow are being depicted more to the South.

Obviously, nothing is even close to set in stone and we’ll likely see the guidance shuffle back and forth like an iPod with only three songs on it. Until then, we have to get through each day, one by one. Which is the only way to do it if you really think about it.

Some have asked about when we may get a break in the cold air. A peek at the newest information says we’re stuck in a cold pattern through at least the first part of March. But there are signs of hope. Let’s check it out.
This is what the Euro model says we’ll be in for around the 3rd of March.  It’s one of a few maps from the Euro that can be published freely. This is surface temperatures for Wednesday morning, March 4th.
Euro 12z Mar4

And this is how the GFS sees it for that same day.
GFS 12z Mar4

Basically: cold. Still. Brrrr. Blah.

There does appear to be an indication–especially from the GFS–that warmer air will try to nudge back into the Central Plains around middle of March. Here is how the computers handle it.

European model surface temperatures for Sunday the 8th of March:
Euro 0z Mar 9

The GFS opinion for the same day:
GFS 0z Mar 9

Notice the GFS is more aggressive on pushing that warm air into our neck of the woods. By then, the average temperature will 52° for Kansas City. Both models indicate we’ll be below average still by then. Figures, right?

At the end of the day, no computer model is ever always right and no model is always ever wrong. Well, unless you count the NGM. Which some know as the “No Good Model”. That one was put to rest a while ago, thankfully!

Spring is scheduled to begin in 25 days. But something tells me we might see one of these in three weeks.

Here’s to hoping whatever weather you like shows up outside your door this week. For now, I’ll be making plans to visit a buffet soon. Might as well, huh?

Climbing back into the freezer Sunday

First off, nobody…. not a soul… predicted the warmth we had today. Given the cold, the snow, the frozen precip, and a cold front, it was expected to be a cold day with a little bit of sunshine. Despite all that we wound up with sunshine and highs in the upper 40s. Bonus degrees for sure. If anything, this just adds into the oddity that is this winter season. I just hope you managed to make the most of it!

Now all of that said, we’re going to have some issues tonight. Thanks to melting snow and ice, there are puddles around here and there. Those will likely refreeze tonight.
3 PM

A cold front has actually already gone through the area today but the true cold air is lagging a bit. Don’t worry, it will arrive later tonight.
4 (1)

If you’re seeing forecasts that say the high tomorrow will be around 24 or 25, that’s because our temperature at midnight could be in that area. Technically speaking, that’s tomorrow so it would be the 12a to 11:59p high. But when many of us are outside in the afternoon, it will be the teens at best. Add in a North wind at 10-20mph, it will feel even colder.
So here is your fair warning: tomorrow will be cold.
2 PM

Meanwhile, tonight, parts of Western Kansas are looking at anywhere from 6-12″ of snow from a winter storm passing through there. You can see the active alerts for that area in place.

I do not see that system working its way to us tonight. The bulk of the energy will dive South but there could be enough of a ripple effect to toss some snow flurries our way early Sunday. If it happens, it should not amount to anything at all.
This is the 18z, high-resolution NAM showing how the radar may look by 7am tomorrow. Again, all that activity will be pushing to the South.
7am NAM

Looking ahead, I don’t want to get into the finer details just yet (I will save it for Sunday’s blog) but it appears our next chance of snow will be Wednesday night into Thursday. And then another chance late Friday night into Saturday. Speaking strictly tongue-in-cheek, it’ll just be another event with a dusting to two inches plus some sleet… that seems to be what’s happened with almost every snow event this season! [To be clear: that’s not a forecast; I’m being facetious.]

Peering into the crystal ball, there does not appear to be an overall break to this cold pattern. Using the GFS as a guide–which is shaky this year because the GFS has not been doing very well–you can get an idea of the cold shots that will continue to spill this way as we go into the month of March. Don’t get lost in the wording of the chart, just notice the cold pink colors that keep developing and moving over our area.

For those wondering, posting of the Euro output like that is not allowed (a licensing rights issue). So, we have the GFS. And if you’d like to see the verification scores on the new GFS vs the Euro, Dr. Maue has posted them on his Twitter account. Very interesting stuff.
No model is ever “always right” or “always wrong”, but when in doubt… go with the o.

In the short term, we will stay in the freezer Sunday and Monday before sunshine and Southwest winds return Tuesday to get us close to 40°. Maybe we can squeeze some bonus degrees out of that day like we did today.

Be careful and don’t biff it tonight out there!

Cold Ice Bear

Improving Today, Frigid Sunday

Good Saturday bloggers,

Overnight we had mostly freezing rain and some sleet.  Temperatures hovered around 32° so surfaces became, icy, slushy and wet.  Treated surfaces are wet.  Untreated surfaces such as your driveway, sidewalks, decks and steps are slushy and icy.  The sky has cleared allowing temperatures to dip into the upper 20s and low 30s early this morning.  This will re-freeze untreated slushy surfaces.  Temperatures this morning will rise into the mid 30s with some sun.  So, all surfaces will improve as the ice melts.  You will notice the ice on the trees melting as well.

Here is an image on the Plaza from 630 AM.  You can see the roads are wet and slushy.  If you are out early this morning use caution.



What is next? Well, this afternoon will be decent with sun, clouds and highs well into the 30s.  However, an Arctic front is on the way.  Early Saturday morning it was in the northern Plains and heading this way.  It will arrive 6-10 pm this evening.


This afternoon we will be in the 30s with highs near 50° in southern Kansas.


Later tonight and Sunday as the Arctic air pours in a winter system will be affecting western Kansas.  We will have to watch for a piece of this system to break off and possibly head in to our area.  If it does we could see some flurries or very light snow.  We do not expect any accumulation.


Sunday will be windy and frigid with highs in the teens and wind chills -5° to +5°.

Have a great weekend and meteorologist JD Rudd will have an update later today.


Late Friday Evening Update

Good evening bloggers,

We are having another strange storm tonight. Most of the organized precipitation has been north of Kansas City, and most of the icing has been around 40 miles southeast and south of Kansas City. The metro area itself has mostly had wet roads. There is a disturbance approaching, but it is also not very strong:


Temperatures are near 32°. Aloft there is a small layer of warmer air and this may erode away just as the disturbance moves overhead around 3 AM.  Between midnight and 5 AM there is a chance of enough snow and sleet to create slick and hazardous driving conditions. It appears this disturbance is heading towards the south side of  the KC metro area. Let’s follow it in.  Have a safe night and I will go over the details on 41 Action News at 10 PM.