Sleet, Freezing Rain, or Snow Tonight?

Good Morning Bloggers,

We had a nice precipitation event yesterday with over 1″ liquid accumulation in the KC metro area. Lee’s Summit, MO recorded 1.20″, while KCI Airport had 0.85″. We are now moving into fourth cycle of this years cycling weather pattern. It was wet in the first cycle and it is certainly “trying” to be wet again. In between it has been a rather dry pattern, and excessively dry with the drought developing out over the western high plains.  These precipitation events, such as yesterdays, helps keep that drought area from expanding. It is something we continue to monitor.  And, now we have another precipitation event to track tonight.


There is a rather big trough draped across western North America.  Waves of energy are being generated and they are rotating out of this trough. The main trough will swing across over the weekend, but out ahead of the main trough are two more waves that can be seen to be rotating out towards the plains. One of these will arrive tonight.


The map above shows a forecast for precipitation at 3 AM tonight. Now, what type of precipitation will it be? On the air last night I argued that it could start as snow.  Some of the models are showing all snow, but we live in KC and there has not been a 3″ snow storm in over four full years now. That is just nuts, and the longest such streak in KC recorded history.  So, we know the challenge of getting it to be all snow will be high, even though it is really close. It will be interesting to track tonight, but we have already done this a few times within this interesting pattern that started last October. In those experiences, there has been a rain/sleet/snow area near KC a few times.  I expect this same thing to be the most likely scenario tonight. There have even been at least two times that I can remember where it snowed and accumulated in parts of the KC metro area while it only rained just miles away. So, we have a history of this, and it may very well be that way again tonight. By noon Thursday last nights data produced these next two ice and snow forecasts:



So, what is going to happen? Here is the Kansas City Time Line:

  • Today:  Mostly cloudy with thickening and lowering clouds later in the day.  High: 28°
  • Tonight through 9 PM:  Sleet, snow, freezing rain, and a mixture of all three developing and spreading northeast.
  • 10 PM – 6 AM Thursday:  A mixture of precipitation likely.  Accumulations of sleet, freezing rain, snow of under 1″ likely. There is a chance that some areas could see higher snowfall accumulations, but only if it stays in the form of snow. This is unlikely to happen, but some areas may have a longer period of snow, with the farther north locations the most likely areas to have more snow.  Low:  24°
  • Thursday:  The mixture of precipitation ends, but there will be a chance of drizzle, freezing drizzle, or light rain later in the day.  Total accumulations of under 1″ likely causing slick and hazardous conditions.

Matt Dobbins shared this great picture with us yesterday (MatthewDobbins.com).  We will likely be having a rare ice on top of ice event tonight, or could it snow? Well, we will find out soon:


We will discuss all of this, the trend in the models, and the weekend storm system in the comments section over on Weather2020.com. Thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading the Action Weather Blog featuring Weather2020 and the cycling pattern.


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