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Snow is likely Wednesday night!

Good morning 41 Action News Weather Bloggers,

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A Winter Storm Watch has been issued by the National Weather Service for areas north and northwest of Kansas City.

There are still many concerns/questions that will need to be answered as this storm approaches/develops over the plains states Wednesday and Wednesday night.

  • Fact 1:  The energy that will help carve out this storm system is still off the west coast this morning
  • Fact 2:  Warm air is being drawn northward and will be in place ahead of this storm
  • Fact 3:  This storm will become negatively tilted and stronger just as it approaches and passes Kansas City Wednesday night.
This first map on the left shows the energy moving in this morning. There isn’t any organization at all to this storm yet.  By Thursday morning the storm goes through a major transition.
You can click on either of these maps for a larger view. The map on the right shows the 500 mb flow GFS model forecast valid at 6 AM Thursday.  Notice how there is a little circle near Kirksville, MO showing the organization and intensification of this storm that will be heading into the Great Lakes states.  The window of opportunity for snow will open wide for about four to eight hours if this storm takes this track as shown here.
Here is the surface map from the same GFS model valid at midnight Wednesday night:
This surface map shows the strong 996 mb surface low near Springfield, MO at midnight Wednesday night. The blue dashed line is the 540 thickness line which is often the rain/snow changeover line. It would be passing through around midnight.  This changeover line could pass through within two to three hours of midnight. The blue shade shows strong northwest winds at around 30 mph with higher gusts. It will become quite windy as the snow begins to fall and it would cause some blowing and drifting of the snow.
Here is the snowfall forecast map we have been showing on 41 Action News.  I made this yesterday afternoon at 4 PM and it is just our initial thoughts from two and a half days away from the storm. Now, we are 24 hours closer and there are some adjustments to this map that we will make and update today on 41 Action News.  The National Weather Service is now predicting 2 to 4 inches near Kansas City. I would like to wait and see how the computer models trend on this storm before we shift this south a bit as the energy is just now coming ashore.  We will update our snowfall forecast later today and share it with you in an updated blog this evening.
Timeline:
  • Today:  Sunny with a high of 54°
  • Tonight: Clear with a low of 35°
  • Wednesday:  Increasing clouds with a northeast breeze at around 15 mph.  High: 49°
  • Wednesday 4 PM-9 PM:  Increasing chance of rain with temperatures in the upper 40s
  • Wednesday 9 PM – 1 AM Thursday:  Rain likely changing to snow
  • Thursday 1 AM-6 AM:  Snow likely for two to five hours
Looking ahead to Christmas week:
Another storm is showing up for Christmas week.  The flow aloft is blocking up and an Arctic air mass is growing.  An Arctic blast is possible and a storm is likely going to form around Christmas Eve into Christmas Day just to our west and southwest and then slowly move our way.  There is a very high probability that a storm affects us next week, but the details are not clear at all at this point. The models have been showing all kinds of solutions, but they are all trending into a fairly big storm system.

Have a great day and thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading the Action Weather Blog. Let us know if you have any comments or questions.

Gary

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26 comments to Snow is likely Wednesday night!

  • kellyinkc

    hope we get some moisture.
    Christmas looks epic, LOL
    “http://www.twisterdata.com/index.php?prog=forecast&model=GFS&grid=3&model_yyyy=2012&model_mm=12&model_dd=18&model_init_hh=00&fhour=240&parameter=SNOWIN&level=SURFACE&unit=none&maximize=n&mode=singlemap&sounding=n&output=image&view=large&archive=false”

  • davidmcg

    I understand peoples enthusiasm for possible weather activity. But a week or more off in a deep drought? Especially in winter. Winter forecasting for snow is hard enough a couple of days out, but a week or more? That is putting far too much faith in a computer model that has such a low accuracy rate that it is more luck than anything else.

    • StormyWX

      Well they started predicting this storm too about a week or so out and look how it’s panned out.

      • yewtrees

        Not a week or so!!! This storm was first mentioned by George three days ago on Dec. 15 (….GFS forecasting model for Thursday morning at midnight. The front will likely pass KC dry i.e. without dropping any precipitation over the metro. )

  • kellyinkc

    why do you think I put “LOL”?
    Shoot, I dont buy the this weeks snow yet. Hope so, we need the moisture

  • creekwood1990

    Gary,. I am not to concerned about the snow, we do treatments on paved surfaces ommercially and am more concerned with the timing of the temperature drop with wind chills. With moisture available could there be enough to cause slick surfaces on pavement or with the temps being so warm wednesday is this going to be mainly just overpasses and bridges to be worried about? Thanks,

    • brad c

      Don’t worry CW. There will be 40+ posts of deep concern and worry over this event. Its winter and we have wintery precip…plan accordingly.

      Is it just me or has the weather service been very aggressive w/its % of precip chances in the long range forecast for some time now?

    • This is not necessarily true. The pavement temperature will drop very fast and our longest night of the year is Thursday night with winter beginning Friday. If it snows heavy enough with temperatures dropping into the 20s during the snow most area roads could get covered. But, there will also be a lot of wind which would cause blowing and drifting. Now, are we talking blowing and drifting of 1 to 2 inches or possibly more?

  • creekwood1990

    This would be in the Lawrence area and southward. Thanks

  • frigate

    I’m amazed with all the talk about accumulating snow, now if this were a normal year, I would be getting the snow shovel ready…but it seems most have forgotten we are in an Extreme Drought…to me, that factor should also be considered in forcasting about this storm that hasn’t even come into the US yet, all I’m hearing is alot of wishcasting.

  • creekwood1990

    Not so much as whether or not my vehicles are ready, its about whether or not to haul in thousands of dollars of salt this early in the season. Nothing I hate more than sitting on material. With the bad winter we had last year and the horrible summer we had, alot of lawn companies do not have the financial reserves we have had in the past. We do rely heavily on the forecast, we spend a considerable amount of money preparing for storms, it takes several days to make sure we are completely ready, just trying to minimize the damage.

  • davidmcg

    I just took my morning soil temp out here in the rural area of Jefferson County KS, currently the ground 6″ deep is 37.4°. It has been hovering in that range for a few days now. As the precip begins Wednesday afternoon here, that temp will drop pretty quick. As it changes over to snow, it will accumulate quickly on the pastures, gravel roads very quickly. But out here we have a threat that our city friends do not experience very often – drifting snow. A 6″ snow can easily produce 4′ snow drifts. Ever hit a 4′ snow drift? Not a pretty sight, especially if the vehicle is a newer mostly plastic lightweight vehicle. So out here, we generally are more concerned about winter weather than warm severe weather. We are watching this one very close. Positive note on this one, all the schools have Wednesday as their last school day for the year. Thursday mornings drive may prove interesting for some folks. Glad I have a heavy higher clearance vehicle. Also, Topeka NWS has moved their forecast to 3.4″ here in Jefferson County now with a 100% chance. Hopefully their belief of no ice will be a reality.

  • lsx347

    nws pleasant hill seems to think the higher totals will be up north with their new graphic

  • mgsports

    The Major Newspaper here is predicting 3 to 7 Inches of Snow. It’s a wait and see.

    • yewtrees

      Where is “here’? Lawrence, St. Joseph, KC or etc. A few miles north or south of I-70 could mean so much in terms of snow amount.

      • f00dl3

        The Star

        “http://www.kansascity.com/2012/12/18/3971287/first-winter-storm-expected-to.html”

        Note if you read on it says 1-3″ in the metro. Kind of misleading!!

  • Farmgirl

    Of course it is going to be windy with the snow. KC can never have a beautiful, gentle snow fall to enjoy. That is why I hate the snow here, it comes in a fury instead of a peaceful event.

  • smiley10

    Our Kansas City newspaper rubbed me the wrong way this morning. They have a big headline on its Web site saying Major Winter Storm Will Bring 3-7 Inches of Snow, but if you actually read the article it says KC will get 1-3 inches. Talk about misleading!And that’s how weather forecasters get a bad rap. People don’t take the time to read the article and assume KC is going to get 3-7 inches and when we don’t they want to bring out the torches and pitchforks. Okay, getting off my soapbox now… =)

  • Kole Christian

    Many Northland schools have school on Thursday and even Friday. Storm will be more of an impact for us.

  • ChiefsFan

    It sounds like the metro kc is gonna get a lot more than expected

  • f00dl3

    Looks like a metro wide dusting to 1.5″ event, isolated spots up to 2″ especially north of the river, but nothing more until you get north of the 435 loop. Low track looks locked in – all models have been constant with the snowfall for the past 24 hours or so. I dont expect much if any wobbling to occur at this point.

  • mattmaisch

    Well the models are staying pretty consistent today. The problem is, (for snow lovers) although the track is very favorable for Kansas City, the storm simply does not look as though it will have its act together until it is well off to the north and east of Kansas City. The storm would really need to strengthen and do so significantly earlier than is currently being forecasted for Kansas City to see anything more than an inch or two of snow at the most. There just aren’t quite enough ingredients in place for this storm to produce more than that in the KC metro, or at least as it currently appears.

    The Winter Storm Watches for counties close to the metro, such as Shawnee and Douglas on the Kansas side are a bit puzzling. The wind will certainly be a factor but snowfall amounts certainly will not warrant “watch” criteria. I would expect Winter Weather Advisories to replace the Winter Storm Watches that are currently in effect, but we shall see.

    Next week definitely has a chance to be a different story, but as always, we shall see.

    Matt

  • mban112

    I am an unabashed wishcaster. I want a lot of snow! bring it!

  • ChiefsFan

    It sounds like the metro kc is gonna get a lot mores snow than expected

    • mattmaisch

      Well, ChiefsFan, I like snow, so that would be good with me, but I’m not sure what is indicating that to you at this point. Not seeing it right now.

  • McCabe58

    New blog, chiefs you say that every year. Wishcasting isn’t going to change anything unfortunately :(