Snow May Be Hours Away, But There Are Still Big Questions

Good Saturday morning bloggers,

The National Weather Service has placed us in a Winter Weather Advisory as you can see below.  We are going to be on the northwestern edge of this storm system.  Where will the snow cut-off line be?

We have been monitoring, and trying to make an accurate forecast for this storm system all week long.  I have discussed how just a slightly more negatively tilted trough aloft would pull the moisture into the colder air.  Let’s take a look at one of the models, the RUC model, that came out at 5 AM:

Now, this RUC model comes out every hour and we will be getting a new model run quite often today.  The latest NAM model had the northwest cut-off line farther southeast, but I don’t have much confidence in this latest solution. On the left, you can see the RUC model 3 hour total precipitation ending at 5 PM; notice how there is one thin band of precipitation that forms over the south KC metro area, but it is an isolated area.

This second forecast map shows the precipitation total ending at 8 PM and the KC metro area is the northwest cut-off line.  This model would indicate that a rather strong band of moderate snow, possibly a few heavy pockets of snow forming just south of KC.

Here, on the left, is the forecast for the three hours ending at 11 PM. At this time a larger area of snow tried to fall over a larger area of our viewing area.  Anyway you look at this we are on the northwestern edge of this system.

Jeff Penner is showing a snowfall forecast chart that we made around 7 AM this morning.  The NAM model that came out put up a red flag on this forecast. It had a farther south solution, but we still think this snowfall forecast is possible. When you are on the northwestern edge, just the slightest change could take you out of the storm.

Right now, I don’t really have a gut instinct on this storm. I will wait a few more hours and see how this is really coming together. I just looked at, and analyzed the enhanced watervapor satellite loop. There is a wave moving our way, located just east of the New Mexico/Texas state line at 8:45 AM.  But, anyway I look at this, we are on the edge of this storm.

Have a great Saturday! It will be interesting, and hopefully not frustrating, tracking this storm system today.  I will update the blog this afternoon as we gather more information.



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61 comments to Snow May Be Hours Away, But There Are Still Big Questions

  • Cacti51

    Bring on the Snow!

  • Weatherfreak01

    About an hour ago the NWS in Pleasant Hill posted on Facebook a “map” that shows KC metro area getting around 2-3″ of snow. But the map also shows that we are barely in the 2-3″ area. I agree with Gary, we will have to watch and see what it does..

  • Craig

    G-man: Don’t worry about it too much. Days like today are fun…especially when its a weekend. Relax and let’s see how it plays out.

  • HeatMiser

    I think the lesson is we don’t have the technology to forecast snow sometimes and this is one of those cases. We will get 0-3 inches. Beyond that, we have no freakin’ clue what will happen.

  • kellyinkc

    here is the current NWS radar

  • rred95

    If you want snow just count on this being more frustrating than interesting, just the way things have been going here weather wise.

  • KUweatherman

    Sure is quite a bit of precip already showing on the radar. At this rate, we’ll be seeing some type of wintery precip before the WWA even starts.

  • HeatMiser

    yeah, and even if we get snow it wont be much…hard to get too excited either way. I want a real snowstorm, not this piddly stuff.

  • pkhartz

    I think we all have to learn to go with the flow of life and I too appreciate that my GREAT love of snow is met with scowls from those who battle it. But we’ve had so little and its the weekend…perhaps a bit easier to settle in and enjoy some beauty. So I’m with you Gary…bring on the snow…keep it coming our way. The farmers in our county need moisture…irrigation ponds are empty. Let the heavens open up and let it fall!!!!! And its a bonus if it happens during daylight when we can really enjoy it.

  • kuweatherman, I see all the precip on radar too but is that stuff not reaching the ground?

  • Skylar

    I see that the GFS is not following the NAM on the 12z run. :)

  • sedsinkc

    Latest (12z) NAM shifts the snow mainly SE of Kansas City once again, shows KC getting less than .10 melted precip. Here is the newest data that came out for 48 hour total precip ending 6 a.m. Monday.

    Compare to the 54 hour total precip map from last (06z) run that also ends at 6 a.m. Monday.

    Not the trend snow lovers want to see.

  • sedsinkc

    For comparison, here is the new GFS (12z) run showing total 48 hour precip ending at 6 a.m. Monday.

    The new GFS data shows a lessening of snowfall here compared to last run, as the NAM did. Here is the 54 hour total precip map from the 06z GFS ending 6 a.m. Monday.

    Bottom line: KC snow lovers should not get too excited about tonight’s snowfall potential unless you live SE of Kansas City and even there it is not going to be a big storm.

    Have a great day everyone.

  • stl78

    Not buying the nam…..il predict 2.5 at my local 435 and ne cookingham

  • weather.com has just posted this statement…Light to moderate snow will develop around 11am


  • ctinaditty

    In Greenwood, we had some light sleet falling.

  • ctinaditty

    And boy, the sky sure looks like snow!

  • plowboy87

    In oak grove sleet falling.

  • luvmygsp

    Help. I can’t read these maps. How much does Lansing/Leavenworth expect to get?? THANK YOU ALL.

    • RickMckc

      The NWS grid shows Lansing at 1.5″ … since you are even further west, your amounts will likely be lower than everyone else’s – assuming the current forecast is accurate.

  • yes rick sorry I was reading the forecast for my area, Olathe…but its about the same for the entire metro area, only has it moving in at 12 instead of 11 for points further north than Olathe. Regardless..it ‘seems’ to be happening quicker..wondering how much will stick before evening

  • RickMckc

    NWS “grid” has 2″ forecast for my backyard near I-29 & 64th. I’ll be shocked if I get anywhere near this amount.


  • Jacob Honeycutt

    By looking at how this is shapping up and based on looking at the new NAM and GFS, I believe that its going to go farther south. I have a hard time trusting the RUC on this one. This storm is not very strong to begin with. And if you look at the past 2 snows we have had, they have gone farther south than forecasted by the models. A 20-50 mile shift is huge for this storm. Its wishful thinking for this to move far enough north to put KC in the heaviest band. I believe based on what the data is showing right now, that KC will likely land up with an inch. If you live north of the Weston area, a dusting is probably all you’ll get. Maybe a half inch. Looking at Jeff’s forecast, I believe forecast #2 will win out over number 1. If it shifts farther north, we will be able to tell after it gets started. But going off the new data and using the history of just the last 2 snows we’ve had this year, I favor the southen track. We will have to see what it looks like early this afternoon.

  • mattmaisch

    Well, the 14Z RAP looked pretty good. 15Z rolling out now. Hopefully it will show a similar solution.

    • RickMckc

      Hey, Matt, would you mind posting a link?

      • mattmaisch

        Hi Rick,

        No Problem. Here are two maps. The first is the snowfall map as depicted by the 14Z RAP and the 2nd is the same map as depicted by the 15Z RAP which is the newest run. I think I liked the first one better!! At least we only have to wait an hour for another look at it.



  • Skylar

    Farther south does make sense, but NAM and GFS are a little less reliable for a short term event like this, and the RAP is the only one showing the snow forming earlier in the day.

  • HeatMiser

    All guesses…nobody knows.

  • ChiefsFan

    Is this a fast moving storm,cause some are saying it could move out by 10:00

  • Jacob Honeycutt

    Even the latest RAP has weakend. This is the trend and the forecasts need to start showing it. Again, if you watched 41 Action News this morning, Jeff showed 2 forecasts. Forecast number 2 will likely win out. That showed the 2″+ being well off to the south and east.

  • Skylar

    16z RAP brings some of the heavier precipitation back north that was south of KC on the 15z run.


  • McCabe58

    1-2″ is better than 0″ though. Ill be surprised just to see a dusting honestly because we really were never forecasted to get any accumulation until yesterday

    • The radar echoes, the satellite pictures, the RUC model trends, etc. are all pointing to snow. I believe there will be one rather concentrated area that experiences much more than other locations. This area will likely be rather narrow, about 25 miles wide or so. Where will it line up? Areas south and north of this band will get less and there will be cut off lines. This is not an easy storm, but it is fun to watch. We will learn a lot more in the next three to four hours. I will update the blog with a new entry later this afternoon. 2 to 4 inches will be possible in the concentrated band.

  • kellyinkc

    sun is trying to shine in Raytown. NWS in Springfield shows this.

  • Jacob Honeycutt


    17Z continues with a south track and little snow for KC area.

  • Skylar

    Looks like the first band of snow is about to push into the metro. RAP has been basically showing the same thing for several runs except shifting back north and south with each run. Gary’s map seems looks really good based on radar trends.

  • cilkman

    Ok- since this snow event will be a bust like the last one, which will happen first this year?? A flash flood watch for the KC area or a Tornado warning in the KC area??

  • f00dl3

    Why are we still using models in a pure now-casting situation? Radar shows this nicely – areas along and south of I-35 will probably pick up maybe an half-inch or so if lucky. Areas north of I-35 won’t see much anything. To get an inch you would have to go further south.

    This initial band of snow trying to fall right now is encountering a lot of dry air. Temperature 29 dewpoint 16 in overland park.

    I honestly wouldn’t be stunned if it all stays in the clouds.

    • Jacob Honeycutt

      I agree. Its just not coming together for anything significant or minor really. Yes, we will probably see some snow. But honestly, it wont be much. If you live north of KC, dont expect much of anything. Gary is saying 2-4″ in some spots. IF that happens it will be well off to the south and east of KC. The air is too dry and the storm is not strong enough and its too far south to really affect KC.

  • Skylar

    Models can help a little bit still. New 18z RAP is further north again with a band of heavier precip over the southeastern metro. This isn’t total accumulated moisture, BTW: “http://mag.ncep.noaa.gov/ruc/18/ruc_namer_009_precip_p01.gif” f00dl3 is right about the nowcasting thing though, a computer isn’t going to pick up on differences that small with any degree of reliability.

  • Skylar

    Light snow at 135th & Metcalf

  • ChiefsFan

    Was it suppose to start this early??

  • McCabe58

    Thanks for your guess Jacob, we shall see how this plays out soon enough!

  • jgbrazil

    Hey, having come from two yrs of living in a tropical climate, I’m just excited to be talking about snow! I can totally relate to why Gary gets so excited about snow. I’m just happy to be talking about the CHANCE of snow. Here’s to hoping!

  • RickMckc

    If you look at the Topeka NWS radar it looks like there ought to be moderate/heavy snow falling over KC right now. The precip just isn’t making it to the ground because it is so dry. Bookbinder at Pleasant Hill NWS commented on the dryness both above and below the disturbance.

    It’s just so hard to get any sort of precip these days – even when it’s right over top of you.

  • thomasmidwest

    Jgbrazil I agree im from corpus Christi tx where we never get snow so any snow talk is fun

  • ChiefsFan

    Metro kc is gonna get hit with the most snow

  • Skylar

    EAX just posted this on Facebook: “https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=443744665680182&set=a.129569323764386.26179.126747474046571&type=1&theater”

    Also I think their radar is doing a good job, as soon as the snow moved back over me it began snowing again where I’m at. It’s coming down pretty light right now.

  • mamaof3girls

    I would love a birthday snow. Hope that Pleasanton bullseye happens, yay me!!! :)

  • madnick44

    Happy birthday Mamof3girls… It’s my birthday as well. A little birthday snow would be great..last time I smoked a pork shoulder a couple of weeks ago it snowed I’m doing ribs today…maybe good luck for snow…

  • overlandpark4me

    We aren’t getting a thing. Should have stuck with the original flurries forecast. Good, now the snow removal companies deployed and got screwed.BTW, advisory CANCELLED