Some rain, a record breaking warm-up, a cold blast, & more!

Good morning bloggers,

A storm in Mexico is heading our way.  This storm will be producing tremendous rainfall amounts of 2 to 6 inches across parts of the deep south including Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana.  Take a look at this moisture laden system that is now moving north northeast towards the Texas/Mexico border:

The upper low will go through a major transition as it approaches Kansas City and ejects out. The big upper level low will become a fast moving upper low as it weakens during the day on Thursday. It will eventually get absorbed into the overall flow aloft and become just a shortwave moving into the Great Lakes and falling apart later in the week.

As this upper level low approaches North Texas, Kansas City will go into a good position for one nice band of rain to move in around sunrise tomorrow morning. The window of rainfall opportunity will open up for around three to six hours and then the dry slot will move in effectively shutting off any organized rainfall.  Before that happens, there is a brief opportunity for some heavy rain and possibly even a thunderstorm. This rainfall map on the left shows this mornings NAM rainfall forecast for this storm.  This model is maxing out at between 0.40″ and 0.50″ in our area early Thursday.  Other models have had lesser amounts.

After this storm moves by, a deep trough is forecast to dig into the western states and then swing out way.  A cold blast will be organizing over the northern plains with snow likely across the Dakota’s.  This cold front will arrive by early Saturday, but first we have a nice warm-up heading our way for Friday Night In The Big Town. Take a look at this surface forecast map for Friday:

A 992 mb surface low is a rather deep and strong surface cyclone developing over Colorado on this forecast map.  992 mb is equivalent to a pressure of 29.29″.  Can you imagine this set-up during the spring?  We are in a roughly 50 to 55 day cycle, according to the LRC, and this part of the pattern will be returning in early March, and around the last ten days of April. The April version of this years weather pattern will likely create a severe weather outbreak.  In this cycle, we just won’t have all of the ingredients coming together for severe weather, but we will have the ingredients coming together that will likely break some record high temperatures. Kansas City’s record high on Friday is 65° and we just may break it.  The cold front will move through early Saturday and then our attention moves to the base of the upper level trough that you can see on the next map.

The weather pattern is amplifying and energizing over the next few days.  This next map, on the left and you can click on it for a larger view, shows the 500 mb forecast valid Saturday morning.  The 500 mb level is up around 18,000 feet and this is half way through the atmosphere in weight. 0 mb is the top of the atmosphere as there is no weight above this level. And, 1000 mb is near the surface. We like looking at the 500 mb level to track storm systems and how they may impact other levels of the atmosphere, including what we experience at the surface.  This map shows a very deep trough forming over the western United States and there are many important features we are tracking for the next few days.

The bottom of the deep trough dropping south over Arizona, California, and Mexico has to be watched closely for how it turns the corner and lifts out into the plains states. And, the second wave in the Gulf of Alaska will be diving in and this has to be monitored closely for a possible storm early next week.

Let’s take a look at what the GFS is throwing out at us today:

This mornings GFS model takes the energy, that I showed on the previous map on the left, kicking out into the plains Saturday night.  Just like the New Year’s Eve storm, this is forecast to become stretched out and absorbed into the flow as it passes us by.  But, this is a bit different.  If it is a little stronger, then it will pull in a band of heavy precipitation into our viewing area.  This is a big forecast problem for us.  Take a look at the precipitation forecast by this same computer model:

If this is exactly right, which it won’t be, but if it were, there would be a six inch band of snow just south of Kansas City, and not even one snowflake on the north side of the city. Once again, that would be if this is exactly right.  If this is any weaker and more stretched out, then the entire viewing area would just have a cold blast, north winds and dry conditions. If it’s any stronger and more organized, even just slightly stronger, then the precipitation would be pulled farther north.

Obviously, we will be paying very close attention to this one. Right now we have a 20% chance in our forecast.  Let’s see what other models show. The NAM model, by the way, was a bit more stretched out and as a result had no precipitation in our viewing area.

Have a great Wednesday. We will go over the details of all of these weather changes on 41 Action News today and tonight.


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28 comments to Some rain, a record breaking warm-up, a cold blast, & more!

  • Emaw

    Gary, on Jan. 18 of last year you wrote, “the LRC supports bigger and stronger storms in the next 4 weeks” . How is that not very similar to what you wrote yesterday? Seems like the exact same time frame to me.

    • Emaw,

      Thank you for reminding me. We did have our only snow of the season during that four week stretch last year. And, last year the pattern was not nearly as energetic as this year’s pattern. We have been on a roll with our forecasts this year and my statement that I made yesterday, the one you are referring to, will end up verifying this year. I am highly confident!

      Now, I am still writing this long blog entry and I am going to get back to it. Have a great day.

  • Emaw

    Thanks for the response Gary, but I hope you’re wrong regarding the arctic air.

    • HeatMiser

      It’s hard to be wrong about an arctic blast. A storm, sure….but cold weather moving in is rarely wrong when it is forecast.

  • I hope we can get one BIG snow out of this upcoming outbreak.

    • Dobber

      That would be great!

    • There isn’t really any Arctic outbreak out of this cold spell coming our way. It will be a pretty good cold blast, however. I am expecting a stronger one in February.

      I just updated the blog. We have a very complex thing developing for the weekend. Go read the blog and I will address the questions later. Right now I am heading out to take the dogs for a walk.

  • udndcs

    Unfortunately, Friday’s welcome warmup will probably be accompanied by an obnoxious amount of wind. Wish we could have nice, warm winter days that we can actually enjoy instead of being blown away.

  • sedsinkc

    It would be great to have warm weather this time of year with little wind. Unfortunately, that is a rare occurrence. The usual way unseasonably warm air gets this far north in the middle of winter is for there to be strong low pressure to our west drawing it northward, and that means wind. In early December I remember we had a very mild day, in the 60s, with little wind. I think it was Dec. 2. My gf and I were walking along the trail in Parkville’s English Landing Park that afternoon and I remarked to her how unusual such a day was. Average wind speed that day at KCI for the entire 24 hours was 6.7 mph and the highest gust was 17 mph. By contrast, the next day Dec. 3 it reached 74 degrees and the avg. wind speed for the day was 17 with a high gust of 43 mph. That’s more typical for a warm winter day.

  • hushpook

    Seems like a very active weather pattern for the middle of winter. But we’ll
    take whatever moisture we can get.

  • R-Dub

    It’s been a while, but in past years we’ve seen quite a few storms that produce a heavy band just south of the city while the north side gets flurries or nothing. So that Saturday evening scenario from the GFS is not too shocking.

    What’s the Euro model saying? It has been pretty reliable this season.

    • mowermike


      The EURO is somewhat in line with the NAM, stretched out and nowhere near the viewing area. That was the over night run, I haven’t peaked at the afternoon run that should have come out already. I’ll take a look…

  • HeatMiser

    I’m tired of these weak snows and snows just missing us to the south or north. It’s pathetic. We need a nice big fat snowstorm to hit us dead on. This weak, little pud storm thing is pathetic. If old man winter were a person, I’d say something to him said often in gaming…”EPIC FAIL!!!!”.

  • mowermike


    My only suggestion to you might be moving(that’s if you want consistent big snows)…1-5 inch snows here in KC are about all we get. Yes, those (2) years in a row did produce big snows, but that was abnormal for this area. We get a big one every once in awhile, but most years don’t have too many 6″+ snows.

  • mowermike


    12Z GFS…………..

    • Skylar

      “Threading the needle” would be an understatement

      • Craig

        Very interesting snowfall chart. It does look like a needle!

        The only thing I have to add is this: It is this type of storm that needs to be watched. Typically, the storm that is forecast 7 days out to produce 12″+ turns out to be a non-deal. When a storm suddenly appears 72 hours out…well, then, you’ve likely got something.

        Looking forward to Saturday.

  • Kole Christian

    Come on snow! Just a little bit higher! If the NAM and EURO are thinking not much, I’d tend to think those two the GFS will come more in line. The GFS still seems like the best model and is fairly reliable if you look at its trends. That being said, it is always good to interpret a variety of models to get a better idea of the storm will most likely do. Also, it is really early still. That bulls eye could move up, or it could be a fantasy storm and end up way north or in the deep south like the Christmas Day storm did.

  • stjoeattorney

    how much snow in west ND and SD and MT…. as warm as it is shaded ground has frozen water puddles up here.

    Well .25-.50 is a start Jan is driest month 1.00 inches more or less up here so picking up .25-50 now is a good start to the new year mot a drought buster but we must start some place.

    our all time record low of -25 about 20 Jan set in 1974 an artic outbreak will not be able to get super cold because the days are growing longer.

  • Kcchamps


    latest NAM looks better for SNOW, it would still need o come further north but maybe it is the start of a trend?


    and here is the precip for the storm sunday

  • Kcchamps


    laest 00z NAM snow map

  • Kcchamps


    zoomed in 00z NAM snow map, for those interested :)

  • herk91

    Gary, Just out of my curiosity, have you published a paper and had your work concerning the LRC Peer reviewed?

  • Kcchamps


    latest 06z NAM snow map

  • Kcchamps

    latest 06z GFS looks better for some SNOW :)

  • Kcchamps


    latest 6z GFS snow map

  • R-Dub

    Talk about a struggle to produce rain….pathetic. So much for a decent band of rain around sunrise. NWS is saying the dry slot is filling in, though, so maybe we can get something later today.

  • Theo

    Pathetic is an understatement. Won’t even get a tenth in KC. Arctic blast? Hardly. Will barely be below average temps. Snow? Really? Really? Wishcasting at it’s best.