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The Great Kansas City Snow Drought

Good morning Weather2020 bloggers,

While New York City is about to get hit again this weekend with up to 5 inches of snow, Kansas City has had less than 5″ of snow the entire winter. The weather pattern is cycling as described by the LRC. In our winter forecast, made four months ago, we discussed one of the main features that would influence the pattern: The Ridge (Called a long term long-wave ridge). You can see it here from our winter forecast. On the second map you can see how it likely was the main reason why snowfall totals have been so low:

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If you are under this ridge, then there is not only a concern for a dry spring, but for a growing drought and a very hot summer ahead of us.
The snowfall totals under the ridge are way below average at all of these locations
Storm systems have been deflected and weakened by this big ridge and the cities north of the ridge have had most of the snow as the storm systems would go up and over, or break up as they moved through this huge feature
Sometimes these ridges are weak and hard to see. This years ridge has been quite obvious. Weather2020 began the discussion of its influences in November and the impacts continue as spring is approaching
Seasonal Snowfall:

  • Kansas City: 4.9″ (Average is 17.8″ by now)
  • Wichita, KS: 2.0″ (Average is 13.6″ by now)
  • Oklahoma City: 2.1″ (Average is 7.2″)
  • Omaha, NE: 11.4″ (Average is 23.5″)
  • Des Moines, IA: 13.3″ (Average is 31.5″)
  • St. Louis, MO: 3.1″ (Average is 16.5″)
  • Dodge City, KS: 5.0″ (Average 17.5″)
  • Denver, CO: 21.1″ (Average 32.3″)
  • Bismarck, ND: 71.1″ (Average 41.2″)
  • Joplin, MO: 2.5″ (Average is 16.5″)
  • Green Bay, WI: 51.5″ (Average is 46.0″)

Look at “the ridge” forming once again in the next two days:

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Now, compare this forecast map above valid Saturday to exactly 118 days ago (59 day cycle times 2):

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What do you think of this comparison? The incredible cycling weather pattern is consistent and this has happened while the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has changed phases from a growing weak La Niña to neutral conditions.

This ridge will lead to an 85% chance that there will be below to way below average rainfall and a growing drought, and it will also lead to that same 85% chance of a major heat wave this summer.

So, what is next? As discussed in yesterdays video, there will be three to four storm systems between now and April 1st that will track through the ridge. One or two of these may become strong, but the ridge will still affect these systems. Take a look at the latest European Model rainfall totals for the plains during the next ten days from Eurowx.com:

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 7.43.32 AM

The storm systems are also showing up on this model, but something went “wrong” with each system and they would move by dry in the KS/OK vicinity, but produce north and southeast of our area. Last year we would find the wettest models and they would sometimes verify. Until we see any of these systems produce, we have to lean in the drier direction.

Have a great Thursday and you can always join the Weather2020.com blog and get involved in our conversation about this cycling pattern and what it means for our spring and summer.

Gary

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