Precipitation Potential Increasing This Weekend

Good morning bloggers,

Another cold shot of air will be arriving later today, and then we can focus on a potential weekend storm system, and as you can see below, we are once again behind on precipitation to begin the year:


An Arctic high pressure area is moving south from Canada today.  Here is the surface forecast valid at noon today:


The latest data continues to trend towards a storm that will produce some rain Saturday night and Sunday. How much is still a big question. And, the freezing line will be lifting north through the viewing area. What may begin as freezing rain would quickly change to a cold rain with temperatures rising above freezing. We will have to monitor that freezing line closely. It is still three days away, so we have a lot of time for this to look a bit different.


The above map is from yesterday’s GFS model. Let’s see what it looks like today and we will go over the details on 41 Action News. Have a great day.


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38 comments to Precipitation Potential Increasing This Weekend

  • weatherman brad

    when I woke up this morning I got a interesting phone call from a friend that on vacation in mount Washington new Hampshire, anyway he told me that the temperature there is -35 with a dangerous wind chill reading of get this -82 degrees.

    at first I didnt believe him, but when I got off the phone I went straight to the weather channel app on my phone and looked up mount Washington new Hampshire. it turned out to be true so I was quite surprised about that this morning.

    I just had to tell all you bloggers and gary tha this morning, I not sure why but I just had a stinct feeling I should share that.

    have a great day.


  • R-Dub

    A steady cold rain, normally not much fun, sounds pretty good right now. Not too worried about ice; it could cause problems Sunday morning but it won’t stay below freezing for long.

    • I agree. Yeah, with warmer temps the next couple days, the ground should be warm enough to prevent any issues. Be nice to see a little snow stick Sunday morn, if it can dip cool enough. Either way, we need precip!!

      • R-Dub

        Not even thinking so much about ground temps as air temps. Freezing rain at 30-31 is not so bad, really. Problems mainly happen when the temps are in the 20s so the rain freezes harder to the ground/trees/power lines etc. Plus, the cold air mass will get overwhelmed pretty quickly by the warm advection changing it to rain.

        Is there even any chance of snow with this? I don’t think the column will be cold enough.

        • Yeah, there likely won’t be any power line issues, etc. Too warm. Snow would be my wishful thinking. But it will be close. lol It will likely be too warm in the lower air, for any flakes to fly. :/

  • sedsinkc

    Here’s data directly from the Mt. Washington Observatory at the summit, where it’s now -35, wind WNW at 68 mph, wind chill -86 as of 9 a.m. EST. “http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/conditions.php”

  • ChiefsFan

    I have a feeling this will be an icing event, maybe a ice storm, don’t like the looks of this storm at all!

  • dogsinkc

    Ah yes – rain. That’s what I want during winter.

  • Emaw

    Exactly, rain in January is awesome!


    I think in an inverse of most storms I have experienced we will see snow turn to sleet turn to rain as the day progresses. The freezing line on the latest run stayed a little farther south longer than previous run. Regardless, I think we will get some decent precip from this system and hopefully make a dent in our deficit

    • R-Dub

      If by “we” you mean people in northern Missouri, yeah…I think Trenton north may get to see snow before it changes to rain.

  • Theo

    Ice? Maybe Iowa/Missouri border. Not here. Any rain is most welcome, but doesn’t look like much. Next week’s storm is trending north. Looks like we will be disappointed here (but not surprised). When in a drought, leave it out.

  • mowermike

    Snow would be much better now then rain as far as getting good moisture to the subsoil and preparing it for the growing season. Frost line in the soil is a problem now with recent cold air directly to the soil top. .50 inches of rain will not absorb all the way.

  • rred95

    Rain on top of frozen soil doent do much good for soil. But would help farm ponds and such. So next weeks storm not looking to good now for snow in kc? what a shock. Want snow but prepared for more “let downs”.

  • Emaw

    So what I’m hearing is that an inch or two of wind driven snow (which is what we usually get when it does happen to snow) is better than say .50″ or so of rain? I disagree, I can pretty easily sink a shovel into the ground pretty much anywhere in my yard that has exposure to sunlight, even the north and east side once you get past the first couple of inches. Rainfall is what’s going to eventually break this drought not snow. Just my 2 cents.

    • R-Dub

      To compare apples to apples, you’d want to consider 5-6″ of snow vs. 0.5″ of rain. It was just 2 years ago that 5-6″ of snow didn’t seem that absurd.

      And really, nothing that falls in Jan or Feb is going to be a drought-buster. Or even a drought-easer.

    • mowermike


      “I can pretty easily sink a shovel into the ground pretty much anywhere in my yard that has exposure to sunlight, even the north and east side once you get past the first couple of inches”

      That’s the issue, the first couple of inches. It’s rock hard, believe me, my crews can’t even pull in lateral lines for irrigation installs right now. Too much resistance. Our builders can’t get finish grades done due to frost line, which is holding us up also. We have measured frost lines 4-5 inches deep in Clay and Platte counties. Just yesterday, we couldn’t pull lines in down in Jackson county.

      I was saying that a slow melting dense snow pack would be better then a half inch of rain in 6 hours.(1-2 inches of powdery snow, no good) That’s a fact. Sure, snow will not make up deficits, but it would be a better moisture release into the soil given the current conditions of the soil.

  • Theo

    Emaw: Agree 100%.

  • ChiefsFan

    That freezing line is awful close, and with rain

    • R-Dub

      Yeah, but you don’t get bad ice storms when the freezing line is awful close. You get them when it’s way far south of you…and stays far south of you for a while.

      Minor icing is really the worst-case scenario here.


    Imagine an arid soil, such as the desert, poring rain water onto that soil does nothing to it, just evaporates off. Now you put steady moisture source such as snow down on that soil and it seeps in slowly the dirt turns to mud and reaches farther down in… Case in point the recent snow storms in Jordan caused the water table to rise .08 inches in that semi-arid country. Basically when people say snow better than rain in winter it’s due to the soil temperature more than just the one side of a yard. We are talking many counties wide. Yes with snow you get evaporation more so than rain but with rain you get more runoff. The basic point is that in a temperate climate you expect seasonal moisture and te ground is designed for that seasonal moisture based on temps, soil and air… We need moisture of any kind right now, but if we are to escape this drought we need a return to seasonal averages of each moisture type.

  • nobodyspecial

    Longtime reader, first-time poster here.

    As of last night at 6, one of the Other Stations was including a chance (40%) of freezing rain for tomorrow night, yet I see no mention of it on this blog at all. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t give it a great deal of thought, but I have plans tomorrow night involving a drive to Lawrence and I am really confused. Thoughts? Thanks!

  • mgsports

    Ice Storm would just get Chiefs in on Saturday.

  • cweb

    Rain???? Really???? Wow, not a suprise.

  • mgsports

    No meaning Gary and others would come in.

  • Theo

    “Snow would be much better now then rain as far as getting good moisture to the subsoil and preparing it for the growing season.”

    Just how much snow are you talking?

    Some of you are grossly missing the overall point. You would need a “dense snow pack” of 100’s of inches (100 to dent the drought, 300 to cure it. And that’s at a generous 10:1 ratio. That oughta put it in perspective!

    Rain would at least run into the foot-deep cracks and fill streams, ponds and lakes, like rred95 said earlier, so I completely disagree with the “snow” assessment.

    “I was saying that a slow melting dense snow pack would be better then a half inch of rain in 6 hours.” I’d love to see the physics that would prove that out!

    Yeah, if we had a 100 inch snowpack! Not that much will run off if it rains at a rate of 1/2 inch in 6 hours time.

  • Emaw

    Theo : Agree 100%

  • mowermike

    Physics aren’t hard at all…its rather simple, a slow release of moisture into the soil is much better then a quick one. A snow melt is over time, a rainfall is immediate. Given some soil conditions now,(drought soil and frozen soil)a slower release is much better. I’m not saying it’s the same amount of moisture, I’m saying it serves the purpose of moistening the soil better/deeper, which we desperately need right now prior to the growing season.

    maybe this example would help: Over the summer, it was important(still important now) to water tender new plants and trees, along with foundations and so forth. A slow drip of water(snow melt) to the base of the plant or tree is much better then turning the pressure of the water release way up. It would just run off and likely not absorb nearly as much as a consistent release.(snow melt)

    I’m not talking about either method of moisture breaking the drought, I’m talking about what’s best for the soil right now. A half inch of rain isn’t going to fill ponds and lakes.

    We have to start somewhere, by getting moisture deeper into the subsoil is most important right now. Raining on a frozen or drought soil will not get the subsoil moist right now. A 6 inch snow pack melting over time would better serve the soil right now. Ask any farmer right now, I think given the conditions, they would love to have more subsoil moisture then surface moisture. That subsoil moisture only comes from over saturation of the topsoil. Right now, that topsoil is hard from the cold weather and the lack of consistent moisture. It’s not hard to figure out that a slower release of moisture(snow melt) would help aid the recovery of the water table of our current soil conditions.

    Now, should we warm up and stay warm, eliminate the drought/frozen condition of the soil, then yes, .50 inches of rain would help the recovery of the moisture in the soil, but we would need multiple .50 inch rain amounts to follow to reach the slow release of a snow pack. A slow deep watering is the best method and a 6″ snow base melting over a week’s time is better than .50 inches of rain on Sunday.(remember, given the soil conditions now, a slow release would be much better then all at once)

    • jlspecker86

      I’m Going to have to agree with mowermike on this one, the melting of snow and ice is Mother Nature’s version of a soaker hose.

  • mowermike

    Alright you two, do this on your way home from work today. This should prove my point.

    Buy to bags of Ice, take both home and put one bag of ice in a 5-gallon bucket, put it somewhere that is warm enough to melt the ice. Put the other ice bag in the freezer. Take a 2nd 5-gallon bucket and match the amount of water in the bucket that was once ice. Pour the ice bucket(which is water now)out.

    Go outside, find 2 areas of open ground where conditions are either frozen or dry, shouldn’t be hard to find:(it’s best to do it on open dirt areas) Most areas should be equal in moisture depth. Pour the water bucket onto the soil,(you can slowly do this so it doesn’t quickly splash and run. Empty out the ice bag in a totally different area away from where you poured the water bucket. It’s going to take some time for the ice to melt obviously, but when it does, let me know which area is wetter and how much deeper it is wetter.

    You must do this quickly or you will have to wait for another dry period should the rains pan out this weekend.

    I promise you the ice area will melt deeper. Your water area will be dry within a few sunny days. I have performed this method to prove a point a few years back. The ice WILL melt deeper.

    • sedsinkc

      Mike, I completely agree with your argument that slow-melting snow is better for soil moisture at this time than rain. However, getting some rain that runs off would be helpful to cattle ranchers by increasing water storage in depleted ponds and stock tanks. Best case scenario would be to get both rain and snow in the next month before spring begins.

      Latest GFS is taking Sunday’s rain and shifting most of it to our north and east. Not surprised.

  • Emaw

    I don’t think either one of us is arguing the point that a slow soaking from a melting snow pack wouldn’t be beneficial, the problem is you need it to snow first, and that’s not going to happen anytime soon. Not to mention the amount of snow you would need to make a dent in this drought is unrealistic for this area (average snowfall is around 18-20″ per winter, not happening) We have about 5 weeks of winter left, ideally to start putting a real dent in this drought we need it to warm up so the ground does completely thaw and have spring rains come early, in March, unfortunately I don’t see that happening either. Like Theo has stated before it’s going to take a couple years or so to really climb out of this.


    I think everyone is arguing the same point. We need moisture and lots of it. Year or so to come out of drought but any moisture right now will be helpful as we enter spring. I agree that right now given the conditions snow on the ground for a week would be more helpful to start the spring than a rain would. Ponds and storage tanks would take a substantial rainy season to fill. Snow won’t fill those ponds but could set up the crops for a better start. So it’s win lose right now depending what your stake in the game is.

  • kellyinkc

    I just want any form of moisture at this point. Its so dry.
    I find this a good read.

  • Kcchamps


    latest GFS snow forecast for 31st-1st