What Happened & What’s Next?

Good morning bloggers,

Well, let’s be realistic and honest here. And, most of you know I don’t hold back, and I share with you just about everything, if you ask.  Yesterday was not good for meteorologists in Kansas City.  I am a bit surprised at the lack of snow, but the warning signs were there.  Just look at the titles of the last few blog entries.

February Blog Titles:

  • Kansas City In A Snow Hole
  • Try Not To Get To Excited About Snow Yet
  • The Snow Struggle Continues
  • Three & Out, Punt
  • The Trend Is Up On Super Bowl Sunday
  • Will Tuesday’s Storm Hit Or Miss?
  • Snow Chances & Models
  • The Accurate Forecast From 5 Days Ago: We Will Likely Be Missed By Tuesday’s Storm

These are all of the blog titles in February thus far.  I think they say a lot.  It’s not like we were really expecting to get hit hard, and there was a way to forecast this storm better, no doubt about it.  But, we still did not get it right. Forecasting a dusting to 2″ of snow is like forecasting if it is going to sprinkle or have light rain for an hour or two during the spring. If it rains, then perception will be that we got it right.  If it snows, then the perception goes to did we also get the amounts accurate as well, which is a challenge for any precipitation forecast.  Either way, we still did not get this right.  As discussed multiple times, including big time in that video, the storm just needed to be a bit different, tilted a bit less positively, and just a bit stronger. It wasn’t, and the KC metro ended up with the short end of the snow stick.  No excuses, my forecast was not good at all yesterday.  The negative Nancy’s out there say such horrible things, as if we never, ever get a forecast right. When we forecast snow, and it snows, guess what? That is an accurate forecast. Forecasting the exact amounts is where snow becomes more glaringly difficult to forecast.  We have done quite well in the past few years, but this one went bad as not even a dusting happened. But, this has been a very rare occurrence.

The forecast was blown for KC. Even my dusting to one inch of snow forecast didn’t happen. My “slam dunk” of at least a dusting forecast failed.  On my way home it snowed last night, yes I experienced ONE snow shower from this storm. This came after the perception of a missed forecast on Sunday.  Believe it or not, our team forecasted Sunday’s storm better than everyone else. All last week we thought it may snow last Sunday and it did. Did I expect a blizzard for 1 hour with nearly 3″ over the south metro area, no way.  But, it did snow, and if you forecast snow and it snows, then the forecast is accurate. But, when it comes to forecasting amounts, well good luck. And, other forecasts were much worse than ours on Sunday and yesterday, so there is a buzz around town that we are wrong often. It is the landscape we have to deal with, but we will get over it.  Yesterday was not a good day, this has not been a good week, and now we have more of this weather pattern to forecast as another system is already showing up. Will it make us look like fools again?

I have a lot of pride and passion in trying to change the perception of meteorologists, the perception from many who think the weather can’t be predicted accurately. I have spent my entire career trying to change this perception.  The battle continues, and I hate getting thrown in with all of the other forecasts, when more often than not (Not always) Weather2020 and KSHB have the best, most accurate, and most specific forecast.  We took a hit, but we have had much worse forecasts in the past, it has just been a while since one was this glaringly inaccurate.  I should have stuck to my first impression of this storm five days before.  I didn’t.

So, what is next? Another chance of snow is already in the forecast, but are we going to believe any of the models that predict anything significant for KC?  Take a look at this next storm, this upper level, 500 mb forecast map valid on the day we are supposedly going to have our next chance of snow.

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 5.58.25 AMBefore we get to our next chance of snow near KC, take a look at what is forecast to happen today. Can you believe this? Of course we can, as this is what happens to storm systems after they pass our area this year.  The same storm that pulled off making fools out of meteorologists in Kansas City is now targeting the northeastern states. My goodness I would love to forecast this. The meteorologists over the northeast have their own set of challenges.  But, instead of trying forecast a dusting or an inch or two of snow, they get to forecast whether or not it will be five inches or a foot of snow.  Forecasting a dusting is like forecasting if it is going to sprinkle outside.  Think about that, ridiculous what we have had in our bag of forecasting opportunities in KC, while in other parts of the nation they get to deal with this storm to forecast, the same one that did not get its act together over our area yesterday.  After this system exits the focus then shifts back to the plains, but what is it we are really looking at with this pattern that continues to cycle regularly.

The developing weekend weather pattern:

500 mb flow valid Saturday:


Where is the storm? Seriously, where is it?  Here we go again, a very disorganized pattern with a trough severely positively tilted from Hudson Bay in Canada extending west-southwest to Portland, OR.  I pointed out to Jeff Penner and our team a few weeks ago where this feature is one of the long-term long wave features, one of the anchor troughs that is causing our “problem” in KC. And, here it is again, for around the 15th time this season. There was one of these stretched out troughs that helped us miss a storm in December that did hit the deep south with snow.  What is going to happen this time?

Surface forecast valid Saturday morning:


Oh no, seriously? We have an area of precipitation forecast to be located from southeast Arkansas to Florida, and another one entering northwest Missouri Saturday morning extending northwest into Nebraska.  This GFS model also produces snow in KC in the next 12 hours, but is it to be believed?  There is always one model that has no snow. They just won’t converge on a snowy solution near KC.  In this last storm it was the NAM model that not one time had any snow forecast for KC, and yet I ignored that model. WHY? Well, take a look at the one model that shows the miss this time.

European Model Forecast For Snow Ending Sunday Morning:

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 5.57.12 AM

The other models have snowier solutions, but again are we to believe it? Even if the models come out this morning with snow, are we to believe it? I say no, and we will not until I can see a good reason for it to happen.  There is a good reason for this not to happen right now.  That stretched out trough is a problem. Let’s discuss the trends in the comments on the Weather2020 blog.

Kansas City Weather Timeline:

  • Today:  Mostly sunny. High: 28°
  • Tonight:  Clear and cold.  Low: 15°
  • Thursday:  Sunny and much warmer.  High: 48°
  • Friday: Increasing clouds. Much colder again with the winds increasing from the north at 5-15 mph. High:  32°
  • Saturday:  Cloudy with a chance of snow.  High:  22°

Have a great day and thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading the Action Weather Blog featuring Weather2020 and the LRC.


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2 comments to What Happened & What’s Next?

  • yourmom

    I’m just glad to have some idea of what might happen in weather. Also glad to not have to run back and forth to drop a kid off to Barstow school anymore,

  • snowdayhope

    Thank-you Gary for being so honest and passionate about your profession. Yesterday was disappointing but, as you said, it comes with the territory that is meteorology. I admire the work you do and have come to the conclusion that KC metro is just in a snow slump and no matter how much we wish for it, and keep our fingers crossed for the models that suggest 5+ inches, it is simply out of our control. So we need to dust ourselves (and our cars) off and keep it moving. Just know there are many out there who appreciate what you and the weather team do!