Our Frustrating Weather
Another December day, and another day with highs above average. So what else is new. Yesterday saw for the first time in our KC weather record history the 1st 5 days of December all being 60° or above. When the models came in last night, any hopes for significant precipitation (not that I was thinking it would happen) pretty much went down the tubes for another period of time (5-7 days at least) and so the drought continues. We’re now some 19.6″ below average, going back to April 1st. That is really amazing. And while this won’t be the driest year ever, if things keep up for the next few weeks, it should easily be the in the top 4. We’ve had 20.94″ of moisture in 2012. If the year ended today, we’d be #3 for dryness, trailing only 1934 and 36. The next hurdle is 1988 with 24.22″. That’s 3+” away from where we are today…seems like a long shot to me.
I talked to several people yesterday wanting to know when something would happen around here. I offered the glimmer of hope, albeit only a glimmer, that a stormier pattern seemed to be trying to set up, but still something wasn’t looking right in the world of weather to me. It’s now gotten to the point that people, even if they dislike snow and all the hassles associated with it, are starting to say out loud, that they wouldn’t even mind getting snow IF it would help out the drought situation. You know it’s bad when the snow-haters of the world actually want the moisture from the snow.
Sadly there is not much I see this AM that will help the cause. Could there be some sort of light event later Saturday night and Sunday AM…sure but the odds for anything appreciable are slim. Here is the latest NAM plot showing the potential precipitation totals.
Even if this is right, and odds favor it’s exaggerated, our totals would be under 1/4″, and perhaps well under that. There could be some snow towards the tail end of whatever happens, but the drier air will be rushing in so fast that precip would probably be shutting down rather quickly. Remember, even though this is the 2nd driest month on average for us, we average about 4/10″ of moisture per week. So even IF this would verify, even IF we got 1/4″ out of this, compared to what we haven’t received for days, it still would be of little help.
We need storms, we need BIG storms, we need big rains first and then decent accumulating snows afterwards that slowly melt back into the soil. The 6Z GFS that I looked at was cranking out a whooping .56″ of moisture for KCI over the next 16 DAYS!. The vast majority tied to a phantom storm around the 19th of the month…some 13 days away. The EURO sort of freaked out a bit towards the last few days of it’s run. The thing is, there are suggestions in the models that we could have disturbances moving through, but the problem seems to be getting moisture around here, to help create additional precipitation.
Meanwhile, we’ll just have to sit back and watch the winter version of the drought continue to fester away. I have noticed more than a few people/businesses/golf courses running their sprinklers which seems unusual to me given that we’re in December. The ground is drying back out again after our fall “rains” if you want to call it that.
We’ve had decent rains in early September, mid October and on November 11th, it seems about once a month we get something and that’s it…and now we’re barreling into the driest part of the year, through the end of January (on average).
Lots of clouds streaking through the skies today, will put a check on highs, and I’d be mildly surprised if we can get into the upper 50s today. Despite south winds, cloud cover this year is a killer, and while AM lows were in the lower 40s, highs today will “struggle” but still be some 10-15° above average. Oh and by the way, through yesterday we’re running more than 18° above average for the month.
Here is the forecast map for Sunday AM, showing the cold front entering the area. Remember that off to the west of the area there is no snowcover. This shot of chilly air, is, by December standards, really not unusual at all, and while we may be below average for a couple of days, the fast progression of these airmasses combined with a lack of snowcover through the Plains states will allow things to moderate by Tuesday.
Speaking of snowcover…only 6% of the country is under some snow today, last year at this time…some 38.6% of the continental US was snowcovered..Now to be fair, snowcover can vary greatly during early December and one storm can make a HUGE difference in those numbers, but still…my goodness what a difference in snowcover this season so far. As a matter of fact, our records only go back to 2003…but it is BY FAR the least amount of snow on the ground since then.
I’ve blogged about this before, but what this means, until the snow fields build up, is that the cold airmasses that move in are allowed to warm somewhat over the snowless ground. IF there was snow on the ground, these airmasses would refrigerate even more and be colder when they moved into our area.