What A Storm!

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12AM Update…

I really have no changes to MY thinking below…snow is starting to fall now in central KS. Wichita has made the switch and this will progress eastwards through the early AM hours. The radar may look unimpressive for a few hours…again the key time for us is 5AM-9AM or so as the whole thing re-intensifies on top of us. I continue to expect that scenario to play out as I’ve written about. Should the snow to our west lose it’s intensity/coverage then tomorrow AM will be blustery with scattered snow showers. My thoughts are that will not happen as I’ve talked about all day long. Here is the surface map from 11:45…I’ve underlined the snow reports of interest on the KS side. Click on that image to make it larger.


Sedalia is reporting 53° while St Joe has 35° as of the midnight hour.. KCI also reported .44″ of rainfall! Downtown had .37″ while Lees Summit reported .03″. Gardner had .34″ and Olathe had .16″. So at least some areas did OK with the rainfall since 6PM.

Now back to the previous blog++++++++

From dust storms in west Texas to thundersnows in progress across parts of NE/IA as I type this to the risk of severe weather in parts of the south…to a blizzard with close to 150 miles of I-70 are closed already in KS alone, and parts of I-80 aren’t doing any better either…this storm is impressive. I’ll focus on our weather later in the blog but I first wanted to share with you a look at the dust from a couple of viewpoints in west Texas in the Lubbock area. First from the ground, around Texas Tech. Now from the air in a 737 plane above the duststorm.

Photo courtesy @Chris_Manno.

Meanwhile in Amarillo right now, they’re reporting dust and snow. That’s pretty impressive. In NE though and parts of W KS, it’s all snow and combined with winds of close to 40 MPH in gusts is creating whiteout conditions out there, hence the closing of I-70 from Hays westwards.towards Denver.

On the warm side of the storm, as moisture surges northwards, severe weather is possible for parts of the south, including far southern MO. Here is the latest Tornado Watch that’s been issued for that area.

So the storm has a lot of things going with it. In Dalhart, TX today it was 28°…meanwhile it was 88° in Laredo and McAllen hit 89° for a record high.

My goodness this is an old fashioned storm. You can see the whole system spinning through the Plains tonight by looking at regional radar. The KEY to our forecast is the snow on the backside of the storm and how it moves through the area from west to east with the timing still in the 3-4AM-10-11AM window. The next key is how well it holds together. I do expect to see a weakening trend through early tomorrow AM and then a redevelopment of the band of snow as it moves into the KC vicinity. The timing of the snow combined with the wind that will be generated tomorrow AM may lead to a truly nasty “rush” hour should we have snow falling/on the ground and blowing all over the place. Road crews won’t be able to keep up with this type of scenario should things play out like I’ve been expecting.

Here is a look at the water vapor loop indicating a “dry slot” moving into the region for a few hours overnight tonight.


Click on this image to make it larger. at the surface, there is an impressive contrast showing the warm air and the colder air…


These contrasting airmasses are being sucked into a developing area of low pressure near the Wichita, KS area. This will be the surface storm that passes through the region later tonight into early tomorrow. After it moves to our east, colder air will be drawn into the region from the NW. This will send temperatures on a downward spiral that will continue through lunch tomorrow.

Now the question is the snow for KC. I’m essentially in the 1-3″ range as a final forecast from the Northland all the way down towards the Sedalia/Clinton area where amounts should taper rather quickly to under 1″ or so. There is some upside to the north of the KC area obviously. Areas in NW MO/NE KS have the potential for 3-5″ of snow. With the heavier snows up there, Blizzard warnings are in effect for far NW MO as I type this, with Winter Storm Warnings up for areas south of there and continued Winter Weather Advisories for the KC vicinity. Click on the image below to make it larger.

ScreenHunter_06 Dec. 19 19.58

As I’ve mentioned numerous times on the blog for the last couple of days, in the end we may never know how much snow has fallen because of all the blowing and drifting going on during the event itself tomorrow AM…some areas may have a lot of grass showing, while other areas may have some drifting going on. One side of the driveway may be bare while the downwind side may have a pile of snow on it should this band come through as I expect.

Here is the forecast of the newest model run of the NAM model…through lunch tomorrow.

ScreenHunter_07 Dec. 19 20.07

This model indicates a broad 1-3″ swath of snow for most areas.

So let’s put this together and remember these are my personal thoughts about how the storm will evolve as all my blogs have been for the past 10+ years.

Now through 2AM…rain with some embedded thunder will be in the region but will be tapering off as the dry slot moves in for a few hours.

2AM-5AM: A large area of snow to the west will be moving through the region from west to east. The snow will increase to moderate at times as the winds start to crank from the NW at 25-40 MPH. My guess is after you hear the winds start to increase, within a couple of hours the snow will be falling.

5AM-9AM: This will be the core of the storm, and based on the assumption that snow is falling at a decent clip at times, will lead to near blizzard conditions for us. Roads will quickly turn slick as the temperatures fall. The bulk of the snowfall accumulation will be in this time frame. I expect the snow to increase and intensify on top of the I-35 corridor during this time frame

9AM-11AM: Snow pushed towards the east of the state line and while the wind will continue to blow and temperatures will be in the 20s, the worst of the accumulation for KC will be winding down

Thursday afternoon: The storm pulls away and we should see sunshine help the cause…temperatures will wobble in the 25-30° range. Roads improve, mainly those that have been treated. Watch for refreezing tomorrow night!

The crux of the forecast depends on this wrap-around band of snow to move through in solid fashion. IF it’s skinny or patchy or doesn’t intensify as I expect it to do, amounts will be lighter.

Good luck tomorrow AM and Karli will get you through the morning. I think Nick and Bill will be having a very busy day.

In terms of snow amounts, this won’t be the biggest of storms, but the wind, combined with the falling temperatures and the fact that I think all this happens during rush hour leads me to feel that this will be a high impact event for the KC area tomorrow AM.

Hopefully another blog update around Midnight or so.


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