Storm Passes By KC…Another Coming

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Well if local meteorologists learned one lesson this week, if they didn’t know it already, when the models are so split and divergent for a forecast from about 5 days away…odds favor that the EURO model will do the superior job. It took the GFS to the woodshed concerning the evolution of the storm for the middle part of next week and now that the other longer-range models have figured things out (sort of) everybody is playing nice again.

There has been a lot written but experts at this stuff about the superiority of the EURO model, and while no model is perfect, or close to it, this model, time after time seems to do better. Forecasters @ NOAA/NWS usually rely on it much more often than the American model when it comes to creating 6-10 day outlooks. Unfortunately many TV meteorologists sit there and wait for the GFS to come in and base their whole forecast on that one model alone. In some cases it’s because they like the fact that the model comes out 4 times per day, or perhaps they have more parameters to look at more often. Whatever the reason, those are the forecasts that when issued for 4-7 days ahead seem to change a lot more. That’s one reason why I try to keep a very consistent forecast from one day to another for the long range.

The other evening (Thursday) I didn’t have a lot of confidence in what may happen next week. I created a longranger that had the words “Low Confidence Forecast” on it. I don’t seem to remember doing that before, although I’m pretty sure I’ve verbalized those ideas when showing it on the air. Anyway we had a couple of model camps for the potential storm in the central US for early next week. The EURO said no…that it would go towards the US/Mexico border while the NAM/GFS/Canadian said it would sweep through. The EURO said warmth (which I forecasted) the others said nope…more seasonal to slightly below average weather.

Well needless to say, as the saying from one of those Indiana Jones movies said…”he choose wisely.”

Temperatures Monday and Tuesday, perhaps Wednesday as well, should be well into the 40s and perhaps nudging towards 50° (some upside is there). Our storm, which will be in the southern Plains and Texas will eventually curl into the MS Valley area by later WED into THU. We should get rain out of this, with an outside chance of some flakes mixing in as the storm gets closer. This will only happen IF we can dynamically cool the atmosphere down enough to create the snow since we’ll be in a warm airmass ahead of it. So this upcoming week will have temperatures above average through Friday.

After that there will be colder air, although the 1st wave of chilly weather will be a combination of Canadian air and some Pacific air. So yes it gets colder next weekend. Keep pin mind however that we’re coming into the coldest time of the winter season over the next couple of weeks, and while the average high is 38° for almost the whole month, in reality, unless highs are in the teens for a few days in a row, which is difficult without snowcover, I’ll consider the 1st cold shot a seasonable shot of cold air…highs in 20s. The thing that needs to be watched for is a storm to usher in this change. How much moisture could get drawn back into a potential weekend storm is a question since the storm on THU will have wiped a bunch of moisture away.

Now where we go from there is a bit more interesting to me. There are signs of a stronger push of cold air (arctic), with some cross polar flow in about 10-12 days or so. take a look at this day 10 forecast of the EURO ensemble run.

day 10

Looking at ensemble runs are always beneficial. Whether it’s the ensembles of the GFS (which typically perform better than the operational model, that some forecasters ONLY look at, or in this case the ensemble run of the EURO) it’s a great way of seeing how the different slight variations of the operational model affect the forecast.

This shows some pretty darn cold air at the 5K level (about 850 mbs). When you’re looking at -26°F air up there at that level, that translates into 50-60°+ below temperatures up there. The issue is where does the bulk of that cold air end up going and does it come down in one big chunk, or does it come to the area in pieces.

So the bottom line is that the second week of January will be nicely above average and it thoroughly appears as if the 3rd week of January will be well below average!

Joe

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