One of our commenters on the blog is Mike from Liberty who has asked me whether or not I thought we were entering a “more active” period of weather and if that meant the opportunities for more snow over the next few weeks. I mentioned that I would briefly (ha!) write about that so here goes.
In the big picture of things, what exactly does an “active period” of weather mean? Frankly we’ve had a variety of different airmasses affect our weather over the last week or so, we’ve dipped into arctic air, then 24-36 hours later we see that airmass move away. Yesterday was in the 20-25° range and today should make the mid 40s. I seems we’ve done this several times over the last 10 days or so…I consider that pretty darn active. The problem is that despite all these changes, precipitation has been limited to none which still kind of blows my mind a bit.
Does “more active” mean increasing chances of precipitation? Well we’re supposed to get various waves of different strengths move across the region. It happens every year and every late JAN/FEB. So what is the verification of saying, well yes it’s going to be more active? If it doesn’t rain (after Sunday’s event) for the next 10-14 days of any substance despite waves moving through is that “active”? We average about about 1.8″ of moisture between now and the end of FEB…so if we get more than average (for a change) does that mean it’s more active? Supposed it came down from just 2-3 events over the course of 5 weeks…is that “active”?
My point is not to be snarky but to question how I can verify a forecast of whether or not it’s been “active” or stormy or whatever. Now here is one way of verifying a forecast, my 17″ of snow forecast from the Winter Forecast we issued a couple of months ago. Concerning how I feel about that forecast…well let’s just say I feel like it’s on life support and Mother Nature is walking over to the plug now. We’ve had less than 4″ of snow, I really don’t see a lot coming, or anything significant, for quite some time and the clock is ticking. Remember in my eyes, IF we don’t get most, if not all of our snow by March 15th or so, odds are we’re done…we’re now some 7-8 weeks into the season and this is all we have to show for it. NOT very encouraging and at this pace one wonders how we can get to 10″. Can I still get close…well sure, all I need is a 6-10″ snowstorm and I’ll be closer to golden. The problem is that it seems nothing has lined up for us this season (again), we’ve had plenty of cold air…but little moisture at the same time, we’ve had moisture, but then no cold air (see Sunday). We’ve had storms move through, but everything comes together well east of the KC region…it just seems like it’s not meant to be for us. I’m not throwing in the towel at this point but I’m certainly not happy where we are and I hope for winter weather enthusiasts, things change. I do have a feeling though the 2nd part of FEB will be wetter than the 1st part. Does that mean whiter? Can’t say because I think the reason why it gets wetter will be the same reason why the colder air may be tougher to have at the same time.
So what about this weekend, well the icing potential (minor) that was talked about yesterday seems even iffier this AM. The trends have been for us to be warmer and warmer in the lower part of the atmosphere and that reduces the KC opportunity for any ice or sleet. Could there be a less than 1hr chance of something happening, I guess but it really looks like we’ll be in the 32-37° range when the rain starts early Sunday AM. The latest NAM suggests about 1/3-3/4″ of rainfall out of this, shifting the heaviest across N MO and it looks reasonable given a weakening wave moving through the region.
Behind the wave, warmer air and more humidity will flood into the region for Monday. The question about Monday’s highs are the temperatures, it’s very possible we could get socked in with clouds keeping highs in the 50s (no record potential) but IF we can manage to clear out and warm up, the record on Monday is 65° set in 1917…doable with enough sunshine.
So despite all the cold weather we’ve heard about nationwide…you might be surprised about how things stand at this point. There have been a lot of headlines about how cold it’s been across the Great Lakes and the NE part of the country. Check this out.
Notice most of the eastern part of the country is still nicely above average for the month thus far. Here in KC we’re running 2.5° above average and over the next 4 days we should add to that. NYC is running more than 3° above average, Chicago is 1.6° above average, Detroit is 2.5° above average and even Traverse City is running more than 3° above average, and it’s been pretty darn cold up there this week. It just shows you how warm the 1st 3 weeks have been.
That’s it for today…have a great weekend and I’ll get an update on the rain potential for Sunday AM on the blog tomorrow.