Storms Yes, Colder Yes, Snow Likely!
Well a lot going on this AM with a rainbow of colors showing up as advisories in the region. The atmosphere is soupy, a cold front is slicing through the metro and storms are ongoing as I type this. For some areas, a real beneficial rain is happening and others, especially from KC southwards will see more over the next 6 hours or so as the front undercuts the warm, humid air in place…oh and we broke another record high today (68°)! Just your typical late January day!
Yesterday I was starting to think that maybe this storm could do a little better in the end as opposed to to what we say over the weekend and it looks like things are coming together, Already this AM we’ve seen some short-lived Severe T/storm Warnings for fast moving thunderstorms and when you consider that the air, just above the surface, is moving at close to 50 MPH, it won’t take much for those stronger winds to mix down to the surface. The better chances of this happening are SE of the metro in an area that is outlined by a Tornado Watch.
While the watch might be a little iffy for areas closest to KC, farther southwards towards the I-44 corridor there might be something isolated. The watch does NOT include most of the metro, except for Cass, Miami and Johnson (MO) counties and points southwards. It’s valid till 3PM but will be chipped away on the northern side of the watch area as the morning moves along. This will though provide much needed rainfall of 1-2″ perhaps to the SE of KC connected to the storms. For KC proper the potential of 1/2-1″ of rain is there from the metro SEwards, especially I-35 SEwards over the next 6 hours or so as a nice area of rain develops with the slicing front moving through as I type this. Here are some of the rainfall totals off of doppler radar as well as the latest warnings.
As a cold front slices through KC temperatures as of this writing range from 64° in Lees Summit to 46° @ KCI (already down 22° from their record high set around 1AM this morning). Temperatures are in the middle 30s across NW MO and SE NE so colder air will be filtering into the area as the day goes along but we should sort of flat line from a temperature drop for most of the day today before heading back downwards tonight.
Areas well to the SE of KC are most vulnerable to the potential of severe weather today.
Farther into Arkansas, as the air gets more and more unstable and the wind fields aloft offer the chance of rotating storms, severe weather is more likely including the potential of tornadoes. The air has a springtime feel to it and is packed with moisture whatever storms do form down there will be traveling and 55-65 MPH so folks down there, especially tonight really need to pay attention to the weather. As a matter of fact AR trails FL, TX, MS, and AL in terms of numbers of tornados in the month of JAN (h/t ustornadoes.com) so this isn’t that unusual for them to be under the gun in January. The airmass certainly is more like March or April!
Tonight as the atmosphere cools down and with the approach of a rather substantial wave in the atmosphere an area of snow will be expanding through KS and moving towards the E and ENE into the metro. This is a tougher forecast for the metro but it does appear as if we’ll have some sticking snow starting to fall after midnight tonight through noon tomorrow. The heaviest snow accums from this still look to be NE of the KC area, we’re talking 2-4″ or so, perhaps a local 5″ amount from near Plattsburg to near Bethany and then closer to the IA border. It’s close to KC but at this point upwards of a dusting to 2″ is most likely in the metro. Initially there will be some melting on the pavement and temperatures may not drop much below freezing till just before daybreak tomorrow…so the snow will have to come down pretty hard for the KC area to get accumulations on the roads before 6AM tomorrow, but the time frame of 6-9AM tomorrow may be rather messy for the morning commute so consider this a heads up.
This aspect of the forecast though is still somewhat of a question mark and while I do expect snow I’m still not slam dunking this as a big snowstorm for KC proper, we’re going to be on the southern edge of this thing tomorrow morning I think. That’s why I feel that a dusting to 2″ event is the best early call on this for the KC area.
For what it’s worth here is the latest HI RES NAM model data showing the snowfall potential for tomorrow AM.
Click on that image to make it larger.
So a lot going on today and I’ll get another blog update done for you this evening as we focus then on the snowfall potential. For now though, this is really going to end up being a MUCH-needed rain event for a good part of KC and points S and Ewards!