1 Down…Several To Go (Snowwise)

Posted on: 1:47 pm, February 16, 2013, by , updated on: 01:40pm, February 17, 2013

1

Well the next several weeks are going to be interesting around here, and in a weird way, may be the 1) last gasp of winter we get and 2) potentially may give us more snow compared to what we’ve seen so far this winter 3) from a temperature standpoint will be rather chilly (compared to average). So there is a lot on the weather plate through early March.

Let’s get into what happened last night as a combination of two disturbances dropped down from NE. I wrote about that yesterday afternoon. They created anywhere from flurries farther east on the MO side to 2″ of snow on the KS side. This lead to a mess on the roads which wasn’t surprising because of the dreaded melting then refreezing phenomena. Here are some snow totals from the NWS. They have a good write-up here.

So that takes care of #1. #2 is a system that will be moving through the region Monday AM, we’ll warm up nicely tomorrow (50s) before cooling down on Monday (40s). Rainfall from this will be tough to come by and appears the better chances will be just SE of the metro closer to the Lakes region. Tuesday and Wednesday look to be cooler with highs closer to 40°.

Now about storm #3. If you remember earlier in the week I wrote about this storm that was all the way near Japan. actually a couple of weeks ago I was wondering about the potential for a more significant winter type storm around the 18th-21st or so and this looks to be it. Well our storm that was near Japan has now moved towards the Aleutian Islands. Here is a satellite view of the storm now.

I put together a wider view showing the forecasted storm track in red…

sat

The storm will moving through the western part of the country on Tuesday. Before the storm gets here chilly air will be building down from the northern part of the country, coming out of that 1040 mb high in southern Canada.

As the cold surface air builds southwards on Wednesday our storm will be moving into the desert southwest and into the Plains on Thursday. It’s a recipe for a mess. It appears that the storm will be strong enough to bring the warm/moist air from the south into the region on Thursday. The initial surge of precipitation though will fall in the colder airmass that’s in place, which leads to the potential of a somewhat prolonged period of freezing rain or sleet or both changing eventually as the storm keeps drawing in warm air, to a cold rain (liquid). The trend of the models for the last couple of days as been to keep the storm on a more northern track reducing the snow potential and increasing the freezing rain to rain scenario. Typically IF the temperatures are 30-32° we really don’t have many problems with ice around here, but take a look at the forecasted temperatures off the EURO for Thursday AM…this would be somewhat concerning because we’d be in the 25-30° range for a few hours and certainly would lead to problems on the roads, especially untreated ones. Click on this next image to make it larger…the solid white line is the freezing line.

ScreenHunter_01 Feb. 16 13.23

Should the EURO verify, the freezing rain would change over to plain rain before lunch so the amounts of freezing rain wouldn’t be a lot but would still create road issues for us.

So why am I not talking about snow with the storm today, well the data indicates that the temperatures aloft would be too warm above 6000 feet or so for snowflakes to hold together or even form. That’s why what comes down is either freezing rain or perhaps even sleet for awhile since the temperatures below 5000′ are forecasted to be below freezing through Thursday AM. The other issue with the forecasted storm track is the dreaded “dry slot” which will should move in at some point later Thursday AM or early Thursday PM…this will effectively cut-off the significant moisture and leave us with a drizzly/showers Thursday afternoon with readings in the 35-40° range.

That is a lot of specific information for a storm that is some 6 days away from making things messy around here. IF you are a snow lover, you want the track of the storm to be farther southwards, closer to the KS/OK border. That will allow the cold air through the atmosphere to be locked in place and reduce the ice chance/amount. Should that happen, and it’s not out of the question, we’ll be talking about our biggest snow of the season, and perhaps the last two seasons (won’t be tough) to accomplish that though). Should the track be even farther north, closer to the I-80 corridor, the icing issue will be shorter in duration and the liquid rain will be more common.

Regardless this should be a big ticket storm and a lot of ingredients are in place for heavy snow and a period of decent ice for parts of the region. The worst of the snow may be farther to the north but again this is very early in the process.

So at this point here is a timeline for you based on the data today (6(!) days ahead of the storm) and this will change…

Wednesday: Highs near 35-40° with increasing clouds

Wednesday night : Clouds lower and thicken fast…perhaps some snow/sleet developing (accumulations possible) changing more to sleet as the night moves along. Temperatures steady 26-29°. The duration of the snow will be critical to potential accumulations obviously.

Thursday 12AM-6AM: Periods of sleet (moderate at times with a few embedded snowflakes). Temperatures steady 26-29°

Thursday 6AM-10AM: Sleet transitions to some freezing rain. Temperatures start rising to freezing

Thursday 10AM-2PM: dry slot of the storm moves into the region effectively shutting down the significant moisture…temperatures go above freezing.

It should be noted the the new version of the Canadian model is very bullish on the snow for us and the EURO is still dishing out the snowfall as well…but what a southern cut-off to the snow…right through the KC area. Gulp!

ScreenHunter_02 Feb. 16 14.40

That timeline/precip type WILL CHANGE about 10 times before the storm…but there you go for the heck of it.

I should also mention that this midweek storm may lay down a farther south storm track for another storm due in later next Sunday or a week from Monday that would have a decent shot of snow as well.

So again a LOT of stuff happening over the next several weeks, and we’ll continue to see additional moisture added to the soil as well as ponds/lakes I think which is a good thing.

Joe

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