Thunderstorms rolling through metro

Joe’s Wx Blog: 1st A Left…Now A Right

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So after a winter and a half, going back to last year, of having nothing to talk about, Mother Nature is once again cramming 2 winters into 5 days it seems like. We had record snow a couple of days ago…our coldest winter morning low today (1°) and now another potentially big winter storm with a lot of snow heading this way. As usual there are questions on the timing of things (really whether or not we’ll sneak in the rush hour Monday AM or not) and also whether we are fighting a period of sleet or freezing rain before we eventually transition to heavy accumulating snow) So by no means are we certain of everything, but confidence is increasing that another major winter storm will effect the region Monday into Tuesday morning.

Before I get to that, I often get an email or two from folks who enjoy reading my ramblings on the blog, and there is no doubt over the last week or so a lot of you have been reading my updates. I fully expect the blog to again be the most if not one of the most sought after pieces of information on our website with our next storm heading this way. Here is an email I received from Doug when I opened my email box this afternoon before typing today’s entry…Thanks Doug and it’s readers like you that keep my fingers typing away!

Hey Joe, LOVE the weather blogs.  I know it’s got to be tiring doing them, but Keep it up. I’m a commercial pilot and really appreciate the blogs especially in regards to the latest snow event I was able to keep the family updated with your info, when I was out of town on this last event, and also used it as a solid reference when flying last week.  Spot on and accurate, good job, keep up the good work!!!

OK now that that’s done, let’s get into what may happen around here. Everything for the weekend will be fine, although another cold night is ahead tonight as clear skies should allow temperatures to crater into the single digits again and even sub-zero in spots. Lawrence this AM dropped to -4° and St Joseph dropped to -1°. Here is a look at some of the AM lows from the region…click on that image and make it larger.

ScreenHunter_01 Feb. 23 12.23

We should see enough sunshine again tomorrow to allow temperatures to crack 32° for a few hours. With skies bright and sunny this afternoon, our visible satellite picture is a winter weather lover’s dream come true, because with the exception of the clouds across southcentral OK, that is nothing but snow on the ground!

Those specks of darkness within the snowcover in white are some of the larger lakes in the region. The “veins” that you see running through the terrain are some of larger rivers that are cutting through the terrain. Pretty cool shot. You know, if you’ve read the blog long enough, that it’s the image I love to share with you the most…for some reason I think it’s so cool.

Now let’s really focus in on the next storm. It’s now located across the Pacific Northwest.

It (the core of the upper storm) will be dropping into the Salt Lake area and then curving through the TX Panhandle and eventually on Tuesday evening coming out and strengthening near the I-40 corridor and turning up towards St Louis. That track and whether or not it comes a bit farther north or goes a bit further southwards will go a long way to in determining the snow amounts around KC. Here is a look at the GFS forecast for the 500 mb level, about 18000′ feet up and this helps us track the storms center aloft.

Now with that said there are tricks to the forecast.. 1) Will there be some warm air brought in above the surface cold air that allows the flakes that are falling to melt and either re-freeze or freeze in the form of freezing rain when they hit the ground. The likelihood of this happening is highest at the onset of the storm whenever that is. The following is what the NAM model and that is what it is suggesting…take a look at this next animation. For reference in terms of timing 00Z is 6PM, 06Z is 12AM, 12Z is 6AM and 18Z is Noon.

After looking at the data from all the models and going back to previous winter storms my feeling is that the idea of a fast development of the significant precipitation before rush hour Monday (as the NAM is showing) is too fast and that the more significant precipitation will hold off till around or even after lunch time. I also at this point believe that while there may be some sort of wintry mix initially that there should be a quick conversion to snow and heavy snow is likely in the area through later Monday afternoon into Tuesday morning…yes the potential is there for another snow day Tuesday and perhaps even Wednesday morning as we may be dealing with another plowable snowstorm. I’ll probably start creating some accumulation maps for the 5PM or wait till the 9PM show but I think the chances of getting over 6″ (AT LEAST) of snow is increasing!

With all that said, here are the requisite snow forecasts off the models…we’ll start with the NAM model…this model brings ice/sleet into the area by rushhour MON AM which I feel is too fast!

ScreenHunter_02 Feb. 23 12.51

Now here is the GFS model…which is colder and a bit slower bringing the heaviest snow into the region later Monday into Monday night, which is the way I’m leaning at this point.

ScreenHunter_03 Feb. 23 12.53

Here is a look at the Canadian model and it to delays the onslaught of the snow till later into Monday allowing a doable rush hour however it also bombards the region Monday night.

ScreenHunter_04 Feb. 23 12.55

I’ll try to get the EURO map posted this afternoon.

Next up is the range of all the various models out there from the various runs over the course of the past 12 hours or so.

ScreenHunter_05 Feb. 23 13.00

I think though that you get the drift where I’m going on this storm at this point. This also should be a somewhat heavier and wetter snow since temperatures will be closer to 32°. So the flakes will be wetter and the shoveling will be harder because of the weight of the snow.

I also should mention that this will be a widespread storm again stretching from MO through KS into OK. Here are the 1PM advisory map for the country.

ScreenHunter_06 Feb. 23 13.13

The final aspect I want to mention about the storm is that the wind aspect will be higher than the storm we just went through. For the most part the storm on THU had winds of 15-25 MPH or so…this one may have winds gusting to 35+ MPH or so which will create all sorts of problems with the snow removal process. It also will be a more prolonged storm, perhaps without the insane snow rates of the previous storm, but a more drawn out affair that may linger into the 1st part of Tuesday.

That’s it for now…trying to keep this blog under 1500 words for a change!


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