Joe’s Weather Blog: Meteorologist Eye Candy

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Sometimes when looking into the future, whether it be 1-2 days from now or 10-15 days from now and utilizing the models…every so often a model run or two or 5 (whatever) will come out with solutions that make you go wow.

For example…I remember when the winter hammer eventually came down on the KC area late last winter…during the 3rd week of February. The models, if you looked closely enough were not only giving us snow storm after snow storm…but when you looked hard…you could see how they were generating convective snows, a somewhat rarity for the KC area…then which each passing storm…the same signal was there…and they were right. We had all these thundersnows during the snowstorms. If I remember correctly…3-4 straight significant snow events…all with serious thundersnow. I’m betting that’s never happened before in KC and probably will not happen again. The data made you go wow!

The modeling lately has been trying to resolve the extent of coldness coming over the next 7-10 days. The GFS model has had it’s issues and the EURO as well comes and goes with some sharply cold weather. I mentioned back in November that I felt December was going to be colder than average (yup) and January was going to be colder than average (I feel pretty good about that right now). February to me was a wild card…and it still is…but I digress. The reason why I am bring all this up is that  key component in that forecast was this VERY warm pool of water in the NE Pacific Ocean that many were either seeing and not really paying attention to…or were not seeing at all and looking strictly at what was going on with El Nino or La Nina or in the case thus far this winter…La Nada in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean.

Anyway this warm pool is still there…and I believe it’s been the main key to guiding our weather over the past 6 weeks or so…maybe longer. Take a look for yourself…

ScreenHunter_52 Dec. 30 08.27

There it is…it’s HUGE, bigger in size than any El Nino in terms of scope…and would correlate to an El Nino that was rated as strong. So why, if it would’ve been 1000s of miles farther south towards the equator would everybody be talking about it (and if that were the case probably giving us a super warm winter) are very few people in the business referring to it as potentially controlling or at least strongly influencing the weather patterns now?

My feeling is that this large mass of warmer than average sea-surface temperatures (close to 5°F at it’s core) is helping to strengthen and pop the ridging in the Eastern Pacific Ocean…and I can show you looking at the past 30 days of maps averaged out…at 500 mbs or about 18,000 feet up in the atmosphere (give or take)

ScreenHunter_53 Dec

So when you have strong ridges (domes of warm air) in the Eastern Pacific…there HAS to be a downstream response of colder air. These ridges are important depending on the season. For example if one of these long-term ridges were to set up in the middle of the country during the summer, like a couple of years ago..it would be hot and dry…and we’ve have a drought. If it happened in the winter…we’d be warmer than normal and drier as well.

So with it set up where it is now…there is a strong tendency for cold air to reload across NW Canada and then plummet our way. Or depending on how things evolve…cold air drains southward from the north pole.

I bring all this up…and I know it’s taken me 600 words to get to my point…because last night the GFS model came out with a solution that really was eye candy…and it’s probably going to be right to some extent…not perfect…it is the GFS model…and in fairness no model is that far out…but when it generates this…watch out down the road.

This is from the 6PM run LAST night…courtesy of NEXLAB

ScreenHunter_54 Dec. 30 08.48

That’s a 1060+ mb (31.30″) high up there in NW Canada…and that is representative of some incredibly and probably record-breaking cold weather about to plunge deep into the Plains states

Let’s go up to about 3-5000′ feet or so…and see how cold the air is at the same time…

ScreenHunter_55 Dec. 30 08.52

That solid area of white represents air at that level of -22°F and colder. Now let’s work our way to the ground and see how cold that really is…click on all these images to make them more readable

ScreenHunter_56 Dec. 30 08.54

We’ve seen time after time this fall/winter…that when it’s cold there…it gets to us. The time frame on the above maps is Midnight CST next Monday morning (6th) and aren’t even the low temperatures up there.

The modelling is trying to figure out how much of this cold air comes our way next week…

I’m trying to figure out will there be snow associated with it…if not…it will be cold, don’t get me wrong, and the potential for sub-zero lows may return at some point next week, even without the snowcover. Interestingly the GFS model last night kept our temperatures, whether it be a high or low for the day, below 0° next Tuesday and Wednesday…which takes A LOT of doing this far south. It’s happened before…I roughly counted the days in KC weather history (just think of the 1000s of days between December and February since the 1880s) and I came up with about 18 sub-zero high temperature days (including 4 days in January of 1912!)

ScreenHunter_58 Dec. 30 21.30

I’m also wondering how long this will last…will it be our winter pattern of the cold coming through and leaving or will there be something else going on to keep the cold around. Here is what the EURO model thinks for temperatures over the next 10 days…

ScreenHunter_57 Dec

Again click on that image to make it larger.

Finally be alert to maybe a skiff of snow moving through the region on Wednesday late AM into the afternoon. The timing of the cold air return is a bit of a question for WED…but we will certainly be in the cold air again WED PM. There could be some minor accumulations here…but at this point the highest risk of a 1-4″ type snow would be across N MO along and north of 36 highway towards the IA border…something to be watch though.

A lot going on and a lot to write about over the coming days.

Joe

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