Joe’s Weather Blog: Winter Storm Warnings Continue

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Late Evening Weather Update:

So things are progressing more or less according to plan…

The latest model run of the NAM continues to impress and would certainly suggest nearly 12-15″ of snowfall for the I-70 corridor…we still think this may be overly generous but we are expecting the snowfall totals to come into the high side of our 5-10″ range for the KC area…what I’m trying to say here is that for many in the KC metro…totals will probably average more in the 7-10″ range, with some higher and some lower perhaps..While elsewhere in our viewing area, north of 36 highway perhaps the amounts may be closer to 5-7″. Also for areas towards Clinton/Sedalia/Butler/Pleasanton and SEwards amounts may be 5-7″ or so.

With all that said there will be some jackpot totals out there…and to me the odds of this happening are more on the KS side…lets say from near Lawrence to Topeka to Emporia where amounts may end up in the 10-13+” range IF everything happens just right. Some folks, maybe not all…will be in the double digits.

So there is some upside potential with all this…

With that said…the timing and the amounts through the day are going to be essentially unchanged from the timeline below from this AM just massaged a pinch. The storm should be putting down it best snow totals from roughly 10AM-7PM or so.

MT and I talked about this storm as the type of storm where “it keeps on giving”. That’s important because as the storm is sort of winding down, after 9PM or so…the “fluff” factor of the snow will really be on the increase and you can squeeze the atmosphere more effectively as the atmosphere gets colder…the winds will also be on the increase as well so the blowing and drifting issues will become more prevalent too.

So let’s update the timeline based on the latest information…

Tonight: Remaining dry through 3AM with clouds lowering and thickening

Tuesday 3AM-6AM: A few bands of snow may develop and move through the area. Accumulations of 1″ or less.

Tuesday 6AM-9AM: Bands of snow move in from the SW…roads start to become a bit more slick…but I think still doable for a commute. It may not be a nice commute however.

Tuesday 9AM-Noon: Snow starts to increase in coverage and in some cases intensity. We should have 1-3″ of snow on the ground by noon for most of KC especially from I-70 southwards and southwestwards. East winds will be blowing at 10-20 MPH. Some though will still be waiting for their 1st flakes towards the SE part of the region (i.e. the Sedalia area maybe?)

Tuesday Noon-6PM: This should be the brunt of the storm. By the end of evening rush we should have 5-7″ of snow on the ground in the KC area. By this time 2-5″ of additional snow should be on the ground across N MO north of 36 highway. Winds will be switching towards the NE at 10-20 MPH. Evening rush will be a mess for those who go to work in the AM. High temperatures will be near 25° with wind chills near 10°. If for whatever reason we don’t have as much snow on the ground as I’m thinking…then the opportunity of hitting my forecasted total will be in dire jeopardy. In other words…this is the time we should get the biggest accumulations. This will not be a “blizzard” by the way…winds will not be strong enough to meet that criteria…35 MPH+.

Tuesday 6PM-11PM: The heaviest of the storm gradually shifts off towards the NE of the KC metro area. An additional 1-3″ is likely in this time frame…bringing totals to 5-10″ region-wide with 7-10″ possible in the KC Metro area

Tuesday 11PM-3AM: Snow winds down…there will be some blowing and drifting going on…additional accumulations should be 1″ or less from this in the KC metro area. It may be tough to measure with the blowing and drifting going on. In our opinion final storm accumulations should be widespread 7-10″ snows in the KC area.

Wednesday: Clearing skies and bitterly cold…morning temperatures near 10° with wind chills sub-zero and afternoon temperatures only going up a few degrees

Thursday: I continue to monitor the potential for morning lows to tank to 10-20° BELOW zero. This will only happen IF skies are clear. Some rural areas across N MO and central MO may see lows as cold as 25° BELOW. The set-up though is classic with lots of snow on the ground and light winds…the clouds are the question mark right now. Please monitor this carefully for those who have issues with frozen pipes! The only way this doesn’t happen is if some sort of thick mid cloud deck moves into the area in the wee hours of THU AM. It’s very possible this can happen as moisture streams over the Rockies and into the Plains…we’ll have to deal with this potential more after the snowstorm. The record low is -19° set back in 1982.

Unless something markedly changes that will do for tonight…the next update will be before 9AM or so…maybe even earlier…long day coming up tomorrow. Thanks so much for reading the FOX 4 Weather Blog. A very popular item, needless to say on the web page today!

JL

Early Evening Update: Did you know that assuming we didn’t hit 32° between hours today…that we’ve been below 32° since last THU evening the 30th. (8:53 PM). I’m not sure when we go above 32° again…should be at least 7 days…perhaps a bit longer.

So with that said there are no changes needed to the forecast. For the time being we’re going to maintain 5-9″ as a snowfall forecast through the region. We think just about everybody will see at least 5″…we’ll need to watch the Lakes region for dry slot potential as I’ve mentioned before…and my thoughts are that the KC metro will be in a 6-8″ range. Some will do better than 9″ and some may get less than 5″ somewhere. Also there is some potential of double digit accums somewhere out there…that will be analyzed more later tonight…

Here are the latest regional warnings…the pink areas are the Winter Storm Warnings. It sounds like schools in the KC metro area are starting to be pro-active and cancelling classes tomorrow giving as many parents a heads up as early as possible which is good to see…of course now the forecast needs to work out.

ScreenHunter_12 Feb. 03 16.56

Click on the image above to make it larger and more readable.

Since I saved it…I thought I’d show you what the hi-res NAM model is cranking out for tomorrow…

hires_snow_acc_kc_20

It continues to show a heavy 2 county or so wide band of more snow in areas north of I-70…and that wouldn’t be surprising to me at all…these bands though will move from run to run…so suffice it to say that when we’re more confident of who may see a bit more snow than others we’ll let you know…in reality though, in terms of impacts it won’t make a lot of difference to the vast majority of our readers today.

Have a great evening and I’ll get another update out later this evening…by the way FOX 4 News will start @ 4AM tomorrow. Can’t promise that it will be snowing at that time…but KR will be updating the radar and showing the snow developing for you and heading this way.

JL

Midday update…just cleaned up some of the typos in the blog that weren’t caught by the spellchecker…also updated some of the wording etc…everything still looks good as far as what I wrote. The lows on Thursday AM are still very tricky to figure out with clouds that may save us from cratering the temperatures but as I mentioned we’ll see how things go over the next 2 days…also don’t forget about storm #3 and #4 or #3A  for the end of the week. actually we may see some light snow in the area THU and FRI before something more significant moves in over the weekend. Moisture throughout the atmosphere may a bit tougher to come by…BUT the air will be cold and it won’t take much to generate additional accumulating decent snowfall in the area. Like I titled a blog over the weekend…this will be a “week of snow” or something close to it.

Thought I’d share with you one of the products that I like to look at when working on snowfall calculations. This product is generated courtesy of the fine meteorology department up @ Iowa State. it allows me to calculate snowfall forecast (for KCI) using snow ratios that I determine. So for example…in the graphic that follows I’m using a 13:1 ratio…1″ of rain equals 13″ of snow…the model names are on the right hand side of the image and the totals are the various lines…so you get an idea the range in the model solutions…

ScreenHunter_11 Feb. 03 12.32

Click on that image to make it larger and more readable.

Anyway a little “inside baseball” stuff for you this afternoon.

JL

++++++

Good morning…blog updates will occur several times through tonight. I’ll get an update around noon then later this afternoon (if needed) then this evening around 9PM…and potentially near 12AM tomorrow morning. For additional details follow me/us on Twitter at fox4wx for notifications on when the blog is updated and how the models are trending.

Model trends from overnight have been, in some cases, more bullish for the snow…mainly the NAM. This particular model is suggestive of upwards of 10-14″ of snow for the region. Even many of it’s ensembles (which are runs of the same models with different equations and initial set-ups) are bullish as well with most suggesting at least 8″ and some as high as 15″.

The early AM GFS model has widespread 6-10″ snows.

The hi-res EURO model has broad 3-7″ snows through the KC area and 6-8″ snows from the MO River northwards to the IA border.

Finally the Canadian model is giving the region 3-6″ snows with a higher bulls-eye of 6-9″ snows near Emporia.

All models have different locations for the actual heaviest snow bands from overnight. This does not surprise me at all. The system coming out will be very dynamic and will generate some locally heavy snows in spots or bands of snow that may increase totals in some counties while other counties get somewhat lesser totals.

Here is where we are for the warnings/watches to start the day. The watches off to the NE of KC will be filled in by warnings by the end of the afternoon.

ScreenHunter_08 Feb

The storm now is located across the SW part of the country. Now that it is on land there are better opportunities for it to be sampled by the vast (but not really when you consider how big the country is) upper air balloons that are launched usually 2x’s per day at 6AM and 6PM during the winter season. The storms influence in that part of the country was probably sampled this morning by 4-6 different upper air soundings. So the thought process is that better data into the models…means better information out of the models. You can see the storm spinning across S CA.

On radar, showing where the precipitation is…things are not really that impressive right now…that’s because the storm is running on fumes for lower level moisture.

That happens quite a bit in the SW part of the country. Storms attack CA with moisture they’ve brought with them from their transit over the Pacific Ocean…rain/snow themselves out…then sort of exist through the SW part of the nation before swinging out through the southern Plains and again starting to tap into moisture off the Gulf Of Mexico streaming northwards. So the storm will start to blossom tomorrow morning and frankly start “looking” more like a typical Plains storm system.

I mentioned the upper air network of soundings…here is a map showing the sounding sites…keep in mind that as the balloons reach 100,000′ in the atmosphere they are often hundreds of miles away from where they started depending on the strength of the atmospheric winds blowing them around. Those 3 letter identifiers are the location of the launches. For us in the KC area…Topeka, Omaha and Springfield are our closest balloons. Notice a decent swatch in the S CA area…so the storm has been sampled well this AM…that information then goes into the morning model data

ScreenHunter_09 Feb. 03 08.34

It wouldn’t be a winter weather blog without me showing you at least one computer model right? So let’s show you the forecast precipitation off the NAM (North American Mesoscale Model) model.

If you remember from yesterday’s blog…for timing reference…12Z is 6AM…18Z is Noon…00Z is 6PM (confusing because 00Z WED is really 6PM Tuesday) and 06Z is 12AM.

The color contours represent the amount of precipitation in liquid form every 3 hours. Remember that typically 1″ of liquid equals 10″ of snow. For a storm like this, interacting with the cold air in place, the ratios will be higher…probably 12:1 at least…maybe even 14:1…so instead of 1″ of liquid equaling 10″ of snow…now 1″ of liquid equals 12-14″ of snow.

So now that the storm is better sampled let’s get into a better timeline

Today: Increasing PM clouds…highs 25-30°

Tonight: Remaining dry through midnight with clouds lowering and thickening

Tuesday 3AM-6AM: A few bands of snow may develop and move through the area. Accumulations of 1″ or less.

Tuesday 6AM-9AM: Bands of snow move in from the SW…roads start to become a bit more slick…but I think still doable for a commute. It may not be a nice commute however.

Tuesday 9AM-Noon: Snow starts to increase in coverage and in some cases intensity. We should have 1-3″ of snow on the ground by noon for most of KC especially from I-70 southwards and southwestwards. East winds will be blowing at 10-20 MPH

Tuesday Noon-6PM: This should be the brunt of the storm. By the end of evening rush we should have 4-7″ of snow on the ground in the KC area. By this time 2-5″ of additional snow should be on the ground across N MO north of 36 highway. Winds will be switching towards the NE at 10-20 MPH. Evening rush will be a mess for those who go to work in the AM. High temperatures will be near 25° with wind chills near 10°. If for whatever reason we don’t have as much snow on the ground as I’m thinking…then the opportunity of hitting my forecasted total will be in dire jeopardy. In other words…this is the time we should get the biggest accumulations. This will not be a “blizzard” by the way…winds will not be strong enough to meet that criteria…35 MPH+.

Tuesday 6PM-9PM: The heaviest of the storm gradually shifts off towards the NE of the KC metro area. An additional 1-2″ is likely in this time frame…bringing totals to 5-9″

Tuesday 9PM-3AM: Snow winds down…there will be some blowing and drifting going on…additional accumulations should be 1″ or less from this in the KC metro area. It may be tough to measure with the blowing and drifting going on. In my opinion final storm accumulations should be widespread 5-9″ snows in the KC area.

Wednesday: Clearing skies and bitterly cold…morning temperatures near 10° with wind chills sub-zero and afternoon temperatures only going up a few degrees

Thursday: I continue to monitor the potential for morning lows to tank to 10-20° BELOW zero. This will only happen IF skies are clear. Some rural areas across N MO and central MO may see lows as cold as 25° BELOW. The set-up though is classic with lots of snow on the ground and light winds…the clouds are the question mark right now. Please monitor this carefully for those who have issues with frozen pipes! The only way this doesn’t happen is if some sort of thick mid cloud deck moves into the area in the wee hours of THU AM. It’s very possible this can happen as moisture streams over the Rockies and into the Plains…we’ll have to deal with this potential more after the snowstorm. The record low is -19° set back in 1982.

I’d put together some sort of snow map for you…but at this point I really think the vast majority are going to get that. It’s possible even areas towards Sedalia and Clinton are getting at least 4-6″ from this storm as well.

So how can these totals be reduced a few inches? Should the storm take on a different track…or should some sort of weird dry slot get entrained into the storms circulation (blogged about yesterday)…some may end up with closer to 4-6″ or so…but trying to pin that aspect down now is tough to do at this point.

So there you go…kids are going to be home from school, in some cases for the rest of the week…or at least for 2-3 days…so if you’re a parent…good luck 😉

More coming later on.

Joe

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