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Joe’s Weather Blog: Chances Of A White Christmas (WED-12/24)

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Good morning…as daybreak approaches temperatures are running just above freezing and a combination of snow and some rain is falling in the area. It will only last a few more hours and any accumulations will be limited and perhaps more favored on grassy surfaces. That though could even be a stretch.

Forecast:

Rest of today: Morning snow and rain will taper off towards lunch then drier weather is expected in the afternoon with more cloudy skies. Temperatures will go nowhere today with highs near 35°

Tonight: Clearing (finally) and chilly with lows in the mid 20s

Tomorrow: Lots of high clouds, windy and milder with highs 48-53°

Discussion:

Well radar this morning is showing everything that we expected in the area. There is a nice swatch of mostly light snow/rain moving through. The rates however of the falling precipitation are not high enough to generate accumulations at this point. I did notice just barely a coating trying this morning to accumulate on the garbage can that was left outside all night.

Surface temperatures are still 32-34° which just isn’t cold enough to allow the snow to really stick with the snow rates not high enough at this point to overcome the melting process.

 

This should move out later this morning…

We’ll finally start clearing out overnight tonight. As a matter of fact just above the surface the winds will start howling at 35-50+ MPH…as temperatures aloft really start to warm up.

Now tomorrow the tricky part of the forecast is how warm we can get. We’ll be starting with lows in the 25-30° range and we’re really at the lowest sun angle of the year in late December + I’m thinking there should be a pretty good swath of cirrus clouds out there (of various thickness) filtering out the sunshine. On the plus side of a big for late December warm-up is that the winds just above the surface will be cranking at over 45 MPH. Depending on how much wind is realized at the ground, we could really warm up. Model data and forecast soundings suggest upper 40s to near 50° for highs which is a “safe” forecast. I though wouldn’t be surprised if it was a few degrees warmer (as long as the clouds aren’t too thick). If we can get 30-35 MPH winds near and after lunch tomorrow…we may be in business. Regardless it should be a brighter day and an windy day too.

The timing of the next cold front delivering seasonably cool late December air will be sometime around 1-4PM on Friday. We should start the morning in the 30s and finish the day in the 40s. Cooler air will overspread the area through Friday night and into the weekend (30s). As the front comes into the area there may be some light shower activity developing (scattered).

The forecast though on Saturday is not as clear cut as I’d like. After the front moves through at the surface, winds above the surface will be will remain from the SW>NE blowing over the surface cold front which will be well south of the area. The EURO model is still persistent though is hanging up the front a little closer to the area on Saturday, allowing moisture to overrun the boundary and creating an accumulating snow in the KC area. Taken at face value the EURO model would have a 1-3″ snow in the area on Saturday. The ensemble runs have about 1″ at KCI. The GFS and most of it’s ensemble runs keep all the precip well south of here. There are a few ensemble runs doing what the EURO is trying to do. That’s somewhat interesting to me.

At this point I lean to a less snowy playout on Saturday…meaning I think the EURO model is off with this scenario. I’ll keep watching things though and remember that this is still 3 days out and the models were’t exactly great with the playout of things this morning.

Regardless of what happens over the weekend, it appears KC will have a Brown Christmas this year. This is not unusual for KC. As a matter of fact only about 1 in 4 Christmas’ are white in KC. I believe NOAA defines a White Christmas as having 1″ of snow on the ground on Christmas Day whether be already being on the ground or actually falling that day.

 

(graphic courtesy: Climate Central)

We’ve had a White Christmas the last 2 years in KC. 4″ were on the ground on 12/25/2013 while 1″ was reported on the ground on 12/25/2012. I think we all remember 2009 when we had 3+” of snow on Christmas Day itself (it also snowed heavily on Christmas Eve too). That was one of the more memorable White Christmas’ in KC weather history.

While this weekend will be colder the real arctic air blast comes early next week. Be prepared for highs struggling to get to 20° with lows possibly near 0° by next WED and/or THU. On the assumption there is no snow on the ground that should be about the range. IF by chance snow does come with the arctic airmass we may be seeing sub-zero lows. That is actually possible in N MO even without the snow on the ground.

That 1st week of January (by days) will be a cold one…although there is a chance of some moderation after the 4-5th.

My feeling is that IF there is not a snowstorm by the 5th of next month…my snowfall forecast will be a bust for the winter. we really need to not “waste” this next major shot of cold air. In all honesty I could see how things could get more snowy around here over the next 2 weeks or so…but it sure seems like it’s been a struggle and reality nothing is really showing up at this point to be overly excited about, in terms of significant snows.

That’s it for today…unless the data is firmer about the snow chances tomorrow odds are there will be no weather blog on Christmas Day. We’ll pick things up again on Friday.

Joe

 

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