Joe’s Weather Blog: Snow fades…Polar vortex hype to come (THU-12/7)

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Good afternoon. A nice dusting of snow out there on a cold December day in KC. The snow is winding down and shifting southwards as I type this. Road temperatures are around 34° (that’s why there are just wet roads) but there may be some slick spots on bridges and overpasses this afternoon should the roads still be wet…watch for some glazing. Aside from that the forecast is mostly cold with an occasional moderating day or two.


Tonight: Clearing skies and pretty darn cold. Temperatures should drop to 10° with near to sub-zero wind chills.

Thursday: Mostly sunny and chilly with highs in the mid 20s. Temperatures during the game will be in the teens with single digit wind chills.

Friday: Partly cloudy and chilly with highs around 30°


Well it wasn’t much…but it was something I guess. More of a “talk about snow” than a “hit the stores” snow…but that’s OK to start the winter season I guess. somre pretty pictures though…

Roads thankfully are just wet.


via Stormwatch

Now after sunset…those numbers will come down…so again…watch for some black ice potential on untreated surfaces…also this afternoon watch for the bridges and overpasses getting a bit more slick ahead of the main roads.

Meanwhile the colder air is coming in now. Temperatures today haven’t really moved in the snow and the cold air advection.

The temperatures in the following 2 maps are as of the 2PM hour…and are in RED.

even colder farther north!

So with the cold surface air rushing in…tomorrow will be the coldest day since February 13th with highs in the 20-25° range.

Some moderation is coming Friday>Saturday…near 40° on Saturday but lots of clouds.

As you may remember I’ve been focused on these first 10-15 days of the month for wintry weather. I sent out this tweet back in mid November talking about the bigger changes coming

In all honesty I’m not sure if that was an accurate forecast or not…I guess we certainly have the cold…and northern MO had 1-3″ of snow on Sunday…we got a coating today…but deep down I was thinking that this pattern that we’re in now…would’ve had the ability of producing more snow….it didn’t..and it won’t for the time being

It WILL though produce a lot more cold and that will be an issue for us…as well as the remainder of the eastern 1/3rd of the US over the next 2 weeks or so. You can see how the natural gas prices are trading as the commodity brokers assess the weather over the next few weeks…and the change to cold that is taking over the models.


Nat gas future prices…traders could’ve made some nice money these last few weeks with the right timing.

The reason for this is the upcoming cold pattern…we’re getting a 2 day taste now…but there is going to be a LOT of talk about the “return of the polar vortex” next week so get ready.

The polar vortex is a broad low pressure circulation (counter clockwise) in the upper atmosphere. When it’s on this side of the North Pole during the winter season…the potential for cold air outbreaks increases substantially. Whether or not those outbreaks are focused into the Plains states or into the Northeast will vary somewhat…but somebody out there get’s real cold…and that will be the case next week.

Let me show you what I’m talking about…we’re going to look at a very broad view of the northern hemisphere…as we go up to about 18,000′ or so to show the circulation pattern.


Notice that little blue area up towards the North Pole…that is a piece of the Polar Vortex that will be breaking off (a lobe) and pivoting down through Canada.

As it pivots southwards…it will generate and drive another cold air shot southwards as well. Here is a snapshot for next Tuesday morning…the 12th…showing the cold air delivery into the Upper Midwest and Plains states.


In some cold winters…this pattern can lock in for quite some time…but I don’t think it will this time. It will though be persistent fora couple of weeks…give or take. Odds are the cold air masses will come in…move away…another air mass rebuilds up there and then comes south…then moves away. This may go through the 15-20th or so. From there…we’re probably going to be due for milder weather at some point as things relax.

Yet in spite of all this…there are no significant snows expected or showing up in the next 10 days or so. Part of my winter forecast was keyed on this cold air during the 1st 2-3 weeks of the month producing some decent accumulating snow. Right now nothing great is showing up…and IF that continues I may be revising my snow forecast on the 1st day of winter to what I was originally thinking earlier in November. We;ll see. The models don’t handle these changes well in the big picture the farther out you go…I’d be mildly surprised I think by the 20th, with all this cold air around…IF we can’t get something going snow wise.

Our feature photo comes from Bayley Holliday down in Pleasant Hill, MO…at least the dogs enjoyed the snowy weather!



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