Joe’s Weather Blog: Enjoy now because the arctic hounds are howling (WED-12/28)

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Temperatures in the region are nicely above average once again today for the 12th time this month and for a month that had some bitterly cold weather from the 6th>19th (more or less) we’re only about 3 degrees below average and that will shrink somewhat more before the month is done.


Tonight: Fair skies and chilly with lows 25-30°

Thursday: mostly sunny and breezy. Cooler too with highs in the mid 40s

Friday: After a chilly start…breezy and a bit milder with highs around 50°


I’m on a stretch of a lot of straight days working…which rarely bothers me since I like this stuff so much but when it coincides with great early winter weather for you…that usually means it’s somewhat boring for me…and that’s the case right now. Sunshine and temperatures in the 40s and 50s for about a week straight isn’t very exciting to talk about so I’ve been doing a lot of snow graphics and perspective type graphics on the weathercasts this week and talking a bit about the colder weather coming next week.

I’ve also been blogging about this colder weather as well…and today we’ll spend the rest of the blog talking about it since there isn’t really anything else to write about right now…

A few things off the top…I’m not overly excited about the significant snow potential with this change. The GFS model last night may have gotten some folks excited…but the ensembles didn’t do a lot for me personally…and the EURO isn’t in the camp of anything too exciting. Today’s run of the GFS took a 3-7″ fantasy snowstorm and converted it to snow showers on Tuesday and even that may be a push as the flow of colder and drier air may overwhelm things.

As I talk about next week’s arctic air mass…I thought we’d use the perspective of the air mass that came in on the 17th…that sent temperatures on the 18th down to -9° at the surface (with snow on the ground).

To do that and to take out the effects of snow cover I want to see what the temperatures were like a few thousand feet above the ground…this would be the 925 mb pressure level. Here is the map for Sunday morning the 18th…


Temperatures are in RED…they are also in °C. So for us…we use the observation from the sounding (balloon launch) from Topeka, KC. -19°C is the same as -2.2°F at that level…

So I we use that as a baseline for the reason why surface temperatures dropped areawide to  -8 to -18°…lets see what the forecast is at that level in the forecast air mass next week…

Let’s use the EURO model…this would be for next Wednesday at 6AM…


Temperatures at the same level as the map above…in this forecast map are -17°C or +1°F

Yes this is bitterly cold air…and it’s going to hang around into next weekend it appears. It’s NOT forecast to be as bitterly cold as the air mass on the 18th at that level.

Once we try and figure out the temperatures at the surface however it does get trickier. Will there be snow on the ground…allowing temperatures to tank to -5° or colder? Odds favor NO at this point. Will there be wind circulating and stirring the air to keep temperatures from free falling. This is possible. Will there be cloud cover to keep what little surface heat we have closest to the ground and not radiating back into space…creating colder temperatures? This too is possible…some lower clouds are showing up in the EURO model forecast…this may also keep temperatures above 0°.

The GFS model has roughly the same look for next WED AM…but then gets colder on THU AM of next week…sending temperatures at 925 mb down to -21°C or close to -6°F at that level. The GFS also shows NO snow on the ground of consequence for later next week. It also shows LOTS of lower clouds…keeping temperatures from dropping to their potential.

So what do I think? Right now I’m thinking the coldest we get is around +1 to +7° or so. Clouds will certainly dictate the accuracy of that forecast…because IF we lose the clouds…I see a pathway for 0 to -5° temperatures sometime later next week. By the same token…it seems to me that this could be a recipe for some mid cloud cover as I look at the upper air forecasts for next Thursday

It appears Tuesday will be the transition day as colder air should be pouring in during the day into Tuesday night.

It’s a cold look for sure regardless of how you dice it up. Needless to say I agree with this outlook from NOAA.

There’s always Florida for most of next week if you want to get out of the colder weather regime in the Plains…although they too may get colder sometime next weekend.

Attention snow lovers…

I’m not overly optimistic about how the snow is going to work out for awhile. While posting 16 day GFS model forecasts aren’t the greatest idea in the world…I just hate seeing this…


Ummm that’s not a good look for snow in the KC area.

The forecast off the latest EURO model over the next 10 days (note the 6 day final product different…is not easy on the eyes IF you want snow.


Can we waste another impressive 6-12 days of cold air in the Plains? It’s possible…and that would be wasted air mass #2 this winter…

Our feature photo is from Anna Meyers towards Stilwell, KS. A rare Christmas rainbow…



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1 Comment

  • Rockdoc

    As always Joe, your thoughts and logic are very much appreciated. I too noticed the drying of the upper layers as the “storm” rolled in on Tuesday.

    My take is that the 925mb to 850mb rule what we end up seeing. 500mb vort great for Jetstream and potential, but devil is in details in lower layers.

    Again, thanks!!!