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Joe’s Weather Blog: Shaking the cold off (WED-3/15)

We’re now just about at the halfway point of March and today will be the 6th day in a row of below average temperatures in the KC area. After a warm 1st 9 days of the month…things have flipped for the time being. They are about to flip again however back to milder temperatures. Since we were so warm during the 1st 9 days of the month though…we’re still running about 1.6° above average. Taht number will come down further today though.


Forecast:

Today: Mainly cloudy with struggling temperatures and highs 35-40°

Tonight: Not as cold as this morning with lows near 30°

Thursday: Mixed clouds and sunshine. Breezy and more seasonably with highs around 60°

Friday: There may be some showers near daybreak then gradual clearing in the afternoon especially and highs in the mid 60s


Discussion:

Watching some of the amazing snow totals from the eastern part of the country role in. 20-40″+ came down in the interior northeast. The coastal sections were spared from the heaviest snow, much to the consternation of some. That was always going to be a tough forecast for the BIG cities including NYC. The snow/slop/sleet/rain line was going to be so close to them. NYC had about 8″…about 20 miles N/W had close to 15-20″ and farther N/W of the city had over 20″ of snow. Once again, from afar, there were messaging problems including the story that the NWS didn’t want to lower the snow totals at the last minute in an effort to keep a consistent message.

I’m not sure how I feel about that. On the TV side of things I would have NO issue pulling the plug at the last minute IF that was what the data was showing. I did look at some model data the night before the blizzard there and saw the strong indications that the coastal areas were going to have big issues with the precip type. In the end it’s our job to be right…and we’re all been in the situation before (ice storm that wasn’t really and others). This is where the entire weather enterprise needs to do better with regards to communicating the uncertainty of amounts. I know sometimes we drive people crazy by saying a 25-50 mile shift makes or breaks a forecast…but sometimes it’s so true…like what happened there. For much of the real estate the forecast was dead on…for the biggest population though it “wasn’t”. Around 8″ of snow is still a good wallop…but it’s about half of the forecast and that’s a perception that will be tough to shake. I have a seminar with my colleagues at the NWS on Monday…and plan on asking them about the NYC scenario and have a discussion about this event.

What’s fascinating is that amount of snow that did fall. These are some of the totals from last night…and in some cases it’s still snowing in the interior northeast as I type this.

 

I put all that together for you because I wanted to relate it to the biggest snowstorms in KC weather history going back to the 1880s. Our biggest 2 day event was 3/23-24 in 1912 with 24.2″ of snow. You can see how many areas of the interior northeast just cruised by that. The highest total I’ve seen there is 42″ in West Winfield, NY.

Meanwhile in KC this winter we’re up to almost 5″.

So we have that going for us.

We’re not really going to deal with any snow chances again for quite some time. There may be a few flurries out there today…but we’re going to be on the warmer side of things starting tomorrow. 60s and 70s will become more common here into early next week and while it’s about a week away…there are some signs of some wetter systems in the Plains during the last week of the month.

We could use it. These wimpy systems, whether rain or snow aren’t really doing much aside from keeping the dust in check. Here is the GFS forecast into NEXT Wednesday at 1AM…not so much for the moisture.

Finally today…I was a bit bored last night…and was having a bit of fun creating a new emoji of yours truly. I created 3 of them…which version do you like the best?

(1)                                (2)                                               (3)

Our feature photo comes from Connie Fidler in Higginsville, MO

Another blog update coming on Thursday.

Joe

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3 comments

  • Bud Simpson

    Joe, for me, part of what has to shade the “consistent message” New York forecast is the incredible number of commuters that rely on that information. It’s not at all uncommon for someone to live in Hartford, CT and take the train to work in Manhattan every day. It’s as though you were forecasting wx for Kansas City, but applying the information to everyone from Wichita to Des Moines to St. Louis. I know you’re from New York, and the idea that these three-hour commutes are not at all uncommon is not news to you, but a forecast that focuses too closely on an area the size of New York City and environs would be less than useful for all concerned, IMHO
    Keep up the good work. We’re back in the Missouri Ozarks until May, and your forecasts are incredibly useful for getting a jump on the weather here. – Bud

    • Joe Lauria

      They’re getting ripped pretty good. To me though if during a 10PM newscast I have to take a 20″ snowstorm and knock it down to a 4-8″ snowstorm I’m doing it. With that said the NWS and TV have a different set of end users to a certain degree. I want to be right in the end…no matter what. I don’t want to be wrong with a forecast because the NWS or whomever or whatever model says differently.