Joe’s Weather Blog: The coming cold (THU-10/26)

Well it’s been talked about for quite some time…and it’s definitely happening…but here is some context for you. This is AVERAGE…it’s supposed to happen on the last few days of the month. That’s right…the average first day of a freeze in KC is 10/27. It will be a day late. Now to be fair…when the month overall has been as warm as it’s been…sure it will be a cold slap in the face…but again…this is normal for KC.



Forecast:

Tonight: Windy and turning colder. Winds should gust to 30-40 MPH overnight. Temperatures will be dropping as well…into the 30-35° range by daybreak. Wind chills will be in the 20s by daybreak.

Friday: Blustery to say the least with mainly cloudy skies. It will be a real struggle to warm up…40-45° or so for highs with the wind making it feel cooler. NW winds of 15-25 MPH…a decent coat will be necessary for the kids at the bus stop

Saturday: Sunny but still chilly. A Freeze Warning is going to be in effect for most of the area. Lows near 25-30° or so. Still breezy out there too.

Sunday: Much nicer after a cold start. Lows in the 20s with highs well into the 50s…maybe even a few 60s out there.



Discussion:

The 2PM weather map is really a neat one for us weather geeks to look at.  The colder air is spilling southwards into the Plains as I type this and you’ll know it comes through when you notice an increase in the NW winds…and they will get very gusty this evening.

Here is the 2PM map…the cold front has actually pushed through the I-35 corridor…but the coldest air is lacking behind the front by about 100+ miles or so…it will rapidly catch up this evening.

Notice the red numbers…those are the temperatures. So ahead of the front temperatures (thanks to southwest winds) are running well into the 70s and even 80s. I’ve contoured those in in red for you. Now behind the front the winds are from the NW and the temperatures are dropping…near 40° in the western Plains and in the 40s and 50s along the I-80 corridor. That’s the colder air mass that is coming southwards this evening and tonight.

As the colder air sweeps in…it will squeeze out the atmosphere of moisture and that will result in clouds…and you can see the clouds streaming southwards on today’s satellite picture.

Notice the clouds surging southwards near the I-80 corridor region…that’s a good sign of the colder air on the move…and those clouds will be moving through the region later this evening.

The clouds moving in are going to be roughly a couple of thousand feet and a few thousand feet above the ground. I bring that up because I want to point out that the moisture is going to be what we refer to as “shallow”. There will be dry, chilly air at the surface…then the layer of moisture (clouds)…then dry chilly air above that layer. Why am I going down this road…because IF you want to see snowflakes…that’s not a good recipe for that to happen. We want to see moisture extending higher up through the atmosphere and we want to see “lift” to get that moisture to form into snow. That’s a key ingredient that’s missing.

Now take a look at the next map…it’s going to show where the deeper moisture is going to be…and that is across the upper Midwest…and yes it will snow up there over the next 48 hours. Notice also the lake Effect kicking in in the far western part of Michigan off of Lake Superior. This is an area that sees some 100-150″ a year on average…and typically in October they get a 1″-3″ snow…so it’s not surprising really.

Regardless…it’s going to be cold and colder for a couple of days.

Any warm-up we get on Sunday (average at best) will then be shunted southwards again as another chilly air mass comes down the Plains on Monday and lingering into Wednesday.

This colder weather though will be a rude awakening since we’ve been so mild for the month…so far (through yesterday) KCI is running 4.1° above average…not bad at all…and nationwide it’s been a warm month too for most areas.

The core of the cold will be focused in the middle part of the country over the next 5 days or so…and you can see this a bit better by going up a few thousand feet in the atmosphere and seeing the anomalies…

Notice the areas of warmth near and off both coasts. Typically when it’s way warm there…there has to be a middle cold region and that’s going to be the case (more or less) for the next 5 days.

Our feature photo…an apt one I guess as the sun is setting on our mild weather for awhile. It’s a sunset out at Kansas Speedway taken a few days ago by Mary Lynn Hawkins.

Joe

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