Joe’s Weather Blog: How there could be flakes later today (TUE-10/31)

Happy Halloween! It will be a chilly one that’s for sure…even this morning…we’re starting in the mid 20s…that’s more than  15° below average and with highs only in the lower 40 (at best)…it will be one of the coldest Halloweens in KC weather history and the coldest (for highs) since 2002, some 15 years ago.



Forecast:

Today: Becoming cloudy with a chance of some sprinkles or perhaps even a mix of some rain and flakes or ice pellets. Highs today will only be around 40° or so…and for this evening temperatures will quickly drop into the 30s.

Tonight: Any evening sprinkle/flurry/ice pellet will end by 7-8 PM then skies will be mostly cloudy overnight. Cold with lows in near 30°

Wednesday: There may be a surge of some lower clouds to contend with…that could reduce our max temperature potential as I mentioned yesterday. Highs may range from near 50° with a lot of clouds to well into the 50s IF the clouds are thinner or are more broken. It will be windier as well…and that will make things “feel” chillier.



Discussion:

So about those flakes…or something.

I’m monitoring radar trends this mornin.g…and I call your attention (if you’re reading this in the AM) to what’s happening out across western KS.

Now a lot of that is evaporating before it reaches the ground out there…remember yesterday’s blog of what that is called? VIRGA!

Now take a look at the surface map…and look at a couple of things…one being the numbers in RED…those are the temperatures…the other being the symbol between the red/green (dew points). Where you see the * or ** … that represents flurries (*) or light snow (**). Notice, despite the look of radar this morning…the only area seeing that snow reach the ground (this morning) is way out towards the CO border. Also notice that out there the red/green numbers are closer together…indicating more saturation, whereas the red/green numbers have a bigger difference farther east…this tells me that the air is drier (right now). That will be something else to watch today as the atmosphere tries to saturate as the day moves along.

Let me show you the HRRR model…this is a short range model that goes out to about 16 hours and is frequently updated through the day for you.

Now as you see that blob of precip (some sort of mixture in the afternoon) moving across KS towards KC…it will be weakening…so we’ll have a weakening area of precip moving into a dry air mass towards the state line. That’s not a great combination to get stuff to the ground BUT it’s certainly NOT out of the question that we could get something rather light to move through at least parts of the area. Perhaps the better chance of the atmosphere saturating is from KC southwards.

So don’t be surprised this afternoon/evening.

How can we see flakes…well I’ve looked at the forecast profile of the atmosphere towards the late afternoon and early evening…and they show that the air above the surface will be below freezing just a couple of thousand feet up. When I see that I start to wonder IF something frozen could make it down to the ground after all. The bottom 1-2 thousand (from the ground up) though will be around 35-40° or so…so there will be melting involved as well.

So a bit of a conundrum and something that at least is worth a mention so that you’re not saying to yourself…what’s the deal? Now you know!

The next issue for Wednesday is a gulf surge of moisture, in the form of low level clouds. This morning there is a lot of cloud cover down across the TX gulf coast. Notice again by using the surface map…the blue dots…that shows lots of low level cloud cover.

Right now the surface winds down there are from the north…but overnight they switch towards the south and the winds above us will really start increasing from the south…that will send this moisture northwards fast into Wednesday. It won’t be very thick (only a couple of thousand feet thick [if that]) so IF there is enough wind, it’s possible that the clouds may be more broken at times than a dense low overcast. Another front moves in later on THU and that will sweep that moisture away.

I should mention that at this point there are no significant storms (in terms of precipitation) heading this way in the next 7-10 days or so, if not longer.

So our weather is interesting…and not interesting at the same time. Also of note is a BIG warm-up potentially on Sunday BUT it will depend on the timing of a fast moving cold front…IF it holds off long enough…we’ll be in the 70s!

Our feature photo today is a stunner from Savannah Whitesell of Savy Photos Photography

Hillsdale Lake

Joe

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