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Joe’s Weather Blog: More fast hitting snows…then bitterly cold (SUN-1/14)

Good afternoon…another 1″ or so of snow in the area overnight and early this morning. Last night I thought I highlighted to part of the region nicely that was going to get more snow…towards Lawrence and vicinity…sure enough some totals were closer to 3″ out there from Lawrence towards Garnett. Locally not as much…I measured 1″ at both my house on the south part of KC and also at the station. The Airport came in though with 1.7″…so that’s the biggest “snow” of the year. I’m not really sure we can call these events “snowstorms” though. I wouldn’t call about 1/10″ moisture a “rain” storm unless it came down in 5 minutes…Heck though we’re closing in on 4″ for the season and my forecast from last night of up to about 1 1/2″ for the KC area was solid. Tonight brings a new set of problems in the area.



Forecast:

Tonight:  (updated at 7:15 PM): Quick hitter snows with up to about 1″ or so possible. Some may do a bit better than that. Amounts could be heavier south of KC…perhaps up to 2″ possible from Sedalia>Clinton>Pleasanton>Garnett, KS. Roads may get icy (untreated especially) because the arctic front will move in around 3AM or so sending daybreak temperatures downwards to around 10° (!). This may be another flash freezing scenario overnight…hardest hit will be untreated surfaces.

Monday: Variable clouds and cold with highs only in the teens and sub-zero wind chills

Monday night: Bitterly cold with sub-zero lows likely BUT skies have to be clear to occur. IF we don’t have clear skies…lows will be closer to 0°. Wind chills may be 10 to 25 below as well depending on how cold we get. With the clear skies…lows will be closer to 5 below.

Tuesday: A struggle with partly cloudy skies. Highs near 10°.



Discussion:

Pipe bursting cold weather and the potential for additional flash freezing overnight is a big concern this afternoon. There will be wind overnight as the arctic air drives into the area…but IF the roads don’t dry out…and if they’re wet or white do to snow…things may be messy again in the morning. Be alert for this. Tomorrow is a holiday so schools are out and many aren’t working…so we really won’t have a rush hour BUT what we do have may be slick…especially on untreated surfaces.

The snow overnight and early this morning behaved nicely with the forecast. Here are the totals…

and on the KS side…

This was another very “dry” snow system. The air was cold enough to allow the flakes to almost have a “sugar”-like consistency.  Tonight’s snow…will be a “wetter” snow…as a matter of fact there may be some rain drops mixed in at first, especially SW of KC…then we should get a few hours of snow. It shouldn’t amount to that much for KC…probably less that round one…but if anything melts…or with the snow melting this afternoon…then we get a flash freeze later tonight…lows tumble to 10° by daybreak…my concern is that we could see the fast development of ice again before daybreak.

On the plus side (not sure if that’s the right phrase)…there will be a lot of wind after whatever falls moves away…20+ MPH winds will try to dry things out as well…so it’s not exactly the same set-up as what happened on Thursday but still I’d be prepared.

The focus on Monday>Wednesday morning will be on the bitterly cold weather expected. Last week I blogged about the set-up for sub-zero lows on Tuesday and Wednesday. That part really hasn’t changed. The lower few thousand feet of this incoming air mass is just as cold as what happened on New Years Day when we tanked to -11°. IF you remember though my bitter cold night ingredients…you need the cold air…we have that. You need the dry air…we have that. You need light/calm winds…we won’t really have that and you need clear skies…that is a question mark right now.

Putting this all together…I suspect lows may be near from 0 to -5° Tuesday AM and again on Wednesday AM…the winds Wednesday AM will be switching towards the SW before daybreak…that should stall any drop in temperatures. So it’s a matter of how fast we drop Tuesday night before we start to level off.

Either way…IF you have pipes that are prone to freezing…you may want to spread the word about taking the proper precautions.

We’ll start moderating towards the end of the week with 50s very possible on Saturday ahead of our next storm system that will need to be monitored. The GFS is awfully bullish with this in terms of snow production. The EURO not so much and essentially dry slots our area with maybe some backside light snow on Sunday.

Here is where ensemble data can help out from this far away, to see if the operational models are onto something or not. Look at the operational model of the GFS…for mid-day Sunday the 21st.

That would be a raging snowstorm that snow lovers will finally be happy about. BUT…and it’s a biggie…let’s see what the ensemble runs say. Remember ensembles members are averaged out to a “mean”.  The members themselves have slightly different initial conditions or physics as their starting point so you end up getting different results in the end. By taking all these together…you get an idea IF the operational model is onto something or more or less “on it’s own”…and in this case it’s more or less on it’s own :( for snow lovers. The maps below are every “member” and for the same time period…noon on Sunday the 21st. See how many below sort of come close to the map above…the more that are the same-ish…the more confidence that the operational model is onto something.

I count 3 out of the 21. Ummm that’s NOT a confidence builder.

Now look at the EURO forecast for the same time…

Not really like the GFS operational (although at least they both show a storm) and actually more like some of the GFS ensembles to a certain degree.

Look let’s keep this storm in the rear view mirror from 7 days out…but IF you see on social media, or your apps, or where ever about this monster snow coming our way next weekend…take that information with a grain of salt please…till at least next Thursday or Friday.

Our feature photo comes from one of our desk folks in the new room who monitor scanners and assign crews to the different things happening in KC (among other duties). This is from Bob Brown outside the station overnight

Joe

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5 comments

  • Richard

    Thanks Joe
    So we will wait and see the dloser we get to Sunday.
    In the meantime I will have my faucets dribbling the next 3 nights. Many nights already this month.
    BOTH Hot and cold taps, on outsude walls should be dripping. Advice from my plumber friend.
    But 2 wks ago, I read that some inside wall pipes and even some basement bathroom pipes froze up here in KC metro.
    Hate to see what my water bill will be next month ! But better than an expensive plumbing bill.

  • Rockdoc

    Thanks Joe. Great write up. I appreciate your take on next weekend’s potential snow “storm”. Especially the operational run compared to the ensembles.

    As for tonights system, I’m more worried about the freezing drizzle, although if it warms up slightly then it could change over to rain and effectively melt the ice. Then the snow arrives followed by increasing wind and temperature drop. Maybe we get lucky and the winds dry off some surfaces prior to the snow. I just scrapped off my car windshield and put the wipers up. Laid down salt around the car in hope of preventing icing for when I go to clean it off again.

    Radar is currently showing light freezing drizzle, but it must not be reaching the ground.

    • Joe Lauria

      Well whatever it is…and it seems to be mostly snow/sleet for most of KC proper…it won’t last too much longer…drying out between 1-2 AM if that late…amounts should be under 1″ for most I think.