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Joe’s Weather Blog: New month…better snow chances (THU-2/1)

Good morning…a blustery day out there so far as a surge of colder air has moved into the region early this morning. When the day is done…the stats of the day will show average temperatures for highs with temperatures today reaching 41°…but that occurred around 2-3AM or so…since then we’ve been heading downwards and we’re not going to warm-up much at all today. Also of note are a couple of possibilities for snow…including accumulating snows…one doesn’t look to be that big of a deal (sort of like we’ve seen all winter)…and there is a second one that, it’s early, but may be a bigger deal.



Forecast:

Today: It’s going to be a real struggle to warm-up. Mostly sunny this afternoon Highs today were earlier in the day…during the day though we should only be in the 20s

Tonight: Clearing and cold…lows in the single digits.

Friday: Not as cold…highs in the 30s with more sunshine but may still be a lot of higher clouds filtering out that sunshine.

Saturday: We should be warmer and windier too. Highs well into the 40s. Mostly cloudy skies

Sunday: Some snow is possible. Right now accumulations look to be 1″ or less (if even that) with mid afternoon temperatures near 20-25°, IF it does snow it would be a light powdery snow. Temperatures will actually be warmer in the wee hours of the morning than the afternoon after the colder air starts dumping into the area (sort of like today actually). Monday looks to be near or above 32° so IF you don’t want to shovel it…it will mostly melt.



Discussion:

Let’s start today with a look at the 1st 2 months of winter…and compare it to last year…

First 2018 (DEC>JAN). There are the highs and lows with the brown area showing the average range in temperatures from day to day. You can clearly see the warmer than average start to December…followed by the colder weather before Christmas to essentially mid January…then another bout of mildness for the last 10+ days of the month.

Thus far our average temperature this winter (again 12/1-1/31) has been 30.3°. That places this winter as 47th coldest out of some 130 winters in the books. So in the top half of coldest winters.

Now let’s go back to last winter…again from 12/1/16-1/31/17 and use that as a comparison.

Through 1/31 /17…last winter the average temperature was 31.2° so about a degree “less cold”. It’s weird because comparing the 2 winters (so far) this year certainly shows more below average days (blue bars (daily range) in the blue shading.

Last winter we were ranked 58th coldest…or about 1/2 way from the coldest to the warmest in KC weather history.

Let’s break it down farther…

December ’16 vs December ’17: -1.4° vs +.6° (compared to average)

January ’17 vs January ’18: +3.5° vs -.4° (compared to average)

Yet there is only about 10 place ranking shift between the 2 winters (so far)…from 47th this winter to 58th last winter.

Onwards…

The 8AM surface map shows colder air spilling southwards this morning…

The RED numbers above show the temperatures at 8AM…we’re in the mid 20s and there are single digits up towards the I-80 corridor in NE and IA. That’s some chilly air…nothing crazy but still…cold spilling towards our area today. IF the sun was going to be a bigger factor it might help the cause but there are a LOT of clouds streaming eastwards this morning.

This is the visible picture which will show the clouds during the daylight (duh!) and should auto-update as the day moves along.

IF you look closely there is still snow on the ground in parts of NE up through MN…there continues to be a rather substantial snow “hole” into SD though…that’s been the case for many days this winter.

Nationwide 29% or so of the terrain is under a blanket of snow…

So what about our prospects for snow locally?

The Sunday thing still looks to be a “minor” event for us…sort of like what we’ve seen for most of the winter. A powdery 1″ or so certainly possible. The air will again be getting colder through the day it appears. We’ll probably have some sort of early morning high well in the 30s and then the nasty cold air will be dumping in to the area as the morning moves along, So temperatures by the afternoon will be colder than the morning it appears…

As this is happening some disorganized lift to the air will be coming down int he flow from western NE and the northern Plains so snow should break out in NE and even northern KS and streak towards the ESE…how well it holds together in the colder and drier air moving into the area remains to be seen. The data this morning is not too encouraging and indicates that between the weak lift and the colder and drier air moving in quickly the snow coming towards the area will have a tough time making it all the way to us. Again, at this point this doesn’t look to be too big of a deal for Super Bowl Sunday.

IF you have plans to go to a party or whatever…I wouldn’t be too concerned about it. The air mass coming in though will be a colder one than the air mass today by several degrees, especially just above the surface, so you could see how temperatures again may be closer to 20° in the afternoon on Sunday as opposed to the mid 20s+ of today.

Then we try to moderate on Monday ahead of the next dump of cold air coming on Tuesday. With this next dump however…there’s going to be some sort of disturbance tracking through the Plains and that’s important.

That disturbance will turn the winds towards the south and southwest aloft as Monday moves along…this will allow warmer and moister air to surge northwards Monday evening and overnight into Tuesday. As this is happening there will be some sort of surface low down towards the I-44 corridor. This means that the surface winds will be from the NE>E later Monday>Tuesday…and the winds above us will be from the south for awhile on Tuesday AM.

This is a potential recipe for precipitation…BUT there are caution flags. The disturbance doesn’t look the greatest…also of note…will the air above us creep to 32°+ for awhile meaning what does fall may not entirely be snow? Some sort of wintry mix? The model data has the freezing line (above the surface essentially right at the I-70 corridor). The “significantness” whole thing already looks somewhat suspicious to me. Certainly worth monitoring though.

The ensembles to the models are NOT nearly as bullish in terms of cranking out the precipitation amounts. YES to some but mostly NO to a lot. They’re quite a bit less than the operational GFS model which is cranking out over 1/2″ liquid. There is typically a wet bias with this model especially in days 4-7. The EURO model has “something” but also has the better totals closer to the surface low towards the I-44 corridor. Actually it’s ensembles seem to have MORE precip going than it’s operational model which is a bit “different”. So again let’s not discount what could happen on Tuesday right now…but hold the excitement for a few more days at least. (NOTE: the afternoon data on this Thursday was more bullish for Tuesday on the EURO model and fair on the GFS model. The EURO was particularly interesting I think. There would be some precip type questions at the onset for awhile…more of a sleet or snow issue than anything else but the snow was a healthy shot…and the most significant snows we’ve seen since 2/4/14)

IF this disturbance was beefier I’d be more excited…then again with our luck (snow lovers) we’d have even more warm air coming in aloft creating more wintry mix issues at the onset if that was the case.

Again this is 5 days away…and really we’ve seen how the winter has gone…right snow lovers?

Our feature photo comes from Mark Van Baale…nice sunset last night!

Joe

 

 

 

 

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