Joe’s Weather Blog: It’s Groundhog Day! (it feels that way for the last 4 years) (FRI-2/2)

Good morning…it’s cold out there with single digit lows starting our Friday in KC. We will moderate today and tomorrow and then turn colder heading to finish the weekend. The title of the blog is in reference to the fact that it feels every winter for the last 4 years…has been about the same when it comes to snow…a dusting here…a dusting there…1-2″ here…1-2″ there and that’s about it.. Sunday will mark the 4 year anniversary of our last “significant” snow in the KC area…4 years since we saw over 3″ of snow in 1 day…4 years since we’ve had over 6″ of snow in one day…4 years. IF you’re a snow lover that’s 1460 days ago (including today)…1460 days. My goodness. It is like the premise of the movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray.

Over and over again…

Winter of 2015-16: 5.9″

Winter of 2016-2017: 4.9″

This Winter (so far): 4.9″

That’s what it feels like when it comes to winter around KC…



Forecast:

Today: A mix of sunshine and high clouds…highs well into the 30s. Getting rather breezy in the afternoon.

Tonight: Not as cold with south winds helping out. Temperatures will initially drop into the 20s and then sort of level off or maybe even come up a few degrees. It may get windy again overnight to with gusts to 35+ MPH possible

Saturday: Partly cloudy, windy and warmer with highs around 50°. Windy too with gusts to 35 MPH possible.

Sunday: Turning colder again…temperatures dropping into the 20s as the morning moves on..and then leveling off in the 20-25° range. There should be some light snow in the area as well…accumulations will be under 1″



Discussion:

So let’s dispense with the Phil situation…right off the bat…for those who dislike winter…sorry.

Ironically…spring starts on March 20th at 8:16 AM I think…about 6 weeks from today. SHOCKING!

On another note…

Seems as if Phil has a “bias” when it comes to this stuff.

Then again…

But hey…the likes love reading the books…and a lot of adults got a kick out of the movie, including me so it’s all good.

At least for the next couple of weeks…there are going to be some days when Phil will be absolutely right…then again it’s early February out there…and yes…did you know it can actually snow in KC in February. I’ve heard it happens sometimes…not really lately…but back in history I think <sarcasm>

So on that note there actually are a couple of things we’re watching. One system is for Sunday…that looks to be a minor, if any, type of event. There will be a small wave coming SEwards through the Plains…the problem is a dump of cold air is going to be coming in before the snow gets here early Sunday before daybreak. This will allow drier air to rush in as this weak little disturbance is falling apart and weakening as it moves through the region. Not exactly a recipe for much snow. So that would be chance #1…again if it amounts to anything it will be in the dusting to 1″ range it appears for most areas.

On Sunday the cold air coming into the region will be somewhat similar in scope to yesterday except perhaps a few degrees colder…

On Monday we start watching a somewhat stronger wave coming through the NW part of the country. This wave, depending on how well it holds together may be a decent snow producer on Tuesday in the region…but it’s still VERY suspect. The EURO is still the most bullish with this…

The wave itself actually looks rather decent on the EURO by Tuesday as it comes up through the southern Plains region into southern MO…this along with increasing moisture aloft would favor a breakout of snow through parts of eastern KS and western MO. Yesterday the atmosphere was trying to warm-up to near or above 32° (above the surface) from near the I-70 corridor southwards…today that’s not the case thanks to a slightly more southern track. As a matter of fact the EURO (fwiw) actually has a decent high ratio type snow around here…powdery that adds up nicely (depending on your perspective).

The GFS model…last night had nothing then early this morning has “something”.

As opposed to posting a lot of maps in the upper levels of the atmosphere…that will come tomorrow…here is a look at how the 2 models are cranking out “liquid” precipitation. 1st the EURO…these maps show the 24 hours of totals that end at 6PM Tuesday when things would be winding down.

Those are actually nice bands of 1/10-1/3″ of liquid…which given the cold air in place would translate into some decent powdery snows locally. It would be a nightmare to forecast the locations of the heaviest snow with that set-up because that’s a case of 2″ for some and 4+” for others…but that would be on the table IF the EURO is right…big IF.

The GFS on the other hand has this much “liquid” equivalent.

That’s about the same…close to 1/4″ or so…with heavier amounts just SW and south of the area…so at least the 2 models are doing “something”.

Now IF these maps are close…then the stretch of what would now be 1463 (on Monday) would be potentially in jeopardy. Although IF this is more of a banded type storm with wider ranges of accumulations…even that is not set in stone (officially in KC…up at KCI)

Look it’s 3+ days away at this point…and I really don’t want to get too into the weeds on this right now…I may though write a brief update this afternoon with the new data coming in. Over the weekend we’ll get more into the shape of the disturbance and it’s location. Will it be in chunks (which would be typical of this scenario) creating these heavier banded areas…with it pass too far south like many of the others? How much dry air will it be fighting at first as the snow is spreading into the area?

Friday Afternoon update: Well the EURO is going all in…and actually has the biggest snowstorm in years in the KC area…it’s also colder indicating the higher ratios that would pile the snow up as well…the GFS isn’t as bullish with the totals but is enough to create the biggest snow of the season thus far…again not much of a snow season to compare it too however.

The bottom line at this point is that somethings there…whenever a model paints a bullseye on top of the KC metro 4 days out…with something rather suspect still when looking at the upper air portrait I’m extremely suspicious. Even IF the disturbance was stronger looking…the chances of a model verifying correctly 4 days out with the amounts the EURO is cranking out is not the greatest. North shifts and south shifts are always in play…but at least there’s still “something” there to talk about…it’s not as if today’s data shows everything going away totally.

I’m reminded of this graphic I saw from the NWS in Chicago the other day when it comes to snow forecasting…

or this one from my colleagues at the NWS in Kansas City…it’s a somewhat oldie but a goodie.

I think you get the idea…

So perhaps the Groundhog will be right and at least for the next couple of weeks…it’ll keep feeling like winter!

Our feature photo comes from Sarah Holloway…of the super blue blood moon on Wednesday morning.

Joe

 

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