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Joe’s Weather Blog: About the weekend snows… (THU-2/9)

Good afternoon…nice to get some milder weather in the region today with temperatures at KCI at 50°…the winds aren’t exactly helpful BUT at least it feels somewhat better out there. Our morning low was 17° though…so it’s been a nice turnaround. To be fair however we did wake up to temperatures in the 20s. Colder air returns on Friday and the weekend is going to get awfully chilly again. Beyond that though…there is a question about snow…and while we should see some snow in the region…with accumulations again likely…I’m not aboard yet for big snows like what some models are portraying again.



Forecast:

Tonight: Clouds and “mild” for February with lows near 30°

Friday: Whatever warming we get will occur before 10AM or so…so it’s possible we could be in the 35-40° range in the Metro before falling into the 20s by lunch and dropping farther in the afternoon. North winds of 10-20 MPH will make it feel colder with the front moving through as well.

Saturday: Cloudy skies and cold with highs near 20°. There may be some flurries or perhaps a patch of light snow. Accumulations should be minor if any for KC. N MO may see 1-3″ towards the IA border.

Saturday night: A better chance of a few bands of light to moderate snow. Temperatures will hold steady around 15°

Sunday: Some light snows possible in the AM…then mostly cloudy skies with maybe some sun in the afternoon. Highs 20-25°



Discussion:

Another seasonably strong cold front will be coming into the region on Friday and will again take what little mild weather we enjoyed to day and push it well south of the KC region. At least though we can enjoy the afternoon. Check out the surface map today…showing the temperatures in RED…

Now let me add in a cold front…can you spot where it is?

In reality it’s probably more like a stationary front…because it’s really not moving but it does separate colder air…mid 20s towards the I-80 corridor and 40s-50s along the I-70 corridor.

There is even colder air poised to move southwards tonight into Friday…and you can see that more clearly as we head up into the northern Plains region.

Notice the <10° and under numbers especially in SD/ND.

So it’s going to get cold…no doubt about that.

As this is happening at the surface…and as a cold area of high pressure builds in over the weekend…drier air will be circulating southwards in the region, especially below 10,000 feet or so…and that’s a conundrum because…

The models are cranking out snow…and the GFS model is going nutty again. Hence if you’re looking around at just snow maps…you’re going to see big numbers…and if there are sources sending out those big numbers…good luck with that. Actually with the cold air in place and the snow ratios favoring higher totals…whatever totals their cranking out should probably be even higher.

I don’t think it’s realistic.

There are still no strong disturbances heading this way…there is still dry air feeding southwards that may chew on whatever falls for awhile. The “lift” to me doesn’t appear overly focused…and there is a littany of other things “wrong” with this set-up from what I can see at this point.

So why are some models cranking out the moisture…I believe it’s because of favorable jet stream dynamics coming into play. I will try to make this easy…it’s a more complex discussion and I’m going to smooth over a few things to make it somewhat more bearable for you.

I think we’re all familiar with the term jet stream. It’s basically like a river of air that flows through the atmosphere. There are different elevations of different types of jet streams…but fort the purpose of this discussion we’re going to be looking up above 20,000 feet or so. the reason why…depending on where the jet stream is and where air is either entering or departing the jet stream…it may correspond to air that can rise…below jet stream level…or air that sinks below the jet stream.

This is a very basic look at what I’m talking about…the areas that we watch for are the Right Rear part of the jet and the Left Front part of the jet stream for areas of lift. In reality what I’m showing you is a jet streak…which is an area of stronger winds within a jet stream

OK now let me show you the model forecast off the NAM model…to understand this better…you have to tilt the map above about 45°. This is the model forecast for early Sunday morning…I’ve hatched in the areas of lift that would be associated with the jet..approximately.

that’s what we’re dealing with this weekend I think. So there may be lift BUT with the drier surface air up to about 5-10,000 feet or so…that will chew on what snow does fall.

The lack of any sort of strong wave…just this continued flow of some moisture above the low level cold air doesn’t overly excite me for lot of snow locally like what the GFS model is showing right now.

My feeling is that this will be another dusting to 2″ event for the area with perhaps some upside to 3″…with more upside towards the north of KC from Atchison to Trenton and into N MO once again.

Meanwhile if you want real snow…

Finally because the initial surge of cold air tomorrow doesn’t go that high up into the atmosphere for areas farther south of KC…towards Butler/Sedalia/Cinton/Pleasanton/Garnett…it’s not out of the question we could see some freezing mist/drizzle later Friday into Saturday. That will need to be monitored because as all the accidents on the MO side on Tuesday showed…it won’t take much of that to create some real headaches.

My thanks to Trailwood Elementary in Overland Park and a shoutout to the 3rd graders there!

Our feature photo comes from Elizabeth Coutu…nice sunrise!

Joe

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