Joe’s Weather Blog: Sunday snow risk increasing (FRI-2/9)

Happy Friday everyone. Mother Nature has started the transition to the colder weather in the region as a decent cold front has moved through. IF you were up overnight…it was pretty mild…temperatures were in the upper 40s. As of this writing though…we’re down into the 20s and we’re not going to warm-up that much for the rest of the day. Clouds will be streaming overhead throughout the day as well. The weekend will be cold for sure…and there is the increasing chance of at least some snow…the amounts still a bit of a question however which I’ll discuss in the blog.



Forecast:

Today: Mostly cloudy to cloudy skies. Temperatures will struggle with colder air moving into the area. Wind chills will be in the teens. Temperatures will be in the 20s

Tonight: Variable clouds and chilly with lows in the teens

Saturday: Mainly cloudy with highs around 20° or so. One thing to watch…maybe some freezing mist at times…or a couple of snow flakes especially from KC southwards. It should be remembered that it doesn’t take a lot of freezing mist/drizzle to create problems…it’s something to monitor.

Sunday: Morning snow then some afternoon sunshine. Chilly with highs in the 20s. Snow accumulations may be up to 2″ or so (more on this in the discussion)



Discussion: (IF you want the end of the story…just scroll all the way to the bottom)

Well it’s gotten cold that’s for sure. This was a well forecasted cold front from last weekend. I was expected this transition at some point today and it came in pretty quick this morning.

Here is the 9AM surface map…

The temperatures appear in RED…

So with the winds out of the north…colder air is spilling southwards.

So the weekend is cold.

I’m also somewhat concerned that there could be some freezing mist out there as well..from KC southwards during the morning at least. The lower part of the atmosphere will be rather saturated it appears, at least up to about 5,000 feet or so. The bottom 1,000 feet though isn’t totally saturated. With that said…and with there being so little lift happening, and drier air farther up, where snowflakes usually form, IF there was anything that would fall…it could be freezing mist. A little of that could go far…so pay attention to the windshields as you’re out and about tomorrow.

Overall though i’m not expecting much in the way of actual snow on Saturday into Saturday evening.

By Saturday night…probably after 10PM or so…we may start seeing some more freezing mist/drizzle or snowflakes spread into the region which would then transition over to some snow. It’s this period, from 10PM Saturday>10AM Sunday that we’ll be vulnerable to accumulating snows.

Once again however we’ll also see some areas get more than others. How the location of KC plays into that will remain somewhat of a mystery till later tomorrow it appears because one again I’m expecting some bands of snow to create more snow accumulations compared to areas outside those bands. With the system on Tuesday…2-3″ or so were connected to the band of snow that was only a couple of counties wide in Northern MO…this time a band should set-up closer of Metro KC…but data has this band either near the city or even towards the SE of the city. There also may be multiple bands in different spots.

Model data today is somewhat coming together…and the GFS model which has been poor, in my opinion, handling this particular playout, seems to be coming into line, so that is helpful.

I don’t like showing the snow forecasts off the model in this situation…because I do think the snow ratios will be better than 10:1 which is what most of the models covert to. So instead I show you the “liquid” equivalent then recalculate in my head how much I think we’ll get from a liquid standpoint and then convert it to snow.

Let’s start with the wettest model…the NAM model.

That’s widespread 1/4″ totals…with almost 1/2″ totals to the north of KC…which IF that plays out is widespread 3-7″ of snow.

The higher res NAM model shows less moisture…significantly so.

This would be more towards a dusting to about 2″ of snow

The new GFS run this morning is showing this…

This would be pretty solid 1-3″ with upside towards the SE of KC of 3-5″. It is trying to pick out bands…you can see it by the indicators north and SE of KC of the heavier liquid totals.

Whatever happens should rapidly end before lunch on Tuesday it appears.

There may be some decent snow rates near or before daybreak on Sunday in the bands that set up. IF one of these bands sets up in the I-35 corridor…I won’t be shocked if we get a fast 2-3″ of snow in the Metro…with the road issues to follow for church goers in the morning.

The hi-res NAM sort of has the right idea, I think, in terms of how this could play out from a “future radar” look

 

See that band of snow that comes through between about 4AM and 9AM, I realize it goes by fast…that would be the key to getting 2-3″ of snow

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So in a way I’m blending the hi-res NAM look with a small nod to the NAM moisture totals…but NOT going all in on the higher moisture totals from the NAM….

It’s sort of a little of this and a little of that.

I think the most likely end result is dusting to 2″ on average of snow for the KC area…some upside towards northern MO…of 4″. The accumulating snow though may happen quickly over the course of about 4 hours or so…so that’s why Sunday morning, in particular may be problematic.

Why am I not as gangbusters for bigger snows…I’m still bothered by several things…1) there isn’t a strong disturbance coming through 2) the lift or vertical velocity of the atmosphere appears disjointed to me…at one point were sort of rocking and rolling at around 18,000 feet but not so much below that…then a few hours later that good lift has moved on but we get some nice mid level lift…they’re not connected. I don’t like that. 3) I still wonder how dry air in the mid part of the atmosphere, where the snowflakes need to form…will affect things on Saturday night. 4) IF we’re reduced to a band of fast hitting snows from about 4 or 5AM – 9AM or so…it can only accumulate so fast.

On the plus side…the fluff factor will be improving during this event and maxing out about the time the best band of snow comes through.

So the bottom line…

  1. A cold weekend
  2. Be aware of some very light freezing mist or drizzle during the day Saturday, especially in the morning.
  3. No appreciable snow till later Saturday night
  4. Snow may max out near daybreak Sunday…it may snow at a decent clip for a few hours
  5. My feeling is right now dusting – 2″ of snow should be the range on average with higher totals towards the north of KC along the 36 highway corridor
  6. Worst road issues, assuming the snow happens, would be Sunday morning…church goers be aware of this
  7. Everything ends before lunch Sunday with clearing skies and some melting on the roads especially

My forecast confidence:

Nothing at all: 18%

Dusting to 2″: 70%

3-6″ of snow: 10%

More than 6″ of snow: 2%

Our feature photo comes from Travis Wessel…he’s been on point with his pictures lately!

I’ll keep an eye on things for you.

Joe