White Christmas For Some

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Good morning, with our weather so quiet, and looking to stay that way for the next 5+ days, today’s blog is being written by our FOX 4 uber intern, Kristy who attends IA State and one day may replace me… (j/k…I think)

We’re watching a storm system that has affected most of west Texas for the last several days, the snowfall for down there, from Midland to Amarillo has been impressive for such a large area of western TX. This storm will be giving us cloudcover today and maybe a few light showers/sprinkles. Overall though it’s looking to be another mild week around here, especially WED-SAT. There are indications that we may get a fast moving surge of some arctic air sometime in about a week or so…unless we get some snowcover up to the north of here, which right now doesn’t look promising, and unless atmospheric  blocking gets established, which also looks unlikely, it’s tough for me to imagine that this will be nothing but a transient, typical for January shot of cold air that lasts a couple of days or so, before the Pacific flow of air pushes this airmass away from the region and more seasonable air replaces it. Again that’s about a week away so there will be plenty of time to see if things can change. Still there are no snowstorms in the foreseeable future. The latest we’ve gone without having our 1st inch of snow, is back in the winter of 1988/89 when we had to wait for the 1st week of February for us to finally get that 1st inch of snow…interestingly there was a raging La Nina that year and also a very high Arctic Oscillation in progress for most of that winter. By the way, I released this info on twitter last night (fox4wx), the last time KC had highs in the 50s on Christmas Eve & Day was back in 1963 (52 and 57 degrees).

Now onto our guest blog for the day!

Let me first start by saying I hope everyone had an enjoyable Christmas!

Weather-wise, much of the country experienced a pretty quiet Christmas, which is good in terms of travel, but not so good if you were “dreaming of a white Christmas. ” Who saw a white Christmas?

This lack of snowfall for Christmas, or really this year in general, is the subject of today’s blog.

Interestingly enough, many states around us who normally see large amounts of snow are significantly under their normal snowfall values. Let me throw out a couple of numbers. Marquette, MI (see map below for location) normally sees about 63.5″ of snow in a year. This year, Marquette, MI has only seen 39.8″ of snow. That is 2 feet under the normal snowfall value.

Marquette, MI isn’t the only city with below average snowfall. Alpena, MI is 20.8″ below normal. Detroit, -2.9″, International Falls, MN -10.4″, Green Bay, WI -9.6″ and even us here in Kansas City are 5″ below normal. Now, while all of the above mentioned cites, among many others, are lacking in cumulative yearly snowfall totals, many folks in Texas experienced a white Christmas and as you can probably guess, that doesn’t happen very often. Amarillo has received 9.7″(!)…Midland, TX has already received 8.9″ of snow and El Paso, 3.1″.

Why is it that these cities in Texas who normally receive little or no snow are getting more snow than that of areas up north, like Green Bay, WI, who normally receive pretty significant amounts?

The best explanation would be the temperatures. Take a look at a Skew-T for us here in Kansas City from Christmas Eve compared to the Skew-T from Midland, TX on Christmas Eve. Note: To have snow, red temperature line and brown dew point line must be below freezing (in F) from the upper levels all the way to the surface)


Here is a look at temperatures around the country, corresponding to why many of the cities we looked at earlier in this blog are hurting in terms of their cumulative snowfall.

So, what do you take from all of this? Snowfall amounts are down from normal for many cities across the country. Warmer than average temperatures are one cause of this lack of snowfall. For all of you enjoying these warmer temperatures, but still wanted to see that white Christmas, unfortunately, you can’t have it both ways. If you want to know how this lack of snow will impact us later in the year (technically next year), take a look at the weather blog from last Friday. In terms of the rest of 2011, will our snow totals improve? Luckily for you (or unluckily if you want to see snow) we will not be seeing any snow around Kansas City. Temperatures will be hanging out above average, maybe even hitting 50F by the last day of the year. Enjoy the nice weather while lasts. As it is now technically winter, this weather isn’t going to stick around forever, we will experience some true winter soon, just not this year.

Once again, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!


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