One Weird Storm And Lots Of Warmth!

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Let’s start with the latter part of that headline since confidence is increasing that next week has the potential and that is increasing of being the warmest week in the KC area since the Oct 21st, 2011 run of warm weather. Highs potentially may clip the 80s if things work out for some areas and several days, if not more are expected to be in the 70s. Of course this being March, and only mid March by then, there is always the possibility of some sort of surprise, in the form of clouds or some fast moving cold front to knock down the highs for a day or so, but the pattern is screaming warmth and the current forecast reflects that.

It does seem strange that here in the Midwest sometimes it’s easier to see through the forest of trees and so easily trip on the small bush that’s right in front of you. After about 9PM last night I took a little weather break and stopped paying attention to things since it was my Friday night after a real long stretch of working continuously and so what happens…I trip over the small bush that was right in front of me. Last I looked a radar, the activity was developing well towards the south of the metro along the cold front that had cleared the metro area. All was good.

Apparently as the line of storms continued to form well S and SW of here, they moved towards the NE, not surprising since the front was initially shallow and there was a strong SW/S flow aloft riding over the front, helping the precip move towards the NE. So far so good. well as this was occurring the air at the surface kept getting colder and colder. You can see the evolution of the activity here…note that this will take a bit of time to load up since the file is rather large.

The end of that loop shows the wave of precipitation moving on in. The atmosphere was actually drying out a bit before the rain/mix/snow ending up getting here. but as the precipitation encountered the drying atmosphere it saturated it again and as the precip fell the temperature profile of the atmosphere as a whole got colder thanks to evaporation, hence we were able to surprisingly generate some snow and sleet out of this. In some cases there was enough to solidly cover the ground. Through 6AM KCI reported only a trace. Here is a look at some of the regional radar snapshots. The first image is from just after 11PM…front to the south with some convection on it…all is good.

The next image is about 90 minutes later…notice the area of rain now moving up from the SW in C KS.

Finally the last image is around 4AM, and we’re about to get surprised.

As a result of all this, there was some sleet and some snow that came down hard and fast. With temperatures near 32° this created some slick conditions on the roads in some areas leading to some wrecks especially on the north side of the metro. I think that the rate of sleet/snow was so heavy that it overwhelmed the warmer pavement temperatures and since it was still dark, it allowed for a buildup of frozen precip on the roadways. I certainly didn’t see that coming from yesterday.

The weekend forecast is still a question, although confidence is increasing that we’re going to get more rain around here on Sunday, and perhaps as early as late SAT night. The latest NAM model which just came out has the storm wallowing around NM for awhile and then eventually kicks it out into the Plains. Here is a look at the 500 mb flow (18K feet) showing the upper level storm, represented the closed circles in the Midwest, moving towards the region. This animation will automatically update as the newest model is created.

Here is how the model handles the precipitation with the storm…

There are still questions about where this thing is going to track and as I mentioned yesterday, should we get unstable enough the potential would be there for some low topped thunderstorms, capable of producing some hail at least. Again that is very iffy and dependent on many other things coming together.

Finally that big CME that was supposed to create some issues and some potentially big displays of the Northern Lights, really in the end didn’t do much at all, at least so far. The displays weren’t that impressive given the potential they really weren’t seen in areas that normally don’t see them.

Have a great Thursday, and it’s very possible this could be the coolest day for the next 10+ days!

Joe

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