Joe’s Weather Blog: Airmass Battle Shaping Up

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The good news is that, as I talked about over the weekend, we’re going to be on the warm side of an airmass battle that will be shaping up towards the end of the week…and we’ll stay on that side through Thursday AM at least…and maybe even a few hours into the afternoon…eventually though the cold air will win the fight and we’ll make another abrupt transition into colder temperatures…which should last into the weekend.

So let’s for a moment talk about the battle. I’ve had a tendency this month to underforecast the temperatures when the cold air departs the area. I did it again yesterday, thinking the the cloud cover would filter out too much of the sunshine and keep our highs in the upper 30s. I also thought a lack of wind and a cold start would help my thinking. That didn’t work out for me as highs popped into the lower 40s in the area. I expected warmer conditions just off to the west…those materialized…so today I decided to be a bit more aggressive in my forecast high of 52°. Looking a the satellite picture this AM seems to indicate more sunshine today compared to yesterday. So that’s a positive. we should have a bit more of a breeze out there so that may help to mix the air just a little bit…that too is another positive. Finally there is a bubble of warmer air aloft (just above the surface) that stays with us till later this afternoon. before a weak cold front comes through and falls apart on top of us later tonight.

The morning sounding from the balloon launch shows this warm air bubble above the surface…just a couple of thousand feet up as a matter of fact. So will all the items mentioned above..there is good potential for us to pop to 50-55° this afternoon. Let’s see if my “aggressiveness” will payoff or not today.

Meanwhile this weak front may knock a couple of degrees off the temperatures tomorrow but again I expect highs to trend above average for mid December (average high for today is 40°) and then we should burst into the warmth on Wednesday and most of Thursday. How warm to go Wednesday was a conundrum for me, because the atmosphere is primed to warm up even more that what I was forecasting (58°). The one negative to this is the amount of cirrus clouds that will be flowing over the Plains, complements of Pacific moisture that will be overspreading the Rockies. The thickness of the clouds will determine how warm we get. Everything is in place for us to pop into the 60s that day…however thick cirrus clouds during the lowest sun angle time of the year, with winter starting on Saturday, almost always knocks down the potential. IF those clouds are thin enough, with the warm air that will be present through the Plains states…it could go ballistic on us. It certainly will be windy enough to keep the air all stirred up! Forecast soundings indicate that highs could surge to 65-70° IF there are no clouds filtering out the sunshine…

We’ll start warm on Thursday then turn colder later in the day…as another cold shot of air moves in. This shot of cold weather is being born right now across the NW territories of Canada and the Yukon region. The temperature as of this writing in Arctic Village, AK is -44°

ScreenHunter_13 Dec. 16 08.12

This airmass may not be as cold as others we’re seen, but as it develops and moves through SW Canada and then crosses the N Rockies, slides through the N Plains and eventually spreads south through our area…it will get your attention.

Take a look at the forecasted temperatures for later Thursday at 6PM…and notice the contrast in the airmasses…again the battle is on. It will be some 25-30° BELOW average in the area denoted, while the warmth for us is nice while it lasts…

ScreenHunter_14 Dec

The cold weather as mentioned though will win out.

OK so we know it get’s cold. Now what about the moisture situation. There should be at least some showers in the area on Thursday. I don’t expect much around on Friday. The key to the weekend precipitation chances lies in how a disturbance that I wrote about yesterday develops and moves out of the SW part of the country…and even Old Mexico as well.

The EURO and the Canadian seem to be the most bullish with the potential with this disturbance. It’s actually located up towards AK as well…helping to create the cold airmass as I type this…here is what the EURO model thinks may happen with this. The Split location will be in the British Columbia area with one piece taking off through the N Plains…that one will deliver the cold air in the Plains states with the 2nd piece dropping way down into northern Mexico…before at some point streaking towards the NE. Where that piece goes will be the key.

ScreenHunter_15 Dec

The issue that may develop is IF we can get precipitation what form will it be…because aloft at least we’ll be in SW flow…and while the surface may be cold enough to support snow…there may be issues aloft about the production of snow up there…that is always concerning for us because of the specter of ice. It’s a long ways off and if there is going to be a trend my guess would be farther south than northwards especially if the splitting wave in AK now, sends a stronger part than forecast through the northern Plains…this would send a stronger push of cold air towards us…and tend to deflect the nastiness farther south. Plenty of time to write about this as the week moves along.

So for what it’s worth here is the way the EURO model sees the next 10 days…there are some signs this AM of some additional moderation to finish off the year…after Christmas, so let’s see if that trend continues.

ScreenHunter_16 Dec

Click on that image to make it larger.

Added midday tweet (@fox4wx)…

I’ll mention this for the last time…yesterday we had a bit of fun on the AM show…I don’t think you’ll see any other KC meteorologist do what I did. Perhaps though that might be for the good. Yesterday we celebrated “The Lighting Of the Joe”. Since we have new readers today compared to the past weekend…here you go.

Have a great day!

Joe

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