Joe’s Weather Blog: Snow And Bitter Cold

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Enjoy today my friends…if it wasn’t for a clump of clouds moving our way this AM and taking our clear skies now and making them cloudy…I’d say we’d have a chance of making 50° today. As is we still may pop to 45°+ before the day is done…and that’s again because of strong winds moving into the region, initially just above the surface. Combined with air that a few thousand feet off the ground will be in the 40s…and we could’ve gone up even higher today. As is I expect the winds to be in the increase today making that 45°+ reading feel rather chilly…don’t be surprised if we have winds of 20-30 MPH during the afternoon.

Temperatures though will come crashing down tomorrow as the press of cold air will win the weather battle on Wednesday into Thursday…and there will also e a swath of snow that I’ll be watching as well…this will move into the region tomorrow afternoon…and combined with the falling temperatures the 1st day of the new year will not be that great…

At this point, the snow tomorrow looks to be more of an inconvenience type thing that anything else…for the KC area a dusting to 1″ seems reasonable with some minor upside of a fluffy snow to 1.5″. Farther to the north and northeast of KC…up towards the Chillicothe area towards Kirksville and the IA border…we may be able to crank out 2-3″.With it being a holiday tomorrow…a lot of folks will be home watching TV…but the roads in the PM may get slick…if we’d have a rush hour tomorrow afternoon I’d be more concerned about bigger issues.

The cold air will come crashing down…and with the potential of fresh snowcover I’m wondering if we may tank Thursday AM lower than what at first glance will be a cold morning to begin with. I do think the potential for sub-zero lows are there outside of the KC area…probably more north and northeast of the metro with some deeper snow on the ground…but lows, even at KCI may tank to near 0° assuming we have clear skies.

I also want to spend a few minutes talking about the potential and increasingly likely cold heading this way early next week…as there continue to be strong suggestions that the polar vortex, which is typically up towards Hudson’s Bay in Canada will be displaced and will reorganize closer to the Great Lakes region. This is a classic recipe for a major outbreak of arctic air through the Plains and Great Lakes into the NE part of the country.

This will all happen later in the weekend and early next week…it will last for about 2 days before the core of the cold moves away. actually the true core of the cold will be off towards the east of the KC area…but don’t get me wrong…even with no snow on the ground…MON will be nasty cold in the afternoon…and Tuesday AM will be VERY cold as well.

One of our models, really two if you include the Canadian…is forecasting an airmass as cold as what happened back in 1994 in late January. It’s possible for KC it may actually be even colder. I checked the data from back then and we had highs of around 10-13° with lows of 0- -1° with that outbreak…IF this airmass is a bit colder than that one…you can get an idea where my thoughts would be for PM temperatures on Monday into Tuesday AM…

So let’s use a bit of history to figure this out…here is the weather map from 1/18/94…from Penn State…


I want you to focus on the upper left map for a minute…that is the data coming in from about 18,000 feet up or about 500 mbs. Notice the closed circulation of 492 near the Great Lakes…that’s the polar vortex! Now look at the map in the upper right…that is the surface weather map that yoou are more familiar with…showing a strong area of high pressure building southwards from the northern Rockies…that continued to move towards the SE over the next 24 hours…

Now look at the map in the lower right…those are the temperatures in °C for the air at about 5000 feet up or the 850 mb level. Notice the minus 20-minus 30°C (-4 to -22°F) moving down the MO river into the KC area. Again that’s for about 4-5000′ up.

Now take a look at the forecast map off the EURO model…for early next week. This is the ensemble forecast from that model…which combines about 52 different runs of the EURO model…and averages out the data to hopefully give us an even more accurate portrayal of what may happen. Let’s start again at the 500 mb level…

ScreenHunter_60 Dec. 31 08.14

I realize the maps are different looking but the similarities are pretty close in many cases…now let’s come down in the atmosphere and check out the temperatures at about 4-5000 feet or so…or what we refer to as the 850 mb level…

ScreenHunter_62 Dec. 31 08.21

Click on that image to make it larger!…the pinkish shading represents temperatures of close to -25° C (-13°F) at that level.

Anyway to make a long story short…MON will be a nasty cold day and Tuesday AM will have the chance, even without snow on the ground to dip below 0° which doesn’t happen often here when there is no snow on the ground. I did analyze the data for January 6th going back to the late 1880s…this will not be a record cold day for us…but at least during the afternoon, we’re poised to have a top 5 coldest 1/6 in KC weather history if this pans out.

There will be at least some moderation in the temperatures as the brutally cold airmass moves away Tuesday into Wednesday but it will still be cold! Here is a look at the EURO model forecast for the next 10 days…click on that image to make it larger!

ScreenHunter_59 Dec

Interesting to note that this would be the type of pattern typically to lock in for a longer period of time…but it appears with a lack of blocking in the North Atlantic region…that this wave of cold will sweep through the region…and we may get better moderation later next week!

Consider yourself forewarned…but then again this has been blogged about for a couple of days now.

That’s it for today…I will update the blog tomorrow with the snow moving into the region so you’re up to date after you sleep in for New Years.





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