Joe’s Weather Blog: Dry In KC/Windy Too

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Another day…another weird temperature swing through the region. Once again last night temperatures warmed up ahead of a front that moved through. With the mild start, we’ve made it to the mid 40s in the region today…but the winds are also blowing at 20-25 MPH with gusts to 45 MPH or so. We keep doing this and it’s going to happen again tomorrow night into SAT AM. Probably a few more times as well over the next 7-10 days. On the subject of wind…take a look at the 2PM wind gust reports from the Plains…click on that image to make it larger.



There are some 60 MPH winds around the Grand Island area and there are a lot of blowing dust reports across western KS as well.

All these changes and still no precipitation of significance out there aside from some spits or flakes of little importance, nor do I expect anything more than 1/4″ for another 7-10 days or so.

So it’s dry and it has been all month…but January as I’ve blogged about before is our driest month so really this shouldn’t be that surprising. Despite the “warmth” lately we’re still running some 5° below average for the month…and more ups and downs are coming to the area.

Tomorrow will be a “down” day as colder air moves back into the area. Temperatures should struggle with highs around 30°. Then tomorrow night another wave will come at us and that should allow the air to moderate a bit into the overnight hours. So we may initially drop tomorrow evening then stabilize and perhaps even come up towards SAT AM. Then another front comes through SAT leveling the temperatures…sort of like today (40s).

While we’re not seeing precip out of all these transitions…we are seeing wind…and that will continue for the next week. There may be times where the wind drops off for a bit in the evening or near daybreak hours…but winds will pick right back up again as the flow aloft is a fast one and the sunshine helps to stir up the atmosphere close to the ground.

The bigger picture is showing a return to much colder (sustained) conditions as we head towards the end of the month and start February. Model guidance today is VERY bullish on another drop of the polar vortex into the Great Lakes region before the end of the month. This, you may remember from earlier in the month lead to some bitterly cold weather and you can see it setting up again during the time of the year when it’s supposed to be really cold.

Next week will probably be another up and down week. A couple of chilly days…then some milder days…but nothing dramatic in terms of the cold. It does appear the the real nasty cold air will be more towards the upper Midwest/Great Lakes region and into the eastern 1/3rd of the US. We’re sort of on the dividing line, hence the wind and the ups and downs. Back towards the east it’s generally more down for next week.

Here is the 6-10 day temperature forecast…notice that we’re sort of in no mans land…not because temperatures will be “average” every day. More because one day it could be 10° below average and the next 10° above average…between the two days…what do you get? Average. The highest chances of warmth are out west and into AK. When it’s warm in AK…usually it’s cold in the states somewhere, especially from the Plains eastwards.


It would be beyond this time frame that I’m more interested in.

Here is a look at the forecasted 850 mb or about 5000′ temperatures in 10 days…so this would be NEXT Sunday the 26th.


Not let’s go farther up in the atmosphere…and take a look at the flow pattern at around 18000′ or what we refer to as the 500 mb level.


Notice the pattern is very amplified…there are big bumps and dips. The bumps, like what you see off the west coast of the US up through AK are called ridges and the dips are called troughs. The ridges are where the air is warmer and the troughs are where the air is colder. The “L” near the Great Lakes region is the polar vortex which again is dipping into the US…or getting pretty darn close. Expect the national media to have another field day with this (the return of the polar vortex…polar vortex 2…yada yada yada) I’m getting queasy just thinking about how they’ll start talking about this…but I digress.

Something that I’ve written about a bit lately is the dire moisture situation in CA…and today a fire is spreading out of control near the LA area. Already several homes have burned and 2000+ acres have been charred. This is due to 2013 being their driest year on record in CA…and also a real lack of moisture to start 2014. I think this image showing the year-to-year change in terms of the mountain snowpack shows it well…


Ash is falling from the fires in LA itself. Temperatures are in the 70s and 80s with dewpoints in the single digits creating single digit relative humidity values…that is dry desert-like air…throw in some wind and a wild fire…and that’s trouble!

Here is a visible satellite picture showing the smoke blowing from the land towards the ocean in S CA.


Here is an animation showing the smoke moving…pretty impressive.

Have a great afternoon!







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