Joe’s Weather Blog: Weather issues start tonight (FRI-2/20)

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Good Afternoon:

3:30 Update:

Temperatures continue to creep upwards from KC and points southwards…so that is good news and expected. We should see temperatures approach 40° in spots from downtown KC south. The warmer the surface temperatures are and the warmer the pavement is the better off we’ll be through more of the evening.

Radar continues to be OK. Not much happening out there as I type this but there is a decent area of drizzle/mist forming south of KC that will be moving northwards this afternoon. So a wet commute and damp roads are certainly possible This too was expected and it’s why I’ve been stressing that the evening rush would be OK. So far so good as far as that aspect goes.

Afternoon Forecast Update:

Tonight: Areas of mist then rain/patches of freezing rain should quickly expand through the area after 6-8PM or so from the south to the north. Initially many of the roads should be OK depending on treatments…but overnight as the temperature drops to around 30-33° obviously some slick areas are possible into the wee hours tomorrow. How widespread those slick areas are though is dependent on very localized conditions. I don’t think KC turns into a skating rink however for those looking to be out and about tonight.

Tomorrow: Any freezing rain/rain will convert over to perhaps some light snow/sleet as the system pulls away. This snow should not be a lot (see the discussion) but again there may be some patchy slick areas in the morning. During the afternoon we should see rapid improvement as temperatures warm into the 30s and the precipitation turns off in the mid AM hours

Sunday: Just cold with lots of clouds. Maybe a few flurries and highs in the teens. Sub-zero wind chills thanks to north winds of 15-25 MPH.

Afternoon Discussion:

As of 2PM…KCI is at 35°…Downtown is 37° and Olathe is 35°. We may go up another 1-2° before it levels out more…then potentially drops as we see some light rain develop this evening. Dewpoints (important to watch this evening) are near 30°. As we see rain develop the temperature will drop a bit and the dewepoint will go up a bit. Since the winds are from the south…we’re bringing in essentially the same surface moisture…as the map shows below. Temperatures are in RED and dewpoints are in GREEN.


Notice the 50s in NE…there is actually some warmer air there…at the surface and aloft that will work southwards overnight. It should also be a contributor to keeping things more liquid-y than frozen for many areas from KC southwards. The above may is really interesting as well…because there is some nice warm air in W TX especially…so all sorts of air masses through the Plains as I type this.

I want to give you the latest HRRR model…this is a short term model that is depicting (as I type this) rain to break out this evening. This map should auto-update through the evening so you get an idea how long the precip will last. the model runs through 15 hours.


It remains possible that there could be some snow at the end of this…or IF in the wee hours of the AM there are some heavier downpours…there could be some ice pellets and flakes mixed in as well. I still feel, at this point, the vast majority of this is mostly liquid as opposed to solid stuff.

I also don’t want our viewers to say tomorrow…should these ideas pan out…hey what happened to the big storm…or you said the roads were going to be a mess etc. That is NOT what I’m conveying. Could there be patches where the pavement temperature (untreated roads-sidewalks-parking lots etc) is cold enough for patchy ice? Sure there could be. Will it be widespread in KC and southwards? Probably not…but I can’t rule out patches of slick areas out there overnight tonight.

Remember just because it’s 30-34° doesn’t necessarily mean everything turns into an ice skating rink…or that there can’t be any ice whatsoever. That’s not really the case during the winter when it’s been so cold. You just have to use some common sense while you’re out and about.

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect through tomorrow morning for the region.

So let’s recap…

1) More rain than freezing rain from KC southwards

2) More liquid than snow for KC southwards

3) Roads should not turn into a skating rink…but be aware of patchy slick areas overnight…especially in the more rural areas around KC

4) Precip may end as some flakes that shouldn’t amount to more than 1″ (if even for most).

5) There could be some extra snow on the MO side towards the east of KC…perhaps 65 highway towards Columbia, MO.

6) Conditions improve markedly tomorrow after 9 or 10AM.

7) Focus on the cold weather for SUN>MON

8) I sort of wish I had time to write about the insane cold across the eastern 1/3 of the country. From an anomaly standpoint…it was colder there yesterday than anywhere in the world (relative to average). It really is amazing cold for that part of the country.

Longer term trends are cold for the rest of the month into early March (at least). There may be some moderation days between cold shots…but more cold shots are coming.

You can follow me on twitter @fox4wx. Will try and keep that updated as much as possible tonight into tomorrow AM.

That’s it for this afternoon…more perhaps tonight before bed-time!




I wanted to get a short blog done for you as you start your Friday with a quick update about what’s on tap weather-wise in the region. The snow aspect, at this point, looks to be minor. The freezing rain aspect looks more significant, not necessarily because of the total ice…but because a little of that goes a long way. To ease your minds though the rest of the daylight today should be OK if you need to be out and about…it would be this evening and especially overnight that we could have issues, depending on where we are from a temperature standpoint.


Rest of today: Some brief sunshine this morning then quickly increasing clouds as the late AM moves along. Skies should be gray and overcast this afternoon. Highs today into the 30s with some 34-39° air possible up to the north where the sun is out for longer. Keep in mind most of the pavement will be somewhat warmer with the sunshine this morning.

Tonight: Areas of freezing drizzle/drizzle/rain and freezing rain should quickly expand through the area after 6-8PM or so from the south to the north. Initially many of the roads should be OK depending on treatments…but overnight as the temperature drops to around 30-33° obviously some slick areas are possible into the wee hours tomorrow.

Tomorrow: Any freezing rain/rain will convert over to perhaps some light snow as the system pulls away. This snow should not be a lot (see the discussion) but again there may be some slick areas in the morning. During the afternoon we should see rapid improvement as temperatures warm into the 30s and the precipitation turns off.


If you want to track the low clouds heading this way…check out the visible satellite loop…you can see them moving north from SW MO and SE KS as I type this.

This is the point in the blog where I want to remind all thousands of our readers that once again we’re attempting to predict something that doesn’t exist (future wintry precipitation) based on a very weak and fast moving disturbance in the jetstream streaking overhead tonight into tomorrow AM. Also we’re attempting to do this and forecast what the temperatures of the atmosphere are going to be through the lower 5000′ of the atmosphere where the last time I checked there is not a soul alive that can relay temperatures of that particular part of the atmosphere to us in any sort of timely fashion.

So essentially aside from some occasional aircraft data (less of that overnight) and a few balloon launches…we’re going to be making some assumptions with the forecast.

The 1st assumption is that there will be enough warm air above the surface so that whatever falls will melt. It may not be a lot (it doesn’t take much) but it should be enough so that the flakes that are upstairs…melt as they’re falling through that above freezing layer of air. The latest model data supports a rather significant layer of above 32° air (barely) from the surface to about 6000′. On the assumption that is correct…this is mostly a freezing rain event for most of the region.

While temperatures this afternoon will warm-up…they should come down tonight to near 32°. In many cases near 32° air temperatures can be tolerated on the roads, for a few hours, especially IF we get to about 35-40° this afternoon. With that said, as I mentioned earlier in the blog…untreated surfaces as well as parking lots/sidewalks and bridges and overpasses could see slick areas develop. Assuming there is treatment on the roads though…it may not be terrible overnight.

Use common sense.

The vast majority of this precipitation will either be rain or freezing rain/drizzle. The snow aspect, at this point looks somewhat minor. The atmosphere will be supportive of snow in the morning (maybe) but by then the system will be pushing away from the region. There should be some east-west bands of at least some light snow developing tomorrow as that occurs and potentially some may see <1″ accumulations from this.

Unlike yesterday where we saw 20:1 snow ratios (fluffy stuff) tomorrow the ratios ill be more like 10:1 or so…and when the daylight hits and temperatures are near 32° there may be melting with whatever falls.

Here is the HRRR model showing forecasted temperatures at around 8PM tonight…the more solid line represents the 32° line.


Notice that the line is certainly in the area and it will gradually overtake the area early tomorrow morning.

One of the weird things about this…as I look at the model data (the NAM)…and I noticed this yesterday, is that we’ll actually be bringing in above freezing air (above the surface) from the NW of KC after 3AM tomorrow a few thousand feet above the surface…if that’s right (not sure it gets this far south)…I’m not sure how we get accumulating snow here.

The bottom line, in my opinion this morning is that this will be mostly a rain/freezing rain event for areas from KC southwards. Any snow would occur on the tail end of the system so don’t get hung up on the amounts of snow at this point.

Obviously this can change…



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  • Mike

    Hi Joe,

    Nice call on Wednesday’s blog for a possible dusting to one inch of snow for Thursday. Very good forecast as that did happen. However, even know you called for it, MT just mentioned flurries and not a big deal that evening. So, great forecast from you.

    KCI now has 12.3 inches(7.5 this month) according to the NWS site. We’re getting closer to that 32 inches….we might run out of time though!! Ha!

    What’s your feeling on this pattern through the end of the month and into March. Boy, the 06z GFS says cold and potentially snowy. 3-4 storms out in fantasy land.

    Hoping somehow, some way, we can get cold enough and sneak out a 1-4 inch snow with tonight’s system.

    Thanks for the update…..we’ll see how it unfolds.

  • sedsinkc

    The temperature/dewpoint difference and resultant wet bulb temperature at precip onset and after will be critical tonight. RAP shows dewpoints rapidly increasing to a degree or two above 30 this afternoon, coupled with 2m temps in the 30s. Very borderline rain/ice situation, as you explained so well above. Seems like every winter system this season has been a major forecast problem. If temps/dewpoints are slightly lower than model data suggest, ice becomes likely, while if temps/dewpoints are slightly higher, rain becomes likely. Whew. Also, with the hard frozen ground, ice can form on untreated driveways and sidewalks, especially those that are shaded most of the day, even at air temps of 33 degrees.

    • Mike

      That band barley made it into Liberty…only had .3 inches. 2 miles west of me near 152 and N.brighton about .7 inches and 1.5 near Indiana and 152. One of my drivers measured 1.6 near Vivion and N.Jackson. (somewhat close to you)
      That band was stationary for a few hours…it was an interesting afternoon.