Joe’s Weather Blog: KC warm-up (brief) + #Snowzilla or #Jonas

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This is not exactly the kind of day that the folks at the Chamber Of Commerce are out taking a ton of pretty pictures of KC. Gray and cold that’s for sure with temperatures at this writing in the middle 20s. The clouds will be slow to break through Saturday morning at least…but then we should start seeing more sunshine in the area although clouds will be a factor in how warm we get on Sunday along with the snow cover on the round as well…which will be melting on Sunday.

Forecast:

Saturday: Cloudy skies with perhaps a thin spot later this afternoon in parts of the area. Highs will get to near 32°

Sunday: Mostly cloudy..although there should be at least some filtered sunshine. It won’t be that cold Sunday AM…but between the melting snow and the clouds again another struggle with highs closer to 45°

Monday: Rain and or rain>snow is likely along with falling temperatures during the day. Readings into the 20s in the afternoon.

Discussion:

I’m not exactly a big fan of the “naming” of the storms that’s been a big media push over the last few years. Names like “snowmegadon” or whatever are pretty silly. The blizzard that’s developing over the next 24 hours is being called by the Weather Channel…”Jonas”. On social media, some are calling it “Snowzilla”. Whatever.

I guess I can see some benefits especially for tagging things on twitter etc. Pictures and reports can be found easier when you’re looking for tag words. Also when comparing one big snowstorm to another memorable storm…having a name attached to it I guess can be helpful. This is especially true when we’re trying to get folks to pay more attention to a particular situation…for example storm X is going to be much worse than storm y from 19XX year. It’s a way for folks who don’t pay nearly as much attention to the weather as we do…make a connection and figure out what happened back then will be worse this time through. Maybe they’ll take better actions this time through IF they recall how bad it was during storm X in the past. That’s the hope anyway.

With all of that said…there’s this going on right now…

Regardless this developing storm today is going to be a whooper over the weekend. Already thousands of flights are being cancelled. Airports are going to close and this will effect air travel nationwide through Monday (longer in some cases). Insurance people who have watched these storms before anticipate 1/2-1 billion dollars in claims. Ice and snow are the two biggest issues with this storm and both are going strong already. Parts of SC are seeing power outages and parts of TN/KY have already had well over 8″ of snow. As I type this, about 1″ has accumulated in Washington D.C and it appears that area may be one of the Jackpot snow regions will over 2 feet of snow…although some model data shows over 3 feet of snow near that area, especially west of there.

The snow, at its worst in some localized areas may come down at close to 4″ per hour and the sound of thunder is expected in areas as well. Thundersnow is a way to get 3-6″/hour snow rates…and that’s how you get ginormous totals in a storm. We went through that several times a few years ago, when parts of our area had 15-24″ of snow.

In addition, to qualify as a blizzard you need to have a large amount of snow or blowing snow (there is no specific total needed) + 35+ MPH winds + visibility below 1/4 mile for at least 3 hours. With that criteria, many areas back east will meet that I believe…

The winds certainly won’t be an issue…my goodness.

All that wind pushing the waters on shore creates a coastal erosion and flooding situation and mandatory and voluntary evacuations have been issued along the coast in central and southern NJ. This is all happening during periods of high astronomical tides as well thanks to the full moon over the weekend.

As far as the developing storm goes…here is a look at the regional radars…

 

From a satellite perspective…it’s going to be a beaut! These are the water vapor images. They enhance the look of the water vapor in the atmosphere and it’s a great way of seeing these types of circulations

 

and the snowfall forecasts through this afternoon. Starting in NY and working southwards…

 

Let’s see if any of these records are broken…

Capture

Another aspect of this is the icing situation in the Carolinas. This may turn more interesting because of the big football game in Charlotte, NC on Sunday. Folks down there don’t do too well getting around during bad winter scenarios.

So from afar I’ve been tracking this storm…looking at the various models, reading various discussions…and my take is that in these situations there always seems to be parts of regions that get messed up somehow. Either the mixed precip is located in a different place than what’s suspected cutting snowfall potential…or something we’re more familiar with here in the Plains, the dreaded fast moving and poorly modeled “dry slot”. This, to me from afar, is what can’t be seen until it really get’s going. Will it move farther towards the areas that are forecasted to get more snow compared to others…will it move farther northwards into and/or around the circulation of the storm? These are factors that can easily lop off 6-12″+ of forecasted snow accumulations. The other issue is the NYC area. How far north will the heavier snow get? We’re pretty sure there is going to be a tight gradient. Will NYC get 3-6″…will it be more like 8-16″? We’ll have to nowcast that one tomorrow.

So we’ll see!

Have a great weekend…warmer weather on Sunday then a more dramatic and prolonged warm-up starting Thursday of next week to finish off the month of February.

Joe

 

 

 

 

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