Joe’s Weather Blog: Taking a look at La Nina and KC snows (FRI-11/17)

It’s a mild end of the work week in the KC region as south winds have been blowing through the night and will continue into tonight as well. This has brought up the dew points and also the temperatures today. Some areas, especially on the KS side are making a run towards 70° as the sun is cracking through the clouds as of this writing. Not too many complaints though after this (overall) chilly stretch of about 3 1/2 weeks or so. It will significantly change heading into Saturday thanks to a cold front barreling through the region in the early morning.


Tonight: Variable clouds and breezy with lows in the 50s. Overall pretty good for November and it should be dry for evening plans.

Saturday: Some rain is possible in the morning (I still wouldn’t be shocked if maybe a couple of wet snowflakes aren’t mixed in with the rain…especially after 9AM or so). The winds will start cranking with gusts of 30-45 MPH possible through lunch. Temperatures will be falling during the morning…from the 50° down to around 40° and then potentially recover well into the 40s in the afternoon as the sun comes out. The rain (overall) won’t be too heavy but outdoor plans through the morning may be impacted. The winds certainly will get your attention though.

Sunday: Nice with highs around 50-55° with sunshine


Tell you what…when looking at the long range forecast for the next 10 days…I’m not overly excited about what I’m seeing for moisture. Not much is expected. Whatever we get on Saturday AM may be most of what we see through the holiday weekend. There will be cold fronts next week…and perhaps a chilly day here and there…but no BIG storms are expected locally for days to come. This won’t be the driest November…but it will be in the top 1/4 of driest Novembers unless something happens the last couple of days in the month (which is possible). As we stand today this is the 15th driest NOV in KC weather history. We have 129 Novembers in the book (so far). Now I do think there will be at least some rain out there tomorrow.

The 1PM surface map shows the situation nicely including a November dry line (separating the gulf moisture streaming northwards and the drier SW US air pressing eastwards-orange boundary)

In the above map the temperatures are in RED and the dew points are in GREEN. You can see the difference in both through central KS and west of OKC down into TX…there are some 90s in SW TX today.

The cold front (blue line) will be moving through the area in the week hours of the morning. Showers (maybe some thunder SE of KC?) will develop with the front…then we may get into some additional areas of rain during the mid>late morning hours but as the colder air flows in with GUSTY winds churning the atmosphere over…temperatures will drop through the AM hours for awhile. Winds will also gust, potentially to 45 MPH. During the afternoon we should be on a clearing trend. Overall Saturday will be a blustery day with afternoon temperatures mostly in the 40s>50°

Sunday>Monday will be uneventful aside from more wind on Monday.

I wanted to continue to write about La Nina…please see previous blogs about what La Nina is and how it compares to El Nino and how it affects the weather in the US (on average).

Today though I wanted to look at the years where La Nina was considered on the “weak” side in terms of overall indices that evaluate La Nina and connect it to winter snowfall in the KC area. Where weak La Nina conditions were present heading into the winter season…I then looked at the snow totals of that winter. So for example…did you know last fall there was a weak La Nina present? That winter (our previous winter) we had under 5″ of snow. Here are the other years, going back to 1950, that weak La Ninas were present and the amoutn of snow that fell that winter.

Now some perspective…our average snow (regardless of the state of La Nina and El Nino) (average being from 1980-2010) is now down to 18.1″. In the last 5 years the average though has continued to drop…to 16.6″…of course these last two years have hurt that number.

If you want to take a deeper dive, going back almost 100 years…

What is interesting is that there has been a definite decline in average snow over the course of almost a century (almost 4″ or so). For whatever reason…we’re NOT seeing as much snow.

When I look at my forecast for snow this coming winter…something doesn’t seem quite right to me. I do think we’ll have MORE snow that what we’ve seen over the last 2 winters…perhaps the last 3 winters. Will this be a gangbuster winter like what we saw in 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2013-14…right now I’m NOT convinced.

I’m having a hard time shaking getting off a forecast of about average…I’m also concerned that we may be waiting awhile into DEC for anything too exciting.

Of note though is that I remember last November heading into Thanksgiving week…and I could just “see” how we were trying to set-up for some snow chances (maybe significant at that). We got cold…and actually there were storms around…but it never happened for us. I remember saying and writing that IF we didn’t get snow action of consequence by the 15th of December that that winter was probably NOT going to be a good one. So I guess I was partially right in the end.

I have a feeling that this winter may take a while to really get going, from a temperature standpoint at least. Lots of ups and downs may highlight December and perhaps the winter overall.

I’m not overly negative about the snow totals…I’m just not overly positive either…just sort of “meh”.

Our feature photo comes from @fatfoxcoon showing some pretty foliage. It seems to me that the Maple trees, especially, have had a long season of great colors…and a lot of them still have a good number of leaves on them. Let’s see what the gusty winds do tomorrow and Monday…me thinks their time is coming.


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