Joe’s Weather Blog: Wasting the cold air (TUE-12/19)

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I’m going to try and keep this blog a bit shorter than yesterday…we’ll see how that goes ;). Meanwhile our temperatures for the month continue to be an understated weather story in my opinion. In late November I was talking quite a bit about how from the 5th through the 20th we would be vulnerable to cold weather outbreaks…that while transient…would catch our attention. The reality of things is that yes…we had some cold shots BUT in reality it really wasn’t that bad…and they’ve been balanced by milder regimes…overall ONLY 4 days in that period were below average.


Today: Cloudy highs approaching 45-50°. Not as nice as Monday…

Tonight: Not too bad…lows in the 30s

Wednesday: Clouds may be an issue…and depending on that highs may be only around 50°…and could be cooler with the clouds.

Thursday: Mainly cloudy and mild in the morning and afternoon ahead of the cold front that will change our weather for about 5 days (at least). Highs well into the 50s (record is 63° in 1893). There may be some drizzle and we’ll need to watch for some freezing drizzle in the late evening as the temperatures start tanking. Worth paying attention too for late Thursday night and Friday morning just in case


I want to go back to how I started this blog…the month of December (so far) has been one of our milder starts to the month. Here in KC our monthly temperature has been running almost 7° above average through yesterday and with the mild start and finish through Thursday we’re going to be adding more to that.

As I mentioned…we’re only have a few days below average this month…and they’ve been overwhelmed by the double digit above average days (on average). I’ve highlighted the below average days…

This is the 22nd warmest start to December in KC weather history going back to the 1880s.

So it’s been mild (relative) and it’s been dry…

Yesterday I spent part of my morning talking to a bunch of folks in the Golf course industry. Supervisors and landscapers mainly. They wanted to know a few things about what I was expecting but there were definite concerns about this lack of moisture that we’re dealt with over the last 2 months and IF there was relief coming. I was showing them the same models you and I both look at…and how they can change from one run to another. We looked at the GFS model (since that was fresh and “out of the over”) after my presentation…I hadn’t looked at it before showing them…but I think deep down I knew what it was going to show…and it did…and they weren’t too thrilled by the prospects.

We talked about the importance of snow during the winter season in these parts…I talked to them about the decline in the snow “season” since 2000. If you missed this tidbit from a blog a couple of weeks ago…we’ve essentially seen almost a 27 day change in the period from the 1st 1″ of snow to the last 1″ of snow in the course of a “snow season”. I also talked about the general slow fade of overall snow amounts over the course of the winter season over the past 45 years or so…

I think, in talking to them afterwards…they can see the changes themselves…they’re outside on an almost daily basis…they see what’s been happening.

I titled this blog wasting the cold air…because I’m a big believer that IF we can’t lock in the cold air for any length of time…and I’m not sure we will this time either, it’s actually a tough thing to do unless the atmosphere really gets blocked up in specific parts of the Northern Hemisphere (like the big snow/cold winters of 09-10 and ’10-11)…it’s tough to maintain a continuous cold flow of air from the Arctic region. At some point the flow changes enough (especially without extensive snow cover from KC northwards to try and chill that air even more) and temperatures locally moderate.

So IF we’re going to get cold…and IF you want snow (some don’t…I get it)…you can’s waste this cold weather that’s coming our way…I say that because last night I looked at the longer range model data-the EURO monthlies run. It’s NOT the most accurate model but it brought up a concern to me…that once we break out of this colder pattern…at some point, just because of the ebb and flow of the weather…the flow has to flatten out…at some point we’re going to see the Pacific flow start to take over again for however long…that would tend to lead to our January thaw that is typical around this part of the country and I’m wondering to myself IF that January thaw will be a bit more substantial this year.

The bottom line is I think we need to get something going snow wise between now about the 5th of January…because I wonder about what happens after that…

I’m not too thrilled about anything more than some wind blown minor snows over the holiday weekend. Unless something really changes…there doesn’t appear to be a formidable storm to really get snow enthusiasts excited. I won’t give up the ghost today…but by tomorrow I may be getting ready too. Is it possible that with the exact right combination of cold air and some sort of snow band set-up that somebody out there sees 1″ or so of wind blown snow…I guess.

As far as this “lack” of snow…we’re not alone!


I’ll still keep my 20% chance of a White Christmas going. Remember a White Christmas is defined as having 1″ of snow on the ground on Christmas Day. The last one we had was 2013…when 4″ of snow were on the ground that morning.

For those who want a White Christmas…well this may be the way to go about forecasting one…this was hilarious!

I will tell you that the models are showing something more interesting towards the end of the month as we finish off the year. We’ll see…and we’ve been down this road before. I’ve chosen not to go down that road though this season…and I’m not ready to “hang a left” now either.

So without any significant storms…there is one promise…cold. The issue will be how cold we get next week. Some near 0-+5° lows are possible in parts of the area…but these cold shots will be coming in waves again…and IF there isn’t snow on the ground…it’s tough to get sub-zero cold mornings. Of note, is that ahead of any reinforcing surge of cold air…W/SW winds will come through the area…and depending on the timing could influence how cold we are, especially at night.

OK…I’m going to stop there…at least this is a bit short than yesterday’s blog.

Gail Hodges has our feature photo of the day…nice sunrise from about a week ago!





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1 Comment

  • Richard

    Thanks again Joe
    It is troublesome that we have been so dry.
    Even though it is typically on the dry side, this time of year.
    I can see us getting even less precip, than we did last winter. Be it snow or rain.
    But the spring/summer rains rescued us from a drought.
    Here we go again.