Joe’s Weather Blog: The focus now…mostly on the cold (SUN-12/24)

Merry Christmas everyone and thanks so much for supporting the Weather Blog over the past year…and for many of you over the past 15+ years. This was the first Weather Blog in KC and one of the 1st in the country done by a television station. Over the years…I’ve written millions of words talking about our weather mostly…and I think I have millions more to write about. The weather is fascinating…and last night was a perfect case in point. Sometimes we have it figured out…sometimes we don’t. Last night we did…from the moment of the 1st flakes to when the last flakes would fall…to the amount of snow that fell. They don’t all go that way (as you know) but it’s a good feeling when they do…and it’s what I (we) strive for.

So in a nutshell…thanks for reading after all these years.


Tonight: Fair skies and clear but cold sailing for Santa. Lows dropping into the teens

Christmas: Mostly cloudy and cold with highs near 30°

Tuesday: Even colder with highs only in the teens. There may be a few snowflakes out there

Wednesday: Very cold in the morning with a chilly afternoon. Highs in the 20s


It was a well behaved system…and I’m not going to spend a lot of time recapping it…because it basically did what was expected. In retrospect I’m glad I added that extra 1/2″ to the totals as that forecast for the KC Metro proved very accurate. Most amounts were in the 1-1 1/2″ range with some getting a bit more than that. Others north of KC were more in the 2-4 1/2″ range towards the IA border. Here are the highest totals from the NWS-Pleasant Hill area…

From the Topeka area of responsibility…here is that information

Looks like Grundy County, towards the NE of KC was the jackpot winner with around 4.5″ of snow!

So where are we going from here?

Well for one, the snow last night wasn’t exactly a big moisture machine. Locally when the snow is melted it will add about 1/10″ or so (maybe not even that much, to the precip totals for the month. The dry and fluffy nature to the snow…meant it was a low moisture accumulation. When it melts or evaporates away (called sublimation)…it isn’t going to help out the dry weather cause that continues to fester…

In the big picture that isn’t changing for at least the next 7-10 days. There may be a few periods of light snows but they will be fleeting and not worthwhile from a moisture standpoint.

The latest drought report…which I couldn’t get into because of the events that played out this weekend…paints the entire region in “abnormally dry” conditions this week. This was a large expansion of this category. There has been some beneficial moisture towards eastern MO however.

On the Kansas side…the entire state, like MO is now at least “abnormally dry”.

The “overall” upper level pattern though is really just not good for days to come for storm enthusiasts. The most noteworthy item will be the cold weather…and there is going to be some pretty harsh cold weather. How much of that is realized locally we’ll see…but a prolonged period of mainly below average temperatures is likely…and for some days well below average temperatures in the KC area.

The GFS is freaking out I believe (hope) by the enormity of the coldness…check out what it’s predicting for to start out the New Year…

Here is a better look at JUST temperatures…

So let’s see…on the 1st of 2018…the low forecast is only -23°. Our ALL-TIME record low is -23°…which was set in 1989. As a matter of fact it was set on the 22nd and 23rd of December. We had 5″ of snow on the ground too.

This will not happen (the -23° part)!

Yes though…it will be a rather cold period (overall) and next weekend overall looks bitterly cold…including the potential of sub-zero lows regardless of snowcover or not.

So this is a heads up about that situation that will be developing. There are some of the indices that I like to pay attention to…and I’m a little suspicious of the amount (extremeness) of cold the models are dishing out because there is a “disconnect”

So for the heck of the discussion…check out the NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) and AO (Arctic Oscillation) values leading up to the all-time coldest weather in 1989…first the NAO…


We typically look for a negative NAO as a “cold” look for us during the winter season.

Now the AO…again negative is an indicator of a cold atmospheric set-up in the winter season especially

So two of the main “teleconnections” were very negative…and very favorable to cold…in 1989

Now look at the forecast values for the NAO over the next 10-14 days…

Mostly positive or at worst neutral…hmmmm

Now the AO forecasts…

Sort of all over the place…with a flip before the New Year to negative favoring a colder regime.

By no means are these indices the end all be all…but something just looks a little “off” to me.

I’m not questioning the cold…I’m questioning the extremeness that the GFS, especially is forecasting.

There’s another trip into the weeds for you.

I’m done! I’m going to take a blog day off for Christmas (I think). I’ll be filling in all week for Mike so I’ll get another blog ready for Tuesday morning for you I think.

The good news about the snow…more great pictures sent in to my FB page…this picture from Sherry Cheek Odell‎

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays




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  • Richard

    Merry Christmas to you and yours Joe !
    Once again, thanks for the blog. Yours was the first one in KC ? Outstanding. 15 yrs, kudos to you.
    So, in a nutshell, it will get very cold, but that -23 will not happen ! I hope not.
    It is nice to see white instead of brown outside though.