Joe’s Weather Blog: The Perfect Storm (redux) and some moisture for KC (THU-1/4)

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Good afternoon…another brisk afternoon (to say the least) with temperatures struggling to make 20°. This is now the 13th straight day of temperatures falling shy of 32° and we won’t get there till Sunday it appears. The good news is that we should enjoy some decent moderation early next week for a few days…and there is a hope that we can pop into the 50s maybe ahead of another storm system.


Tonight: Fair skies and cold with lows 5-10°

Friday: Mixed clouds and some filtered sunshine. Highs only into the mid 20s (at best)

Saturday: OK but cold as the last push (in this cycle of cold weather) moves through the region and starts to move out at night. Highs only in the 20s to near 30°. Kickoff should be around 28°. SE winds of 5-12 mph adding some bite to the air.

Sunday: Hopefully some rain as temperatures push well into the 30s by later in the day. I want to mention the potential for some freezing mist or drizzle to impact the roads VERY early on Sunday. IF we get precip…even IF the temperatures are running near 32° for awhile SUN AM…the roads are still going to be cold…there could be some impacts here.


Let’s start with the meteorological eye candy that is off the east coast of the US…but certainly impacting the eastern seaboard. This is an impressive storm!

It is impressive…

The central pressure of the storm, which is creating winds of over 75 mph away from the center towards Nantucket has a central pressure this afternoon of around 957 millibars…or close to 28.26″!!!!

For comparison sake…do you remember the movie A Perfect Storm with George Clooney? That storm happened in 1991…it’s pressure dropped to 971 mbs…this storm is stronger than that one (pressure wise) by about 11 millibars or close to 1/3″ on the barometric scale.

Here is the surface map for this afternoon…

So with winds of near to over 75 mph, at least based on model data…as you might imagine that has led to some serious waves out in the western Atlantic.

Those are 46 FOOT wave heights towards the center of the storm. I went through a bunch of buoy reports from out there and saw some 30 foot wave heights…the the data is relatively sparse in nature.

Here is another view of the storm…with a different satellite.

Here is a look at the storm via radar…most, if not all of what you see, that’s ashore at least is snow.

At last check, Nantucket is reporting rain and 36°

Highest snow totals are running over 12″ in spots…some closing in on about 15″ as I type this. The snow till come hard for another 6+ hours especially from Long Island into the coastal New England area.

One impressive storm.

Here is a look at the HRRR model…to give you an idea of the storms impacts in that part of the country.

What the storm will do for us…is allow another fast moving shot of Canadian air to come down into the Plains and Great Lakes region into Saturday afternoon. This means cold weather will persist through Saturday.

Then notice what happens heading into Saturday night. Let’s use the GFS model and go up to about 18,000 feet or so. What I want you to look for…is later Saturday and a smallish wave coming from the Rockies into the Plains.

That little wave will hopefully bring us some moisture. Ahead of that feature…the cold air on Saturday will be shifting away from the area. This process starts more in earnest Saturday night, at least above the ground.

The problem is that Saturday, with clouds moving through and not a lot of wind…it will be a struggle to warm up a lot, especially considering the cold shot of air coming into the area.

That leaves us with the conundrum of what happens when some moisture gets to us Sunday AM…and where the surface temperatures will be. We should see an initial drop off Saturday night to about 25° or so…then the temperatures should start to level off…and perhaps even rise a few degrees towards daybreak. Still though I think we’re around 31-35° at daybreak Sunday. The roads though won’t respond that quickly to the incremental warm-up, especially bridges and overpasses.

So IF something falls from the sky it will be liquid…because the air above us should be above 32°, BUT IF the ground is below 32° what falls could freeze, especially depending on the the treatment situation. This will be a timing thing more than anything…IF the falling rain doesn’t happen till later in the morning or early afternoon…we should be mostly OK…and some of this may depend on the treatment situation.

It’s something to put in the back of your mind at least. Also of note…hopefully at least a 1/4″ or so with this in terms of liquid. The ground is frozen though so I’m not thrilled about how much will actually soak in as opposed to running off into puddles. Beggars can’t be choosy. The new drought update came out today with an expansion of now “moderate” drought conditions in Carroll County, MO. The rest of the viewing area is still considered “abnormally dry.”

On a more positive side of things…there is some good news…and that is we should see some moderation in temperatures for several days next week. 40s are looking more and more likely and perhaps even some 50s showing up as well. More cold weather and a “storm to watch” will come later in the week.

Also of note…and something that will make many happy…is what is shaping up as a nice January thaw that I’m thinking appears more and more likely towards the 15th of the month or just afterwards. I can’t promise shorts weather…but it’s looking a lot better towards mid-month. It appears that this will be connected to a more progressive pattern that will finally see, at least temporarily, the elimination of the ridiculous ridge across the western part of the country and westwards through the Gulf Of Alaska. Should this play out…that means CA may finally see some desperately needed moisture…it means that some nice warmth should build through the Rockies…and with downsloping winds…aid us in really warming up! Let’s keep our fingers crossed about this but right now I like our chances.

For snow lovers though…depending on what happens, or doesn’t towards the end of next week…this isn’t a good look at all.

At least we can watch the eye candy from afar though…





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  • Richard

    Thanks Joe
    I, for one, am glad we don’t have blizzard conditions here !
    I would like some snow, but this cold can take a hike !
    Per NWS in Pleasant Hill as of 3 pm we have been below 32 degrees for 326 hrs.
    The record is 501 hrs.

    • Joe Lauria

      Hmmm…good stuff…I do know the record for under 32° is 14 days which is 480 hours…so add some before and after…IF you include 32°…that is 27 days or at least 648 hours.

      • Richard

        Thanks Joe
        I was just relaying what the NWS hadcon their facebook page today.
        I just now heard Mike say this is the coldest stretch on record.
        NWS was saying “below freezing” longest stretch record is 501 hours.

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