Joe’s Weather Blog: How rare has been this cold weather in KC? (WED-1/17)

Good morning…the forecast from this past weekend worked out very nicely as this morning temperatures bottomed out at -4° at KCI. The good news is that we started to reverse the coldest weather trends overnight and as I woke up this morning temperatures were around 0°. Now I know that doesn’t sound great when you’re reading it…but the core of the arctic air is now moving away from the KC area. It’s a start of a warm-up that will take us through the weekend before a rather stout storm moves through the Plains and allows another push of seasonably cold January weather to move into the area next week. There are no more true arctic air masses to come down the pike for awhile..10+ days…although next week will still be chilly.


Today: Mostly sunny and cold but better than it has been with highs in the mid 20s

Tonight: Not as cold with lows in the teens

Thursday: Finally we should crack freezing and melt away more of the snow with highs well into the 30s

Friday: Getting even better with highs well into the 40s if not into the 50s. It will “feel” cooler though because of some rather stiff SW winds blowing…gusting to 25-30 MPH.


So the worst of the arctic air is now moving away from the region…and perhaps we’re done with the arctic blasts for a couple of weeks. Don’t think we’re done with them for the winter season though…more will come in February but at least for now…things may get closer to average around these parts.

This morning there are parts of the southern portion of the US seeing their coldest weather in decades. Single digit lows have pushed as far south as MS/AL/LA.

Check out the 7AM surface map showing the temperatures in red.

Meanwhile closer to home…there are 5 to 10 below  lows this morning towards the Ozarks.. Remember a few days ago I mentioned that the coldest part of the region this morning would be south instead of north of KC. This was connected to the return flow that set-up overnight locally. Our winds switched toward the SW around 12AM this morning…while areas towards the Lakes had to wait a few more hours…and that made a big difference in the lows this morning.

Even on the map above…single digit lows have pushed well into central TX. It’s an impressive push of cold weather. The south is also dealing with all sorts in wintry precipitation this morning. Atlanta, GA is a mess. This is now the 4th wintry event in the southeast part of the country in the last 6 weeks or so.

When looking at the snow cover as a whole…

Almost 53% of the country is under a blanket of snow this morning. The last time there was close to this much snow cover was back in 2007…and this morning there is still more snow on the ground than back then.

So it’s certainly been a very different winter around the US. The western US (although this will be changing) isn’t getting that much snow…while the SE and eastern part of the country is doing OK for snow. The cold though seems to be around in spades and I wanted to talk more about that showing you some stats that I dug up.

Our temperatures have been below 10° now after 8AM on the 15th. That’s an impressive run of about 48 hours…and we’ll tack on a few more this morning before we pop above 10°. I was curious about how this would stack up compared to ALL the weather obs every hour taken up at KCI over the years going back to the early 70s. Here is that information broken down for each hour…you may want to file this away for future reference. Note how the chances of getting 100°+ than some of the lower temperatures we’ve seen.

OK so what are we looking at above? This is basically a breakdown of the temperatures each hour up at KCI. 00 is 12AM…12 is Noon…18 is 6PM and 23 is 11PM…that is the blue bar. You can see the ranges on the far left. Then all the other numbers represent the number of hourly reports of certain temperatures. So IF you look carefully for the Less than 0° to minus 10° range…3rd row down…you can see that the bulk of the time we’ve spent at that range is typically before 8AM…that makes sense right…

Now look farther into the day at the same range…and all of a sudden from 10AM to 3PM it becomes rather rare to be that cold.

Now go down one more column…to the 0 to <10°. From 7AM to Noon it’s pretty unusual to have temperatures in the single digits…but yet for the last couple of days…we had no problem doing it. Also note the number of times at 3PM we were above 100° compared to in the single digits. 115 to 91.

Let’s break those numbers down into percentages.

I can even dig into the wind chills for you…which have been pretty obnoxious lately. We had under -20° wind chills for several hours in a couple of shots…one was New Years morning and the other was yesterday morning…it’s actually even rare to have wind chills that low during the morning hours. Look at the -30 to -20° range below…then scan across to the 6AM to 9AM range (06 to 09 on the blue bar)…that’s pretty impressive.

Now here is a percentage of times with the wind chills.

At least we’re done for awhile.

So about the weekend storm. Actually when looking at the data…this is going to be a rather significant storm in the Plains with the increasing potential of a decent snowstorm well towards the NW of KC…think central/western KS/Nebraska into IA. It’s really the best storm we’ve seen in the Plains in several months I think.

The issue is that for the KC region…it may not be overly productive as the best precipitation amounts will be in the colder air to the north and west of KC and also towards central and eastern MO and elsewhere. We have some rain likely…maybe even some thunderstorms (briefly) but everything will be flying through so fast that I’m not sure how much rain we’ll actually get. Odds favor the upper level system passing towards the NW of KC…and that means a likely dry slot cutting off the best moisture as the day moves long on Sunday. Interesting to note that where temperatures this morning are near -10° (Ozarks)…there may be thunderstorms this weekend.

In the spring though this would be a severe weather set-up for the region, especially on the MO side of things.

More on this storm on Friday.

OK that’s it for today…I doubt I’ll write a blog tomorrow (THU)…we’ll see though.

Our feature photo is from ‎Levi Fyock down in Paola, KS



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