Joe’s Weather Blog: Strap on your seatbelts…this will be a bumpy 2 weeks (MON-1/14)

Well IF you don’t like winter weather…stop reading the blog right now. Go to another web page and call us this…it’s a web cam in Aruba where the sun is shining and it’s probably in the 80s today. IF you do like winter…or really if you just want to know what’s going to happen…keep reading…because for the next two weeks, maybe more, we’re going to have waves of arctic cold come through…threats of snowstorms, potentially some ice, cold brutal sub-zero wind chills, and potentially sub-zero morning lows. Heck the EURO model has us around 10 below for a HIGH on Chiefs Sunday. Yup it’s going to get bumpy and some will love it and many will get tired of it fast. Regardless there will be a lot to write about and talk about for the rest of the month it appears.



  • Forecast:

Today: Cloudy and dreary with little temperature change…highs around 30°

Tonight: Cloudy with lows in the upper 20s

Tuesday: It may remain cloudy again. There may be some thin spots/breaks in the PM. Highs in the 30s

Wednesday: Clouds again with some light freezing rain/drizzle possible later in the day into very early in the Thursday AM. It may create some AM THU rush hour concerns. Highs near 32°



  • Discussion:

I don’t even know where to start…

I think though I want to go back to the last couple of days…so much snow for so many folks…over a foot of it in parts of the Metro area. I don’t necessarily want to talk about that though…I do want to talk about how, within about 15 miles or so…this almost turned into a much lessor type snow.

The snowfall gradient highlights why it can be so difficult, if not impossible, to figure out accurate snow amounts (as a forecast) sometimes. Many of you received 6-10″ of snow…some had 10-13″ of snow (inside the KC Metro area!). Others had…wait for it…4-6″ of snow…inside the Metro area!!!

Yup…there was this weird zone from about KCI (about 4.5″) into Wyandotte County and into far western JOCO that go much less snow than about 10-15 miles away. So basically in the KC Metro area there was a 5-13″ snow gradient. You can argue that that gradient was within 10-20 miles.

The map above is decent but even it is a bit off in terms of some of the localized amounts in parts of JOCO and JACO and maybe a few other areas as well.

Here is a bit more of a detailed map…this doesn’t include all the snow totals…but you get an idea of the highlighted (to the left) lower totals.

So that gradient was real.

Here are some of the higher totals in our region. The highest in MO was 20″ in Montgomery City.

The reality of what fell though will sort of be tough to know for sure. The snow was heavy and wet and was compacting on itself. So unless you were out there every 1-2 hours or so…your final total may be lower than what technically fell. I had 10″ here a the house, admittedly though I didn’t measure that till 2PM SAT and there may have been a higher total before that measurement. I do know that we had about 3.5″ at 11PM FRI night when I measured…and 5″ when I left early SAT AM to go to work.

Anyway…snow gradients are fascinating and frustrating. The hindsight correct forecast was something like 5-17″ through the region and 5″-13″ in KC proper…

So that’s storm #1.

I don’t want to get too involved in the nitty gritty of the next 2 days really. I will just leave you with the satellite pictures…and you can see the issue. Hopefully there are some breaks at some point but as I explained yesterday I’ve been here for more than 20 years…and high moisture wet snows melting are notorious for residual low clouds when the winds are light. It’s worthy of a blog by itself really.

Onwards…

As I mentioned yesterday there is a fast zippy moving wave that could generate some light precip…of the icy kind sometime later Wednesday into Thursday AM. The potential for a light glaze of ice is there because temperatures aloft will be coming up above freezing I think. That means what falls aloft will melt as it falls…then refreeze as it hits the surface assuming we’re under 32°. It’s worth following because even though it’s not a significant system…the timing, overnight WED/early THU could create issues on THU AM. There could be a wintry mix of sleet or snow as well involved, at least at first. A switch to some very light rain is possible as well towards the end of the system.

Then there is the potential of another snow, and another snowstorm. There isn’t a lot of change in this from yesterday…as a strong wave/storm in the upper levels is coming into the region as the arctic air drops into the area. Really it’s a classic set-up as I illustrated yesterday. Maybe not over 12″ BUT this will be a wet to dry snow transition type thing and depending on the situation on Friday…there could even be some sleet for awhile as well. The drier nature of the snow means that, unlike the 8-10:1 ratios from the past weekend, the ratios this time will be higher, which means a bigger “fluff” factor and this time it will take LESS moisture to add up to bigger snows.

Obviously it’s too early to get too specific on this…but the data is sure pointing to another significant snow in the region.

The heaviest would be on later Friday>Saturday, especially during the 1st 1/2>2/3rds of the day. Again a classic set-up with an arctic boundary in the region (to the south of KC) and a strong wave and decent surface low moving along that boundary. As you know I preach using an ensemble approach to storms 5+ days out especially. Let’s see where they are thinking the surface storm will be…these are from the EURO ensembles…

Almost every one of those is a good to classic position for heavy snow and near blizzard conditions locally. NOTE the black lines…those are isobars. The more isobars you see the bigger the change in air pressure in a specified distance. Notice how they are packed along our latitude and from eastern IA to south central KS? That’s trouble with a capital T. Unlike the weekend storm where the snow melted for hours on the pavement and there was no wind…this time that’s a wind maker set-up.

Take a look at the wind gust potential off the EURO model…this is probably somewhat overdone but you get the message. This is for noon on Saturday.

This obviously is NOT set in stone…I’m telling you from days ahead of time that there may well be players on the field coming together to create another memorable snowstorm in the region. That’s the purpose of the blog. I will tell you that I’m hitting this harder on the air than I’ve done in the past from so far out though. That is significant for me.

More on that in the coming days…

Then the arctic air and that is the guarantee through all this. It’s a matter of just how cold it gets…not that it will get cold. It will!

The cold on Sunday will be nasty. Last night I had 13° for a high…and that may be 10° to high. Snow cover + an arctic air mass in place could send temperatures to near 0° in the morning…and temperatures easily may stay is the single digits all day and IF we’re not careful…take a look at this.

This is from the EURO model for afternoon highs Sunday..

I typically don’t like using the GFS temperatures that far out…but the signal is clear.

Could this be the coldest Chiefs game? Remember this?

That was 2+ years ago.

OK let’s get this published…our feature photo comes from Laurie Wittman Hoehns

 

See you tonight on FOX 4!

Joe

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3 comments

  • sedsinkc (@sedsinkc)

    Joe, any thoughts on whether there could be any connection between our pending extended Arctic weather and that sudden stratospheric warming event that occurred a couple of weeks ago? The evidence of a connection between these SSW events and southward displacement of the tropospheric polar vortex seemed less than clear-cut based on what you wrote in a December blog, if I remember correctly?

    • Joe Lauria

      Ahh yes…the SSW. So it will be about 3 weeks since that actually occurred which is in line with the process involved so perhaps yes…arctic air doesn’t seem to be a favorable set-up coming into MJO 4 and 5. jl