Joe’s Weather Blog: An update on winter model trends (WED-01/16)

Good afternoon…a later blog that usual. I was dead tired this morning and felt I couldn’t give 100% to this…so I needed a nap…that’s done…now let’s get into it. A reminder, please follow me on twitter for additional more real-time updates. I send a lot of stuff out there including model updates etc that you would find useful as we track this next storm coming into KC. My twitter handle is @fox4wx.



  • Forecast:

Tonight: Freezing rain/mist/drizzle likely. Roads may become slick in spots. Freezing rain amounts will be very light but a small glaze can still produce headaches. Usually the bigger issues are when temperatures are in the mid-upper 20s. Tonight the low will be closer to 30° so it may not be a widespread sheet of ice out there tomorrow morning.

Thursday: Cloudy skies and cold. Highs again near 35°

Friday: Same…with increasing chances of at least some rain or a wintry mix developing in the later in the day or towards night. Highs in the mid 30s



  • Discussion:

So one of the reasons why I started the blog the way I did was yesterday and last night I sent out a couple of tweets that this audience (the blog readers) may have been interested in .

Click on that twitter because there are some additional thoughts attached to it.

Then last night…I sent this out.

It’s easier to get some quick thoughts out via twitter than on the blog.

So the 2nd tweet is really the important one. The Pacific is a mess indeed. One look at the water vapor shots shows this chaos going full on out there via Rutgers University.

The feature to watch is more or less that storm off the coast of CA…although there is some energy coming on the south side of the storm itself that is going to play a factor in this too.

So before we tackle everything let’s go over what I’ve been talking about for the last few days.

I first raised a yellow flag that something could happen FRI>SAT this past Sunday. At the same time on Sunday I said that the game this Sunday would be considerably colder than what we went through last Saturday. Then I started to mention the potential of an accumulating snow in this time frame on Monday. All this still looks likely.

The devil is the details…how much snow and how cold it gets. The cold was always a guarantee. Saturday should feature dropping temperatures all day…and wind chills tanking to sub-zero levels. We may end up in the single digits for temperatures at the end of the day. Sunday’s cold however may not be as brutal. The dump of cold air coming into the area isn’t as cold on the data today as it was a couple of days ago.

Let me show you the temperatures at the surface as a comparison.

1st yesterday’s EURO forecast valid at 6PM Sunday..

 

 

Now today’s forecast…

Why?

Well strictly looking at the surface…remember yesterday when I showed you the virtually identical surface maps from the DEC 2016 game day with Tennessee and the forecast off the data yesterday. Same strength of the Arctic high building in right on top of the KC Metro area…1042 millibars. Look at the latest forecast map…

The surface air pressure when from about 1042 mbs…to about 1033 mbs. 30.77″ to 30.47″. Still high pressure but an indicator that the colder, denser air isn’t as cold or as dense for this area.

That will cause temperatures at game time to not be around 5° but perhaps be closer to 10-15° or so. Again plenty cold…some 20 to 25° below average which again from days away is still NOT a terrible forecast…just again the devil is in the details.

So perhaps it’s not silly cold..but still darn cold weather we’re talking about. Sub-zero temperatures are still possible Sunday morning as well.

Now onto the snow situation.

The model data will handle some things well and some things poorly. Sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes the one aspect they have trouble with is the actual amount of precipitation that a system can generate and when it comes to snowfall forecasting that’s important.

I see the trends for somewhat lessor snow totals…I see the trends for a big thump of fast accumulating snow then things perhaps end faster. I see all those trends. The thing is I don’t throw in the flag on lessor whatever unless there is a change in the structure of the storm or the track of the storm…and that may be happening.

The EURO data has this storm track about 100 miles farther south of KC. I think in the comments section in the blog yesterday, maybe it was in the main body I said this…

That answer is still valid today.

Yesterday in the blog…I mentioned that I’d be starting at 2-8″ (in the blog and not on the air) for snow accumulations. Why only the blog? Well 1) it’s far to early to get specific accumulations out to the masses. They hear 2-8″ and their is a tendency to hear the number 8!. The point of the blog to to talk about things that I wouldn’t talk about on the air in a more casual and fun way. That’s the way it’s been for over 15 years at least! Just by the fact that you’re reading this means that you perhaps have a more keen interest (whether it be for business reasons…weather aficionado reasons…or are just more curious about the whys and whats) so that’s why you folks get to be more in the “know” as you get to hear the rambling thoughts in my head as opposed to what I can crank out in two to 3 minutes when there are other things going on at the same time…

So where am I today? I think I’d like to trim that top number down by 1-2″ or so…BUT I will say that there continues to be a decent chance of at least several hours of heavy snow combined with 30+ MPH winds Friday night and Saturday morning. IF that can last 4-6 hours…we get the higher end of 2-7″…if it lasts or is lighter we get the much lower end of the 2″ value. It will be blowing everywhere though and with the snow on the ground…many won’t be getting a fair measurement anyway.

It should be snowing pretty darn hard by 12AM Saturday morning…the issue is that it may not snow hard for more than a few hours. It should stick pretty fast though. So IF the snow isn’t lasting as long…it makes getting to that top value harder.

So the cold is coming…although perhaps not as brutal on Sunday afternoon…snow is likely to come…the potential of a few hours of near blizzard conditions are possible, although you may be sleeping when it happens, and sub-zero wind chills will develop on Saturday. You know…that’s really not a bad forecast from 5-6 days away (last weekend).

That doesn’t mean it’s an accurate forecast though…because reality means accuracy BUT saying something x days away and saying almost the same thing x+3 days away is still not too bad.

If it’s raining on Sunday with temperatures in the 30s…we’ll be wrong!

Our feature photo comes from @Cos72…gorgeous!

Joe

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