Joe’s Weather Blog: No record lows (it may be very close) but nasty cold in region (SUN-1/27)

Good afternoon…temperatures are struggling a bit today as clouds has continued to be a bit persistent out there and there were even a few snow showers for a brief time as well especially north of I-70. The focus on the blog are two significant chunks of arctic cold air to hit the KC region over the next 4 days…the pattern will quickly relax though towards the end of the week and a rapid moderation will start on Thursday…leading into milder weather next weekend. The lack of snow locally will help in the expected warm-up.

  • Forecast:

Tonight: Variable clouds with some early AM showers likely. Rain amounts should be under 1/10″ in KC. Maybe 1/4″ highside towards the SE of KC. Temperatures will come up overnight and the winds will increase as well. Temperatures will be in the 30s…possible near 40-45° in spots too. The winds may gust to 40 MPH+. IF that happens temperatures will be well into the 40s overnight

Monday: Clouds and turning nasty cold as the morning moves along. There may be a few flurries. Temperatures start in the mid 30s-40° or so but tumble to the teens later in the day. Winds increasing from the north at 30-40 MPH. Wind chills tank to below zero in most areas later in the afternoon.

Monday night: Windy and cold with lows in the single digits.

Tuesday: A small attempt at recovery before the next wave comes of cold comes in . 20s for highs but dropping again in the afternoon.

  • Discussion:

I don’t want to overplay the cold (locally) because it gets cold in the winter here…and I don’t want to underplay the serious wind chills, especially Wednesday morning. Temperatures of near -5° and 15 MPH winds create -25° wind chills for the Metro. That could be enough to cancel some schools, certainly in the rural areas and potentially in the city as well.

This will be an impressive shot of cold air tomorrow…but the main shot comes later Tuesday and that one will send the temperatures below zero. The air will be cold enough that even with no snow on the ground…it should be sub-zero. I’m thinking about -4 to -9° in KC proper from this assuming clear skies. Winds will be a factor too for those really low wind chill values and a Wind Chill Warning may be needed even in KC and certainly up in northern MO. Temperatures up there should get to 15 below (or colder).

So that’s about 15 minutes of exposed skin for frostbite to happen. Those big diesel buses, while not affected by wind chill, don’t like those cold temperatures too much…so they won’t be happy and IF there are delays the kids can’t be waiting at the bus stop for buses that are late in the cold weather.

The last wind chill warning was back in late December of 2017 I think (for KC at least).

So this is the type of cold that gets nationwide attention and media coverage. That’s a good thing and a bad thing. Good because there are no surprises…no “I didn’t know it was going to be this cold” type stories…bad because of the misplaced attribution to this being the “polar vortex” of cold. Please see my previous blog written on Friday about how this is a false narrative. It’s going to happen (the polar vortex) name-calling if you will. Long story short…it’s happening because the polar vortex circulation which is always up in the far northern latitudes is actually weakening…that allows chunks of it to break off and meander. One of these chunks is coming southwards this week and will form into an upper level storm towards the Lakes region. So NO it’s NOT the polar vortex…it’s a chunk of arctic air that has broken free from the vortex and is coming into the USA. There I feel better right now.

Seriously though, whatever you want to call it…respect the cold air coming…especially Wednesday. Single digit highs are likely at this point.

That won’t set any records locally I don’t think…but it could be VERY close. That record low for the 30th (Wednesday) isn’t as low as most of the records in January…so in a weird way it’s vulnerable perhaps.

The record low on Thursday morning is -10° in 1985.

By then the worst of the cold will be rotating away from the region..and some moderation  will be underway. Still cold though in the morning and perhaps sub-zero before daybreak at least.

Other cities won’t be as lucky…current NWS forecasts call for lows to be at record or near record values. Loo at the circled cities…those are just some of the cities that are most vulnerable

Here is Wednesday morning…

and now Thursday morning…

So let’s focus on a couple of cities. 1st of all the coldest temperatures (Top 10) here in KC.

How about Chicago…

or Des Moines…

or Minneapolis…

or the Quad City area (Moline)

So something else to watch…we’ll see how this ranks in the end.

Oh and on top of all this there will be snow up there…so they have that going for them too!

The amazing thing is that the pattern is NOT going to lock in…right now a drastic warm-up is expected by the end of the week and into next weekend. The GFS has us close to 60° on Saturday and so does the EURO model…touching 60° as well so I’ll be upping those highs for the end of the week. So seriously low wind chills to shorts weather? Possible. As a matter of fact from the coldest wind chills on Wednesday morning to the mildest air on Saturday…it’s almost a 75° in the forecast! In Chicago there could be a almost 100° swing from the coldest wind chills to the mildest air next Sunday!

No significant precipitation is expected in the region this week…the next storm will likely be rain but in that 7-10 day period. So perhaps in a week or so…BUT that may drag down some colder air and a set-up for something else later in the 1st week of February. Well see about that.

Our feature photo comes from ‎Kevin Kirkwood‎ out in Douglas County…


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1 Comment

  • Rockdoc

    Joe, what’s your take on the potential system moving thru Feb 4th – Feb 5th? This has been somewhat consistent on both the Euro/GFS. Yes it bounces around in terms of timing/location, but I think it fits Lezak’s LRC. Latest GFS run has low in perfect slot but we know this will change.

    PS, brutal wicked cold for animals left outdoors. Can you say something on air to bring them inside or at least inside garages with blankets/straw? Thanks🐶🐈

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