Joe’s Weather Blog: Introducing storm #3 aka “more snow #3” (SUN-2/17)

Good afternoon…some sunshine is breaking through as I type this blog up. That’s a good thing and will help melt at least some of the snow out there in the area. As usual it seems with this current weather pattern…just when we get rid of it on the driveway…it will come back. So today’s blog will talk about a few things including…storm #3…storm #4…and dippin’ dots (bear with me on that one).



  • Forecast:

Tonight: Variable clouds with more clear skies at times. Colder with lows in the teens

Monday: Partly cloudy with increasing PM clouds and highs near 30°

Tuesday: Initially dry but an increasing snow chance towards the evening. Highs in the 20s

Tuesday night: Accumulating snows likely…ending before daybreak Wednesday. 2-5″ is my current thought process. Not as powdery of a snow as what happened on Friday either…a bit “wetter” in nature. Lows in the 20s

Wednesday: Decreasing clouds and chilly with highs in the 30s



  • Discussion:

So about last night…

Dippin’ Dots.

(Courtesy dippin’dots.com)

So no it wasn’t actually ice cream falling from the sky last night…it was this…and they look very similar.

It was pretty much everywhere. It’s called graupel. It’s actually a German word meaning “pearl barley” and they way it forms is it starts as a snowflake and falls through the lower part of the atmosphere…there is runs into super-cooled water droplets (that process is a whole other story). Those water droplets attach on to the original snowflake…and you gradually evolve into a BB looking piece of frozen precipitation.

Notice the coloring…very opaque…very milky. That was falling but some had sleet as well..which is formed in an entirely different way. The way you can tell the difference is that sleet is a bit clearer…more icy looking.

We’ve actually had graupel numerous times before but last night’s display was one of the better ones.

The more you know!

Onwards…storm #3

Now granted last night wasn’t really a “storm” in terms of amounts of snow/sleet…whatever. But there was a low pressure system passing towards the SE and E of the KC area…so it was a storm…just a weak one.

Storm #3 will be a bigger deal. For the Plains as a whole it should be a substantial storm but for KC it may not be as substantial. Another accumulating snow yes…perhaps something like what happened this past Friday…and right now I’m still thinking 2-5″ is possible.

As I mentioned yesterday I have concerns about getting much more than that.

First…the system now is in CA.

Over the next couple of days…heavy rains and mountain snows will affect the western US…

That’s actually some good rain in AZ as well…

CA has done well lately for rain and snow…this is a good thing…now. It may be a bad thing later in the year with more bad fires…all this rain is going to get things growing…and when it turns dry again, which it will…that means the potential of bad fires in parts of the state.

and in the mountains where they’ve been measuring the snow with a yard stick…

 

The central and northern part of the state have a lot of built up water in all the snow covering the mountains up there. All 3 zones, including the southern zone are above average in term of moisture content of the snow…that’s good as long as the snow melts slowly during the spring.

After that tangent the storm responsible for bringing more moisture there will come into the Plains but really, as I illustrated yesterday, the main part of this storm will be passing into the Western Dakotas. There will be a disturbance coming out or the main part of the storm…and that will likely pass towards the NW of KC.

This means as the “baby” wave comes into the Plains…it will move from the SSW to the NNE in fast fashion. Snow will develop towards southern KS and some sort of wintry mix may develop in NE OK and far SE KS. Anyway all this moves towards the NE and NNE and will arrive sometime later Tuesday PM into the evening. It’s worth paying attention to the arrival time of the stuff on Tuesday because of the evening rush hour.

Snow is likely to accumulate on Tuesday night into the week hours of Wednesday before shutting down fast before daybreak it appears. This will keep the snow window relatively short and since this stuff has a tendency to happen a bit faster and end quicker than the models usually show…that shortens the window a bit more.

In addition to this…the snow ratios won’t be as favorable as what happened in many areas on Friday. Some had an 11:1 ratio…others were closer to 15:1…this time we’re going to be closer to 10::1 or so…that means 1/4″ of moisture will get you 2-3″ of snow…and 1/2″ of moisture will get you 4.5-5.5″ of snow.

I think we’re going to be close to about 1/4-1/3″ of moisture from this fast moving wave. That equates to about 3+” of snow…so give me a little wiggle room on the down side and a bit on the upside…and I’m in that 2-5″ range.

The downside number can easily occur with this because of what I talked about yesterday…a fast moving dry slot. The “baby” wave will be ejecting out towards the west of the area it appears. As long as that happens (and it doesn’t come farther east by 100+ miles) some sort of dry slot may develop with it and quickly zip up from the SSW to the NNE. That dry slot may not totally end the snow BUT it will eradicate the moisture where the better snowflakes form…leaving us with lighter less accumulating snows and maybe more graupel or sleet too. Speculation on my part right now…but I’m watching it. That dry slot should move in towards 12AM WED in the mid levels of the atmosphere so the best accumulating snow may wind down before 2AM Wednesday…and the snow window gets even shorter.

That’s why, right now at least, I don’t want to go too high with the totals. Friday we had widespread 3-5″ with some isolated 6″ers. Right now I think that storm #3 should do widespread 2-4″ with some isolated 5″ers…especially NW/N of KC.

Let’s see if that changes…and obviously it can. Some of the model data is a bit more bullish with the moisture. A look at a bunch of other model total precip values shows this range…from a few hundredths (tossing those values) to close to 7/10″ (tossing that one too). This is from the overnight run

 

You come out with roughly a 1/3″ average…

The last 4 runs of all those models together have been trending up a bit…so it’s something to watch. IF I’m overestimating the speed of the dry slot…then there is a bit of upside to the lower range totals…perhaps more 4-5″ers…that’s why I’ve got that range.

This storm really won’t be dragging down any more cold air…and it appears we should start seeing moderation towards the end of the week. Now the question will be how efficiently can we warm up with 3-6″ of snow still on the ground locally. It may take a day or two to get rid of that influence…which will lead us into the next system for the weekend.

That would be storm #4. And now storm #3 isn’t the last one. I mentioned last Tuesday, on the air that there would be another one to deal with. How much of that is snow remains to be seen…there are signs that may be a more typical late February system where you get front end rain and perhaps back end snow. Not that we cant get accumulating snow on the back side…we can…and that would be sometime next weekend…obviously a lot of speculation there.

Storm #4 would be the last in this series!

So it’s another week of active weather…oh boy!

Our feature photo comes from ‎Annette Keeter in Independence of what else…but the graupel!

Joe

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