Joe’s Weather Blog: A lot of you are getting grumpy about the winter (TUE-2/19)

So much winter. I remember back in January sometime…I think it was towards the early part of the month when I was randomly speculating IF the warmer weather we were enjoying was, in fact, our somewhat typical January thaw, except it was about 2-3 weeks early. It feels like that now. We have been persistently chilly…the snow on the ground isn’t helping and we’re about to add more snow on top of the snow on the ground. There should be some big-time melting heading into the weekend associated with storm #4 but the longer term trends are colder than average…there won’t be an early spring it appears and that darn groundhog failed the Plains this year.

  • Forecast: (8PM Update)

Tonight: Snow quickly arrives from the south…there might be a little melting on the pavement at first but the snow should fall quick and hard for many areas for a few hours tonight. It appears most of our accumulations will have to happen by about 12-2AM or so tomorrow morning. Accumulations will be in the 2-4″ range. 6″ does seem to be a bit on the high side of the totals to me this morning…so I would count on 2-4″ for the KC Metro area… and some 2-3″ers on the farther south side of the KC Metro area. There will be a conversion to some freezing rain/drizzle/mist overnight.

Wednesday: Lots of clouds with hopefully some PM sunshine at some point. SW winds will help to start the melting process. This will be a wetter snow compared to last Friday. Better snowman making snow for the kids at least. Highs near 32°

Thursday: Not too bad with highs in the 30s. Average is near 45° though.

  • Discussion:

We’ll get to the snow situation towards the back half of the blog.

Let’s sort of put all this snow into perspective since I’ve been showing these stats on the air and some of you don’t read the weather blog day in and day out.

  1. So far this winter we’re up to 23.3″ of snow.
  2. Average for an entire winter in the KC area is 18.8″
  3. For the winter season to date (that’s important) we’ve had the 21st fastest start to the snow season.

We will be going up that ranking after tonight and tomorrow early morning.

4. Overall though when you look at the previous winter snows…and put the current 23.3″ into that…this ranks as the 46th snowiest winter in KC weather history going back to the 1880s. Obviously after tonight we’ll go up that list a few more notches. Heck if KCI gets 4″ or so…we’ll vault into the Top 30!

If you’re wondering about the Top 10 in KC…

You can see the standout winters of 09-10 and 10-11 in the top 10 rankings.

2012-13 was another big winter with over 31″ of snow.

So it’s been awhile.

Something else that is sort of interesting is the track of these systems during FEB…at least at the surface…courtesy Ralphs Weather OBS

Let’s go back another month to January…

The 1/11-13 storm was the one that nailed us pretty good…and for the month we had over 9″ of snow @ KCI.

Most of those tracks are good ones for snow in the region. There have been some hybrid tracks too. For example the system coming through tonight…it’s a weird one…if you were to show me this forecast map for most winters (this map is valid Wednesday morning) I would probably tell you we wouldn’t get much, if any, snow.

Mother Nature doesn’t like being boxed in though…and that is the case tonight.

Another thing before the snow talk…that is the crazy fast jet stream that is above the USA right now. Let’s go up to about 35,000 feet or so or around the 200 mb level…and look at the river of air flowing through the USA. This is from last night.

Remember last week when we talked about the various weather balloon launches around North America…some 100 or so. That data is on the above map. The winds are measured in knots. 100 kts=115 MPH. Each bold “flag” above is a 50 kt flag…2 of them would be 100 kts and 3 would be 150 kts.

So the air way up there above the KC area is flying along…like the water in a fast moving and funneled river of water at close to 150 kts or close to 175 mph!

What’s fascinating is that when they launched the weather balloon yesterday in Dodge City, KS…it flew towards the ENE. It rises to around 100,000 feet and then pops and falls down. Odds are it’s somewhere in a field in central KS.

So IF a plane catches that jet stream…let’s say it’s flying from LA to London…

Why do airlines love flying with a tailwind…because 1) it gets people to their destination faster and 2) it saves them a LOT of money.

$4/gallon of jet fuel x’s 1700 gallons = about $7000 in savings!

Last night the air was flowing at around 230 MPH over Long Island, NY…the strongest winds EVER observed up there since balloons have been launched…that’s pretty amazing!

Amazing stuff really.

Onwards to the situation for tonight.

3-5″ is still a good forecast. Again 6″ highside number may be tough to reach in the Metro but odds are it will get close towards NW MO and parts of NE KS.

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for the region with Winter Storm Warnings towards the north of KC into NW MO and NE KS.

Here is a look at radar. You may see activity out there on radar through early this afternoon but most, if not all of the returns will be evaporating before they reach the ground…let’s call it “snirga” instead of virga (the real word to use). Heck if I can talk about dippin’ dots as much as I talked about dippin’ dots over the weekend because of what happened on Saturday…

The key time to watch is around 4-7 PM or so..we’d love for the snow to hold off and get us through rush hour without too many issues. IF the snow arrives early…there may be some wet roads (some melting) then slushy to slick roads…so IF we can have this hold off till after rush that would be a positive.

Once it really gets going we should have several hours of moderate to at times heavy snow bursts moving through the region through the 9PM hour…so the bulk of the accumulation will have to happen before that time I think. That’s about 6 hours or so of 1/2″/hour (average) snow rates…and maybe an 1-2 hour of 1″/hour rates. That should get us an easy 3″ of snow for many areas.

Here is the HRRR model indicating the snow timing…hopefully this will auto-update for you through the day/night.

From there let’s see what happens with the dreaded and fast moving dry slot, that while not shutting down ALL the snow, will remove the better moisture in the more favored area of the atmosphere where snow likes to form. When that moisture is removed you can get areas of freezing drizzle/mist/rain to move through, perhaps adding to a light glaze on top of the snow. This dry slot may cut the amounts towards the SE of KC especially and also farther south.

Areas farther north though won’t get into that dry slot till sometime after 3AM Wednesday..more snow production=higher totals up to the north and perhaps northwest of KC.

Confidence levels…average totals (updated at 4PM)

Dusting to 2″: 100%

2-4″: 100%

4-6″: 50% (towards the lower side of that). We really are sort of straddling these 2 categories

Over 6″: 0%

Over 10″: 0%

Again widespread 3-6″ seems to be a good forecast with lower towards SE and higher towards the NW part of the state…5-7″ or so up there. I do think that 6″ is a real push for the KC Metro.

More or less a system that will be similar in amounts to what happened this past Friday. The snow characteristics will be wetter and not as dry as what happened this past Friday too…so that is better snowman and snowball type snow I think.

Our feature photo comes from Tedd Scofield

OK that’s it. Feel free to follow me on Twitter @fox4wx and also on FB (Joe Lauria Fox 4 Meteorologist) for more updates. I’ll do a FB live this evening…sometime around 8 or 8:15 or so like last night. It should be going pretty good by then.



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