Joe’s Weather World: Now we deal with snow chances…I’m not kidding (THU-4/11)

The storm that has moved into the Plains is a big one. That we know…it’s effects are wide ranging. It was fascinating to watch what was happening yesterday on so many different levels. Winds…snow…cold air extremes…hot air extremes…dust storms…and a few other things. I tried to give an idea yesterday about all of these facets on the different weather casts…and the blog today will let me expand a bit too.

Typically a storm like this comes through and we’re done with active weather for 5+ days…that won’t be the case this time. There is a second storm…and if you’ve read the blog this week you know what I’m talking about…a 2nd storm that could (key word) create accumulating snow somewhere near by. This is still a needle in the haystack thing BUT there are increasing pieces of data that support this chance. Where this sets up in the region is still tough to say…but odds favor areas from 36 highway southwards as being “vulnerable” to something…and that something is NOT good.



  • Forecast:

Today: Cloudy skies with steady-ish temperatures and blustery conditions. Readings will be around 50° for most of the day. Winds may gust to 30-40 MPH.

Tonight: Fair skies and breezy with lows near 30°. I don’t think frost will be an issue because of the wind

Friday: Mostly Sunny and not as cold but chilly for mid April with highs around 50°

This weekend: OK for Saturday…rain Saturday night and then a wintry mix Sunday morning before clearing out Sunday afternoon. Saturday will be the better of the two days. Accumulations are possible in the area (not for all) Sunday.



  • Discussion:

So I don’t even know where to start this morning…how about the surface map from 8AM.

Can you make out the storms circulation? The low pressure area is up towards eastern NE this morning. The cold front is knifing through western MO…not the contrast between KC and central MO where temperatures are still in the 70s! Note the colder air to the west of the KC area blowing this way with west winds gusting to 25-40 MPH!

As if this wasn’t enough happening…there is something that I noticed yesterday that I’m almost more excited about…when I can tell you something that I doubt anyone else considered in the weather world while forecasting this storm. Dust!

I sent this tweet out yesterday evening..and was geeking out last night on the air while showing satellite pictures of western Texas and New Mexico.

So look at this picture sent in from Gardner this morning.

I love this! Also got some reports via twitter as well. That I geek out on!

All because of this storm.

This storm created intense heat in the southern Plains…

and very chilly conditions across the northern Plains…

For KC we hit 84°…warmest of the year so far and I’m not sure we’ll get there over the next couple of weeks again.

At one point yesterday during the 5PM show it was 34° in Goodland, KS and 235 miles away it was 94° in Gage, OK.

Fascinating to watch unfold.

There were a couple of overnight and AM showers too that have already moved away.

This storm will gradually move away as well but not before dumping a bunch of snow across the upper Midwest.

It appears MN and SD will be hit the hardest from this snow…

So this storm has everything…there was even some severe weather yesterday across northern KS and southern NE…some golf ball hail was reported.

Next up is whether or not this was another “bomb cyclone”. Loren last night asked me IF this was even a “real” weather term and she was surprised it was to an extent. There is a process that can happen called bombogenesis that is a “real” weather term. We don’t often refer to storms in the Plains in that way because storms have to attain a certain rate of intensification for that moniker to be used and for the Plains it’s unusual to do that. This term is often used more in the far western Atlantic or along the eastern seaboard where you get powerful noreasters to develop and intensify rapidly. Also up towards AK this happens quite a bit.

As a matter of fact I saw this tweet the other day of ALL The bomb cyclones over the past 50 years or so…note the dearth in the Plains.

Well we had one in March…and as far as yesterday goes…well it’s complicated.

The term bombogenesis refers to a storm that sees a rapid and specific drop in air pressure in the center of the circulation. At our latitude I believe that a storm has to drop 24 millibars in 24 hours. 24 millibars is a reference to air pressure. It would equate to roughly .72″ of mercury on a home barometer.

The storm’s actual circulation DID not achieve this yesterday on the KS side…the air pressure was low in western KS and the storm didn’t really drop much in air pressure as it moved through the Plains. I saw a misleading tweet showing that just because the air pressure dropped in a broad sense across parts of KS in 24 hours it was a “bomb”. That’s not the way it works..the center of the storm has to see the pressure drop…not a wide expanse” of a state. In a sense like a hurricane’s eye.

Following me so far?

So about this particular storm. A colleague of mine who helped me with the air pressure stuff that I talked about the other day sent this tweet out…confirming that this indeed was a “bomb cyclone” too…it achieved this status in CO.

So there you have it…I think. Bomb cyclone #2 is in the books in one month here in the Plains.

Normally I’d now tell you that we have quiet weather coming for awhile and end the blog there…but I can’t.

About storm #2…and I know this blog is getting long.

So here is the deal…

As I mentioned yesterday another storm is coming into the western US. This will drop into the northern reaches of Mexico near El Paso and then make a sharp turn towards the NE and come up through OK Saturday night.

From there where it goes will be critical. Some model data has been very bullish with the potential of this taking an ideal snow track for KC..IF this was the dead of winter and the atmosphere was seasonably cold this could be a whooper of a snow storm. In mid April the onlly way this works is IF the storm takes the needle in a haystack track and chills the atmosphere on it’s own. This is a complicated process but nonetheless a doable process ONLY with a precise track.

Typically these types of systems produce snowstorms only a few counties wide. The snow has to be falling hard enough for it to stick and the temperatures have to be about 34° or so at the surface. That is a BIG ask in mid April. You know what though…it happened in October and some might have though it couldn’t. Granted it was only 2/10″ then remember?

Again, if ever there was a key..it’s the track and the path of the “dynamic” cooling of the atmosphere.

This can easily pass south of KC and we end up with the northern edge of just some rain. Perhaps it’s  potential Ozarks snowstorm (even tougher down there).

Here’s the thing though…this keeps looking better and better to me on the data. The EURO has been honking for days now…the NAM has been sounding alarms for the past few runs (today even more so). Forecast soundings are VERY suggestive of snow and potentially a historic snowstorm in this region.

It’s 4 days out…the track has to be perfect and the storm has to be strong to chill the atmosphere down to support snow all the way to the surface. There will be melting…BUT the timing of the snow is such that it’s coming early SUN…so it would be timed to stick, especially to the grass IF it comes down hard enough.

I do know that when I see this model output at 4AM Sunday…

and this at 7AM..

I don’t let my guard down…and you shouldn’t either. This would be a significant event for the month of April IF it happens

So just in case…

Our feature photo comes from

Joe

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