Joe’s Weather World: Snow moving through plus bitterly cold air today (SAT-1/11)

map of snow storm

I tell you what this storm was frustrating…it has been all week and when you think you sort of have a good feeling for how things will play out…a piece of data comes in that can shake that confidence. It got to a point last night where I just said to myself…keep the forecast the same and let the cards play out on their own.

That is happening now…the snow is picking up on the KS side especially and slowly expanding eastbound. A couple of inches are likely with some getting maybe 3″ or so. Temperatures are dropping. As I type this we’re in the lower teens which is impressive and we have sub-zero wind chills as well.

I’ll be glad when this storm is toast that’s for sure. A wild ride and again, as I’ve written all week…just so much different than the winter storms last season when things played out pretty much as expected.



Forecast:

Today: Snow through about 4PM or so then cloudy skies. Cold with teens during the day. Wind chills in the negative territory.

Tonight: Mostly cloudy…IF we get more breaks we may really tank to 0° to 5° above. Otherwise single digit lows. Winds settle down somewhat

Tomorrow: Partly cloudy turning cloudy with snow showers possible later in the afternoon. IF we get some heavier showers we could see a dusting out there. When this happens the winds may pick up as well.

Monday: Better with highs near 40° with upside.



Discussion:

Well let’s start with radar…

From 11AM-2PM or so this will be the bulk of the accumulating snow. Again a couple of inches likely.

This storm has given me fits and frustrations.

In reality, at least through this minute…the storm has been well forecast. The glazing…the colder air…the impacts to the Metro roads…predicted to the hour on Thursday for what happened on Friday…but in the end we’re judged, fairly or unfairly (mostly fairly) by how much snow falls.

In the end 2-4″ would probably have been the best forecast from the get go. It’s tough to do that though when we have data that was showing so much moisture coming down during this phase of the storm. Granted it was overdone…and we knew that mostly…but when the data was pointing to 1/3rd of an inch to 1/2″ of liquid equivalent combined with the colder temperatures…that’s the recipe for more snow.

The comma-head part of the storm was the whole snow maker for us…it’s happening now as I type this…but it just wont’ be able to generate that much liquid equivalent. It will be more like half that…which cuts down on the snow amounts.

Hey…it’s snowing…accumulating and it will be more than 1″. Last night I cut the forecast to 2-6″ stressing that the 5-6″ range was the real high end…and concentrating more on the 2-4″ range of possibilities…I even showed this graphic for my confidence level of what may unfold.

So it more or less is working out.

Heck we even got the timing for the main part of the snow to work out almost to the hour from 48 hours ago.

Again though in the end it’s about the totals. 2-3+” seem to be what we’re looking at.

By no means a perfect forecast..but overall from a timing perspective to impacts…to the expected lull last night…to the accumulating snow today…to the timing of that accumulation and everything in between…right now…I’m giving myself a solid B (maybe B+). I hope you agree.

Here is the storm…

The temperatures are also impressively cold.

It’s in the teens and steady now…we’ll end up bitterly cold tonight…potentially near 0° in some areas with the dry air in place and the clearing skies. The winds should turn towards the SW overnight so that may prevent a total free fall…but this will be the coldest night of the winter season so far.

Tomorrow is another interesting day…not so much in the morning but in the afternoon.

Another disturbance will be coming this way…and it’s a small but potent one. The issue is that this storm is going to try to sweep away the moisture in the atmosphere to some extent. The next inbound one has to try and saturate the atmosphere very quickly tomorrow.

During the spring with a lot of surface moisture…this would be a severe weather set-up. The dynamic wave will generate a lot of lift as it approaches so that clouds will rapidly develop and fill in.

From those clouds…snow showers are likely…there may be some rain drops mixed in…maybe even some sleet/graupel or something weird too. This should develop in the afternoon and fly through parts of the area. Winds will be increasing as well as this approaches and moves through. IF it comes out a bit farther south…we could even see a dusting of whatever in parts of the area. Something that I’ve talked about since Thursday on the air. Need to watch this.

Then it settles down a bit but another fast moving wave may generate some rain on Monday night or early Tuesday morning.

There should be some pretty cold air coming in WED into THU…and the GFS is trying to create some ice around these parts at the end of the week as the colder air departs. We’ll see about that.

OK that’s it…I’m burned out. These storms are like I’m in a 10 round boxing match. I take them very personally…after a few rounds of rope a dope…we get settled in…then there are a flurry of body blows in the end and we see who wins when the final bell chimes.

Our feature photo is from Brittany Isabell up in St Joseph, MO.

Joe

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5 comments

  • rickmckc

    I think there ought to be a “degree of difficulty” assigned to weather forecasts, kind of like how they judge gymnastics or skating. Predicting snow to the inch – especially around here – is exceedingly difficult given that a difference of two-tenths of moisture and 5 degrees of temp can spell a difference of 1.5″ and 4″ in total snowfall. Plus, that .2″ of moisture is not even 1% of the total moisture we get yearly (30″ish).

  • Mike

    I think sometimes snow lovers AND snow haters get a bit prickly when things aren’t perfect with the forecast. The fact that you consistently sent the message that you weren’t totally sold on higher let me know to be ready for the “curveballs” you discussed. If people were paying attention to your blog and forecasts, they shouldn’t be surprised at the final result, no matter how disappointed (or happy) they are we didn’t get more snow. Thanks for the refreshing honesty and humility you bring to these difficult forecasts. I’m going to grade you on curve this time and bump you up to an A! Keep up the great work!

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