KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s been a fascinating morning watching the weather unfold. The arctic front hit the northside right around midnight, temperatures started to drop almost immediately. The wintry mix quickly changed over to sideways falling snow and then the winds increased to 35 mph. Wind chills are more than 20 below zero and dropping. What a day is unfolding around the area.

The snow that is falling and blowing has cut visibilities down to 1/4 mile at times. While we may not have a blizzard by definition, it’s fair to say near-blizzard conditions are being realized in the region this morning. The temperatures will continue to drop and the coldest air relative to average in the entire world is right now pouring into the Central Plains region.

What a day!

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Kansas City Forecast:

Today: Snow ends this morning with some blowing snow this afternoon. Falling temperatures to minus 5 degrees by the end of the day. Wind chills near minus 30 degrees (or lower for some) and winds may gust to near 35 mph at times, perhaps higher in some area.

Tonight: Clearing skies, windy and bitterly cold with lows near minus 10 degrees. Wind chills near or below minus 30 degrees.

Tomorrow: Sunny, windy, and bitterly cold. Highs near 5 degrees with wind chills 15-25 below zero.

Saturday: Sunny and cold with highs closer to 15 degrees. Relaxing winds in the afternoon.

Christmas: Variable clouds and not as cold. Chance of snow at night. Highs well into the 20s.

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Discussion:

What a blast (of cold air that is). It moved in last night near midnight. Temperatures have been falling ever since.

Here is a look at the actual temperatures at KCI. This is pretty representative of what unfolded through the region.

We are now sub-zero and will continue to drop. Why? There is even more cold air pouring in this morning. Take a look at the surface map (temperatures are in red) at 9 a.m.

Temperatures at 9 a.m. towards the immediate north of KC are minus 5 to minus 10 degrees and that air is still pouring into the region as I type this. So our temperatures will continue to drop off for the rest of the morning before stabilizing a bit this afternoon well below zero. That’s a rarity for KC to have these types of extreme falling temperatures during the daytime hours. Granted, winter started yesterday, but still this is impressive cold plunging through.

As I’ve mentioned numerous times with this event, it may not be historic, but it will be memorable.

So how cold is this air mass in the big scheme of things? Take a look at what’s pouring into the region. This graphic shows the temperatures in relation to average (an important consideration):

Take a look towards the arctic region. While still very cold, they are very mild compared to average. When something like this happens, the coldest of the air with relation to average is typically forced southwards.

As a matter of fact, if we take a world wide view, same idea as the map above. In relation to average, the coldest air is now moving through the central U.S.

Always impressive to see something like this.

This is what the polar plunge transition looked like from last night to this morning.

As far as what’s happening now, take a look via the Oklahoma Mesonet.

Wind chills are something else.

Locally, at least on the Kansas side:

9 a.m. temperatures
9 a.m. wind chills. Look at western Kansas, 41 below zero wind chills. That is incredible even by western Kansas standards.

All very impressive for sure.

The snow is still falling this morning, but will wind down in the next few hours.

There was even a rare snow squall warning for southeast Kansas.

As I mentioned the snow winds down shortly. In all 1-2 inches probably fell from this, perhaps a few spots with more?

Just what was expected over the past couple of days. Now the issue is can we keep 1 inch through Sunday. I’m not sure. If we do, we’ll have a White Christmas.

How long will the snow stay on the ground?

Here’s the thing though. Despite the bitterly cold temperatures, snow can still disappear. How can that be you ask. It would be one thing for us to be near or above freezing and watch the snow melt. But we’re likely to be barely above zero tomorrow, and only around 10 or 15 on Saturday. Why will the snow gradually disappear? It won’t melt.

It will sublimate and the sunshine we’re expecting will play a role in this.

This is the action of a solid going from a solid to a vapor state. Melting is the process of going from a solid to a liquid state. Evaporation is from a liquid to a vapor state. It’s a somewhat complicated process, but with the sunshine tomorrow and Saturday, we will erode the snow that is out there and conceivably miss the definition of a White Christmas: having 1 inch of snow on the ground on Christmas.

Can we get snow on Christmas Day? Well maybe towards evening and overnight as a clipper comes down from the northwest. This may produce accumulating snows in the region, while not a lot, up to 1-2 inches is possible on some of the data overnight. It will be something to watch heading into Monday. So there is a small backdoor chance of something happening to get us to White Christmas status.

Joe