KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s a loaded title right? There are some things that I have a lot of confidence in and one thing that I don’t.
That’s the idea about the title of the blog today. This blog will basically be a follow up to what I wrote about yesterday, so I don’t necessarily want to rehash all the writings from yesterday again. See that blog for some additional details.
This blog will talk about the one thing that I’m still a bit fuzzy about, and that is the snow aspect of this. It will snow, that I’m confident about. I’m still a bit fuzzy on the details as I alluded to yesterday. I think the modelling is being too generous with what they’re depicting, and that is typical really.
From a snow standpoint, this is more of a big deal farther east of the region. Things sort of are starting to get their act together around this area and that leaves the region in a weird spot when it comes to snow.
Kansas City Forecast:
Today: Cloudy with a few flurries. Temperatures steady in the low to mid-20s.
Tonight: Cloudy with steady temperatures in the 20-degrees range.
Tomorrow: Cloudy with a slight moderation with highs in the mid-30s.
Thursday: Snow in the morning, falling temperatures to near or sub-zero later in the day. Wind chills tanking to 20 to 30 degrees below zero as the day moves along. Winds gusting to 40-plus mph. A miserable day.
We start with today as some Canadian air is bleeding southwards. We had a midnight high of 35 degrees, which I expected, and now with this colder air mass coming in (no not THE air mass of discussion) it’s a struggle to warm up.
The 10 a.m. surface map (temperatures in red) show us in the lower 20s with teens and single digits to the northwest/north of the metro.
The clouds are extensive as well, and we’re stuck in them as the cold air squeezes what moisture is available in the lower part of the atmosphere below 3,000 feet or so.
There are a few flurries with this as well.
Like I said this isn’t the air mass that has been talked about for the last two weeks or so.
There are some minus 40 to minus 45-degree temperatures up there.
That moves in early Thursday morning.
We’ll likely warm up into the 30s during the day tomorrow, be there close to midnight, then tank before 4 a.m. from northwest to southwest through the metro. By daybreak on Thursday, we should be closer to 5 degrees and slowly fall from there.
The winds will alert you the the change of air masses. They may gust 25-40 mph as the colder air sweeps into the region.
This will all help to send wind chills down to dangerous levels by the end of the day.
The cold is a LOCK. The winds are a LOCK. The dangerous wind chills are a LOCK.
Now about the snow.
That is an issue and one that I continue, as I talked about on the air last night, having a tough time wrapping myself around this being a big snowstorm. I don’t think it will be.
Model data today is doing what I thought it would, cutting the amount of “liquid” that will be produced from this.
The GFS which has been really not good regarding it’s “wet” bias and what it’s been portraying lately is, I think, catching on to the situation. It’s latest “liquid” forecast is now mostly under 2/10 inch or so.
The NAM that just came out is a bit less than this.
I wrote an extensive tweet thread about this last night as I was pointing out that I was expecting the lower end of my forecasts to be more realistic. I still feel that way.
So what happens is that we have a few issues getting moisture where we need it, above 6,000 feet or so. It’s not overly saturated up there and we need that to come together better for us to get the clouds to produce good snowflakes to fall. We may have that happen for awhile, but it may not last for too long above us. Hence, we’re sort of stuck with the Arctic air squeezing out the moisture below 10,000 feet or so, and that isn’t great for getting a lot of snow.
My thoughts are that we should get at least 1 inch, and perhaps 2 inches from this. After that, locally it could be more of a stretch.
Yesterday, I was thinking 2-5 inches. Today, I’m more in the 1-4-inch range from this scenario. There may be a bit more towards northern Missouri, but I’m not totally confident on that right now.
The one thing that will remain in our favor are the higher snow ratios as described yesterday.
It will be blowing around and you won’t be able to measure it anyways really. Like I said in the tweet thread, you’ll see bare grass and then there might be an 18-inch drift from this.
Will this be a blizzard? Remember that a blizzard has nothing to do with total accumulations. You can technically have a blizzard with 2 inches of snow. You just have to meet various criteria:
- 1/4 mile or less visibility
- blowing/drifting snows
- frequent wind/gusts to 35 mph
- and it needs to happen for 3 hours.
That might be too much for this thing to accomplish.
My feeling overall is that this won’t be a big snow for KC. As a matter of fact, I’m somewhat worried that we may struggle to have 1 inch of snow on the ground for Christmas Day to verify a White Christmas, but we’ll deal with that prospect on Friday.
The bitter cold will linger into Sunday morning before easing to some degree after that. Hey we may creep into the 50s before New Years Day.
So we’re clear: If you only get 1-2 inches, don’t be surprised. Am I backtracking? Not really. Again last night I pushed the low side numbers as we were talking about what I was confident in regarding the various weather factors in play for all this. It will still be a memorable event from a cold and wind chill standpoint.
For the record, here are the coldest highs for Friday, Saturday, and Christmas.
Friday the 23rd:
Saturday, Christmas Eve:
Sunday, Christmas Day:
Let’s see where we end up with all of this. Friday in particular won’t be the coldest high, but it may well be in the top three and Saturday may well be in the top five.
So historic? No. Memorable? Likely yes.