Joe’s Weather Blog: Another dose of moisture…then a lot of clouds (TUE-1/5)

Weather

This will be about the best day in awhile it appears. Temperatures should be well into the 40s and there might even be a few 50s out there on the Kansas side especially. Enjoy the warmth and the sunshine. After today, we may be setting up for a LOT of gray skies in the area. Something that sort of persists into the weekend.

There is another system that’s coming towards the area tomorrow. Promising more rain, perhaps a bit more significant on the Missouri side, but more moisture is ahead. It’s not going to be the most prolific moisture producer and while last week was helpful, we are likely just seeing a few systems in a drought pattern that I think remains.

You still can get moisture in a drought. January is typically our driest month though, with only about 1″ of moisture. We’re more than halfway there just from the New Year’s Day system, and tomorrow into Thursday morning should get us farther along.

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Forecast:

Today: Mostly sunny and pleasant with highs well into the 40s.

Tonight: Increasing clouds and not as cold with lows near 30

Tomorrow: Rain developing with highs into the upper 30s

Thursday: What rain is there will change to wet snowflakes and snow on Wednesday night. Then it ends pretty quick Thursday morning. Some slushy accumulations are possible. Highs in the mid 30s

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Discussion:

Though the winter months overall average pretty dry…cold air doesn’t hold moisture all that well. So it’s “easier” to at least get something to fall, whether it be rain or snow. The issue in the winter is 1) getting storms to work in the atmosphere and 2) having enough saturation in the atmosphere to get that moisture to reach the ground. There are a few other things as well.

Climatology shows this well. Look at the spread of precipitation that we see through the year. About an inch in January to more than five times that in the May through July timespan.

By the way, these numbers may start changing. Now that we’ve finished 2020, a NEW 30 year average will start to kick in towards the summer for all these months. This happens every 10 years. We average out the previous 30 years for a new baseline in the climate world. There will definitely be changes in the temperature climate data!

So IF you get a storm…and IF we have enough moisture for said storm to work with, like last week, you can do pretty well the precipitation. IF the atmosphere is cold enough…you get a nice snowstorm. If not, it’s rain.

The system for tomorrow into Thursday morning is a bit of both. Initially it will be too warm to support snow, but tomorrow night into Thursday morning we see a slow cooling of the atmosphere so that flakes can be supported.

The system that we’re tracking produced a somewhat rare tornado in northern California yesterday.

That’s pretty cool…definitely there and it lasted for a bit of time…very photogenetic too!

So that system will be coming into the Plains tomorrow. As it does so, some moisture will come up from the south. The issue is that the system is sort of broken up by then into various pieces, each trying to do “something”.

This map shows what’s happening at about 18,000 feet or so…roughly halfway up through the atmosphere. Note the various pieces for 9PM Wednesday

Moisture in the atmosphere will come up from the Gulf region…not a lot, but enough by January standards over the next 48 hours or so…wrap around then move away. You can see that in the PW or Precipitable Water, which shows the moisture through the atmosphere.

See how it comes up…spins around…then leaves the region as the storm spins away.

As this occurs, the atmosphere will gradually go from not close to supporting snowflakes to barely supporting snowflakes to supporting snowflakes. The rick is how much of the storm is left when the atmosphere is ready to allow flakes to reach the ground.

With us trying to get into some sort of northern part of a weak comma head of the system, some snow should fall. The hourly look at the new hi-res NAM model starting at 12 a.m. tomorrow and going through 6 p.m. Thursday shows this evolution.

6Z is 12AM…12Z is 6AM…18Z is Noon…0Z is 6PM

I’m not sure the atmosphere chills down quick enough on Wednesday afternoon to support a mix by then but there may be some snowflakes by Wednesday evening mixing in.

IF there is going to be a slushy accumulation, it would be early on Thursday. Temperatures here on the ground are not going to be overly cold, and may not even be below 33° while this happens. So perhaps the highest accumulation risk would be on exposed surfaces etc. The pavement may be OK overall, unless there are some moderate snow bands somewhere out there.

Model amounts are showing 1/4″ to 3/4″ of moisture from this…fighting themselves on if it’s in eastern Kansas or western Missouri for the highest totals. While I think 3/4″ is a push, perhaps some 1/2″ amounts may be realized in the higher totals which will be mostly rain I think.

Then the issue becomes “getting stuck in the muck”.

The storm will likely not be strong enough to generate a lot of sinking and drying air behind it. So that means that a trail of low level moisture will be hanging around in the colder damp air. That is a recipe for low clouds and lots of them. A recipe for one of those prolonged periods of gray days that are somewhat common around this part of the country. There may be breaks every so often in the afternoon but overall, it may be very gray heading into the weekend.

After today, sunglasses might not be needed for awhile.

Still sort of wrapping up 2020…here is some additional information.

I thought this was pretty neat!

It shows a day by day of the year with temperature anomalies. Notice at first glance the red colors which are pretty prevalent.

Our feature photo comes from Mr. Springer (@jspringerprt) on Twitter.

Joe

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