Joe’s Weather Blog: Another nickel and dime snow for KC (TUE-1/26)


I think what I want to happen, from one weather geek to another is a system like what happened yesterday in Nebraska and IA…and to some extent even far northern MO. One big snowstorm. Get it out of my system and call it a winter.

Instead we’re getting these minor systems, which actually are more typical for KC…and they sort of drive us a bit nuts. Not enough to close things down…but not enough to totally blow off either.

The differences between the system yesterday and the one for tomorrow are vast. One biggie though…the atmosphere is a lot colder for what’s inbound this evening.



Tonight: Snow moves in later tonight and continues through 7-8AM. The bulk of the snow should be winding down by 6AM. 1-3″ area-wide seems a good shot right now. The snow will be light and fluffy…so easier to shovel and push around. Temperatures drop into the lower 20s

Tomorrow: Perhaps a few morning flurries then cloudy and cold. Highs in the mid-upper 20s

Thursday: Clouds break up later in the morning. Temperatures in the mid 30s. Downside if the clouds hang tough.

Friday: Partly sunny and milder with highs well into the 40s



IF it wasn’t for this snow system coming I’d probably be talking a lot about either the tornado in AL last night or the deluge of rain and snow coming towards CA over the next few days. Measuring snow by the yardstick(s) is coming for the higher elevations…and bad flooding is going to be an issue out there.

Nope…we have a fast moving system coming through the Plains…and it’s producing snow out west this evening. The 7PM surface map shows a decent area of snow…eroding somewhat on the eastern side coming through KS.

This snow should expand a bit as I’m noticing on radar a “wing” of snow developing towards south-central KS.

That wing will come up I-35 as an appetizer and move through before 12AM. The main show comes after that though.

All the counties in purple are under a winter weather advisory

This goes through Wednesday 8AM or so. Although the snow may continue into central KS a bit after that.

The system is sort of weak and not very disorganized BUT what it does have working for it is that it’s coming into an atmosphere that is pretty cold. That means that cold air won’t be able to hold the moisture in the atmosphere well and has more of a tendency to squeeze out the snow more efficiently. This creates something that we call a higher “ratio” snow.

Typically we use a 10 or 11:1 ratio for snow. 1″ of moisture is about 10-11″ of snow. When the air is colder that ratio goes up…15:1…20:1…some areas in the US get 30 or 40:1 ratios. That’s when the snow really piles up!

For this system we’re looking at roughly a 13-15:1 ratio. That then leads to how much actual moisture will get squeezed out…and my thoughts are roughly 1/10-2/10″ or so. normally that would be 1-2″ of snow…but because of these higher ratios…we get 1.5-3″ potential…hence the 1-3″ forecast.

You can see though that some areas won’t get as much moisture. The latest HRRR run has this look for total precip.

From a few hundredths to almost 2/10″…so that would be roughly 1/2″ to 3″ or so…more or less in the window of the forecast. You can see that there might be a pinch more towards I-70 north and east into MO…we’ll see how that pans out though.

So a 1-3″ forecast is an average. Would I be shocked that some have less that that…nope…might be tougher though to get to 4″ totals from this locally although perhaps towards the NE of the Metro.

This system will create the usual headaches on the roads for the AM rush with improvement in the afternoon.

Then we wait on a more impressive and wetter system for Saturday. It will be a warmer system with rain for almost all of us although we may need to watch for backside snow Saturday night or Sunday as colder air wraps into the region briefly. Especially in northern MO (again).

The only thing that bears watching is IF and this is doubtful…this comes in farther south but there should be a lot of warm air ahead of this feature for rain.

That’s it for tonight…the blog tomorrow will not be posted till about lunch after the snow winds down.

The feature photo comes from Allan Hickman up towards Spickard, MO. They had about 4″ of snow


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