Joe’s Weather Blog: Arctic plunge #1 coming in…one more to go (colder) (MON-1/28)

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The winds are cranking and gusting this morning…already over 60 MPH (!) on the north side up towards KCI. These strong winds will continue for most of the day today as the temperatures continue to drop off..faster this morning then a slower fade this afternoon. This is associated with the 1st of 2 arctic air masses that will rotate quickly through the region. The 2nd one is the stronger/colder of the two…and when it quickly moves out…temperatures will recover fast and a milder weekend is coming!

  • Forecast:

Today: Windy and colder with falling temperatures to the teens and sub-zero wind chills developing. Gusts to 50+ MPH will be common (higher too in spots). We actually will have quite a bit of sunshine too at times and that actually will help maintain the strong winds today too.

Tonight: Variable clouds and breezy. Temperatures will initially drop to around 10° then level off and perhaps rise towards daybreak as the winds turn towards the west. It will remain windy (gusts to 30 MPH) through the wee hours of Tuesday morning too.

Tuesday: Setting up for the next blast of colder air. We should “moderate” into the 20s ahead of the next front that moves in just before lunch…and we do the whole thing all over again with falling afternoon temperatures. From around 25° to the teens. Winds increase too again with sub-zero wind chills possible towards evening.

Wednesday: Just nasty cold with highs around 8° after the coldest morning since New Years of 2017. Lows near -6°. Morning wind chills around -20° (or lower at times in the Metro) to -30° (or lower in northern MO)

  • Discussion:

Pretty impressive wind driven front this morning pushing through the region…gusts over 60 MPH (64 as of this writing) up at KCI…and elsewhere always catches my attention. The forecast of rain late night was well timed and the arrival of the colder air was as well. We were actually in the mid 40s for a couple of hours ahead of the front and years from now, when looking back at the data for today…we’ll see a high of 44° in the books…that won’t exactly be the whole story though.

Since sunset last night you can see the temperature trends through sunrise this morning.

Our high today of 44° occurred right at 12AM and that was the high yesterday too…just before 12AM. So we got two birds with one stone there.

The winds are catching everyone’s attention and with good reason. There could be a sporadic power outage as well with any weakened tree limbs from the snowstorm a few weeks ago too I guess.

As of this writing there are about 75 different outages on the KCPL website with about 5800 customers without power this morning.

The latest 8AM map shows the colder air now flowing into the region. Last night I showed you the cold air up towards Fargo…well it has raced southwards overnight and has arrived.

In the above map the temperatures are in RED.

The advisory/warning map from the NWS in Pleasant Hill is lit up in a bunch of colors today.

This first shot of cold air is really not that unusual for the winter though. To a large extent we’re actually on the western fringe of the air mass. Note the map below via Pivotal Weather…as you go up a few thousand feet into the atmosphere…you can sort of see the outline of the coldest air (in purple) more towards IA and northeastern MO. we’re sort of on the western side of this towards the State Line region.

Note as well that area of “whitish” coloring up towards southern Canada. That is the motherlode of the cold air that will be zipping though the region tomorrow and lingering into Wednesday night.

Let’s show you the latest NAM model for the same information except for tomorrow evening…

Notice again the full brunt of the cold plunge #2 is more directed to the upper Midwest. We’re more “in it” but that’s more because of the coldness of the air than taking a direct hit of the coldest of the air. That coldest air (a few thousand feet up) is about -35°C. That equates to -31° F…and the surface will be much colder.

With sub-zero lows expected Wednesday morning…and any sort of breeze out there…it will take nothing really to tank those wind chills to well below -10°. There is a Wind Chill Watch in effect for later Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. Parts of the area will go into the “warning” criteria for sure. The risk of frostbite is about 15-30 minutes of exposure so take that seriously.

Also of note for Wednesday and something to watch a bit today and tomorrow in the data is the potential for some light streaky snow to move through the region. There appears to be some favorable jet dynamics setting up above us during the day and today’s new NAM model actually is producing a SE to NW oriented band of some light wind-drive snow near the region. Just a little more insult to injury regarding Wednesday. It would be flying around too since it will be pure powder type snow.

So this 2nd cold plunge which is moving through central Canada now is the main driver to the weather this week…interestingly this will rotate out rather quickly…later Wednesday evening and e’ll start the process of moderating fast on Thursday (still cold, especially with the winds blowing).

The surface map (in °C) shows the next arctic air mass up towards central Canada…look for the -30 to -40°C temperatures…that’s about -30° to -40°F too. See the big HIGH (H) up towards the Northwest Territories and the Yukon…that is the core of the arctic cold that is dropping southeastwards. The red numbers below are the temperatures.

Here is a °C to °F chart…

So this 2nd air mass is the colder of the two…and it rotates out Wednesday night into Thursday.

Notice by midday Thursday that the air a few thousand feet above us is moderating fast with stronger south winds helping to moderate the coldest air around us with the shifting arctic air moving eastwards.

That’s a warm-up that will carry us into the weekend with 50s very possible over the weekend. So between the 20 below wind chills Wednesday morning and the potential for 55° highs over the weekend…that’s a tidy 75° swing from the lowest feeling temperature to the mildest feeling temperature in the course of a few days.

Got to love our weather in KC!

Our feature photo comes from Kathy Hinkle and shows a nice halo around the sun. This is created by the suns light going through ice crystals above us. Those crystals act as a prism and create halos…either by the sun’s light or the moon’s light.


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