Joe’s Weather Blog: Big winter storm threatens…somebody is getting a lot of snow (SAT-1/23)

Weather

A nice start to the weekend here in KC with sunshine this morning. Clouds will be increasing though as the day moves along…and while seasonable…with the breeze out there…it will sort of add a bit of bite to the air.

The big story is 2 storms that may give KC all sorts of different winter weather types. The system for Monday has a LOT of moisture to work with and will be a copious precipitation maker with 1/2″-1″ amounts likely. Exactly how much of what falls with all that moisture is the tough part of this…and appears it will vary widely in the region.

Right now…and we’re talking about 50-75 miles one way or the other here…it appears the biggest snows will be about 75 miles NW of Downtown. 75 miles isn’t a lot though and shifts will need to be watched. Areas southeast of KC…from Paola to Warrensburg and eastwards will see the lessor of the snow with more rain likely…or some sort of mix getting involved.

This all starts to come together, from a winter weather standpoint…as the morning moves along on Monday. The timing of the changes play a big role in how much snow parts of the area sees. There may be some mix into NW MO and N MO for awhile as well…but the changeover seems to be more likely and faster there. The mix in KC could last for awhile…and the mix/rain will be the predominate type of situation towards the south and southeast of KC.

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Forecast:

Today: Increasing clouds during the day, especially this afternoon. Seasonable with highs in the lower 40s.

Tonight: Cloudy with some light rain/drizzle or mist developing into Sunday morning. There may be a couple of ice pellets mixed in for a bit as well before daybreak. Temperatures hold steady in the mid 30s

Sunday: Light rain and mist will be off and on through the day. Not a lot is expected in the afternoon though. Amounts of whatever is falling will be light…under 1/10″ or so…temperatures in the 40° range.

Monday: Everything changes to a mix then snow. Accumulations are likely from the Metro northwards. Heavy snow is likely towards the NW of Downtown…especially into NW MO and NE KS. 6-10″ is possible in these areas. Temperatures coming down into the upper 20s by later in the day.

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Discussion:

There are 2 storms…one for Monday and another for Wednesday. The 2nd system looks to be all snow, although the amounts are still very questionable. It may not be a “big” storm…but enough to create more headaches and road issues. That’s storm #2.

Storm #1 is a complicated mess. This isn’t unusual for here…actually it’s more typical of winter storms in the region. Areas north and west of KC typically get about 6″+ more of snow that areas ono the south side of the Metro. This is one of the storms that helps to create the disparity of snow from north to south around the area.

The issue for storm #1, the one set for Monday is that odds are it will be a copious moisture creator. There will be a lot of moisture in the atmosphere on Monday. How that moisture gets squeezed out is the trick to the forecast.

So as we kick this off…let’s see where our storm is this morning. Let’s go out towards California.

As we go up into the atmosphere…roughly to about 18,000 feet or so…we can follow the “dip” into the southwestern US and then into the Plains on Monday. Those red areas represent areas of “lift” to some extent…and those areas help to create the precipitation. Below the 18,000 foot level is then where we watch the temperatures of the atmosphere to try and figure out if we’re looking at rain…snow…or a mix.

See how that thing comes through the SW US and into the Plains. It also “flattens out” as it comes through our region which is a sign of weakening. The other question then is how well does the precip hold together and for how long on Monday afternoon when the Metro is primed for accumulating snow.

So there are lots of what ifs and buts with this. So far at least the odds favor NW MO and NE KS to be in prime position for 6-10″ of snow out of this…with perhaps some mix issues early on Monday. For the KC area…I can see anywhere from 1-4″ from the south side to the north side towards KCI.

For KC this is based on a timing change between 10AM and 1PM as the storms worst is actually starting to diminish somewhat. IF we see a changeover faster on Monday…that will certainly mean an additional 1-2″+ for the earlier transition.

Would I be shocked if we’re looking at 3-6″ for northern Platte County (more farther north) and 1-3″ for the south side of the Metro…JOCO and SE JACO…nope. That is a range that isn’t out of the realm of options at this point. Areas from Leavenworth to Weston to Plattsburg and points north may do better than Olathe To Lees Summit to Odessa from this system. Again though that is NOT a lot of distance between places and this is how forecasts blow up on us.

Let me show you the conundrum. At 5,000 feet or so…temperatures at 9AM will be above 32° for a good part of the area from the Metro south. Flakes can’t survive that.

Temperatures at this level are 33-36°. Above freezing at 9AM

By NOON this layer will be supportive of flakes.

Below that layer though…it will be near to below 32°…so it’s likely that there is at least some sleet for awhile, or perhaps even some freezing rain.

So let’s go on the assumption for KC Metro that the change happens AFTER 9AM but BEFORE 12PM. Not let’s investigate how much moisture gets out of the storm from 9AM to 9PM Monday. This would be a combo of sleet>snow.

That’s 1/2″>3/4″ worth. A lot. How much is sleet and how much is snow? This is the TOUGH part of this. IF we shift over faster to snow…you can see how we can see a LOT more snow in the Metro!

Now let’s say the accumulating snow waits till Noon…which is certainly possible for KC Metro. Now let’s look at the amount of forecasted moisture between Noon and 12AM TUE. Assuming this would be all snow.

All of a sudden we’re down to 1/10-1/4″ from south to north…or 1-3″ worth of snow (give or take).

You see the complications to this right?

The timing is the critical thing. The GFS this morning is a bit warmer and would hold off on the snow till later in the day (after 3PM) and it would be a gradual west to east transition. IF we take the GFS at face value and say the transition holds off till around 6PM (I think that is too late though)

That’s still about 1-3″ in the Metro although perhaps a push depending on the sleet mixing in.

IF you want a snowstorm…say hello to the ICON model from Germany…oh my. This would be all snow…or at least majority snow.

So with all this out there…where am I right now?

Sunday: Whatever we get is mostly rain…and light.

Monday: Rain initially…probably through the AM Rush. We see a switch towards lunch or so. Likely between 10AM and 2PM for switching. Then snow. 1-4″ possible as an average in the Metro. Upside for areas 25 miles N and NW of Downtown.

Monday night: Patches of light snow possible. Dusting to 1″ for KC…likely on the lower side.

Tuesday: Clouds for a good part of the day.

This is going to be a VERY close call. Very close…and a 50 mile wobble south puts KC into a pretty significant snowstorm!

I may add a bit to this before lunch.

Our feature photo comes from Glenna Oidtman in Grandview!

Joe

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