Joe’s Weather Blog: Warmth, a chill…and a plunge (TUE-2/2)

Weather

So apparently good ole’ Phil saw his shadow today…this means 6 more weeks of winter and he might be right this year.

A furry and somewhat cute rodent may be seeing the coming cold for the Plains and a favorable pattern to at least see some more snow in the region. He may have heard about this massive storm in the northeast part of the country yesterday with 12-30″ of snow for many areas including the big cities of the Northeast although Boston missed out on the worst.

He may have looked up at Canada and seen a developing arctic air mass that will be released into the U.S. over the weekend setting things up for cold and potentially snowy weather off and on for about a week or so…

That Phil…sure knows what’s happening (cough cough).

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Forecast:

Today: Cloudy this morning then some sunshine in the afternoon. Highs in the 40° range and perhaps colder if the sun waits too long to come out like yesterday.

Tonight: We should be clearing but I’m not convinced IF we don’t clear out today. We could sock back in again. Lows in the 20s to near 30°.

Tomorrow: Clearing out and breezy with milder temperatures and highs in the mid to upper 50s.

Thursday: Rain chances return…not a lot but colder air will slide in with gusty northwest winds in the afternoon especially and falling temperatures from the 45° range in the early morning to the 30° range with wind in the later afternoon. There may be some flakes mixed in, especially in northern Missouri.

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Discussion:

Well it isn’t boring.

Yesterday I showed you the stats for December and January. Running some 5°+ above average. That won’t be the case this month though.

It’s going to get cold…and that cold air is going to linger. There is a lot happening over the next couple of days and into the weekend. The low clouds are going to once again be an issue today…there isn’t much wind out there today…and that is going to mean we’re going to have rely on the early February sun to work it’s not-so-great magic to help with clearing the skies.

This should happen slowly this afternoon. With the delay in the clearing though…every hour costs us a few degrees of warmth…it may be a struggle to get to 40°…yesterday areas off to the west made it into the 40s with sunshine by lunch…we’ll see how that tries to play again today.

Tomorrow should be better assuming we get enough wind and sunshine. So 55° by the end of the day looks reasonable. As this happens, an area of low pressure will be coming towards the region on Thursday and passing almost right on top of us. Where that goes may help to determine if we get any snow from this next transition. This won’t be the arctic air that we’ve talked about for a few days…that’s coming on Saturday.

This transition on Thursday will be replacing milder air with more seasonable air. The cold front won’t come through until the mid morning…so as you get going in the morning on Thursday it will be OK, 40s likely. Then it will drop before lunch and keep dropping during the afternoon. There should be some lighter rain showers in the area, under 1/10″, but as colder air comes in and as the rain wraps up there may be a couple of hours where we can get a bit of a mix or snowflakes as things wind down.

Notice how we transition from one air mass to another. This is the forecast temperatures at 9 a.m.

and now at 3 p.m…add in the wind, and the wind chills will be in the teens.

So that will be a rude change…

We then go right into downslope warming for Friday…sending highs back into the 40-45° range with some upside ahead of the next more powerful and game changer arctic front that comes in on Saturday.

The transition to that air mass will happen sometime towards lunch on Saturday and that will be a big ticket cold air mass coming down the Missouri River Valley into the Kansas City region.

Temperatures will drop into the teens later in day with strong winds sending wind chills to near or below 0°. It will get colder from there.

You can clearly see the dump of this air into the central U.S. to start the weekend off…these are temperature anomalies at around 5,000 feet. They are in °C so you can about double that for °F and that would be close to 40-50°F below average at that level. On the ground where we are it’s not as nasty but it’s a good way to track these types of air masses.

So the cold arctic air comes into the area…some are wondering, as I am…can we get snow?

The answer is YES, but in a sense to get anything but casual flakes to something a bit more accumulating will take a bit of effort. We need the flow in the mid part of the atmosphere to cooperate and allow some disturbances to streak eastwards but yet remain far enough north and close to Kansas City to allow snow areas to come together.

There is a candidate to consider…

A wave will be zipping through the flow as the colder air really arrives in the afternoon on Saturday. The data overnight has this wave in southeast Kansas and southwest Missouri…closer to KC than the data yesterday. We need the moisture from that wave to combine with the cold air coming in in the right way. Too much of a blast of cold and that snow production will be more towards the south of here…too weak of a wave also cuts down on any production of snow. In our favor is IF the wave is just close enough, and with the cold air in the atmosphere, this would be a decent+ snow-ratio type event and I could see a path to up to 2″ or so accumulation. Again though, we’re sort of relying on a lot of things happening just right for this to come together for a snow lover. It wouldn’t be a “storm” per say, but would create a layer of snow.

That would be important for what happens on Sunday…and IF there is a layer of snow with the arctic air in place and who knows what with clouds…then we can get a day with highs struggling in the single digits for the Super Bowl. Remember that map from before? Now here is the map for Sunday.

It would be somewhat surprising to me for this to be a one and down arctic attack. There should be at least two more of these air masses next week coming into the area with various intensities. So next week overall looks pretty darn cold.

What is always fascinating about this is how these air masses release their grip on the area and the first one on Saturday moves away at a good clip Sunday night…meaning a switch to a southwest wind component so while we are nasty cold on Sunday (and we may drop during the game) it could be a deal where temperatures try and recover later Sunday night, although the snow pack (if there is any) could play a role in that aspect of things.

So there are a few balls we’re juggling here. Heck, forecasting today’s temperatures is tough, let alone how things go with arctic air arriving and leaving and the effects of any snow on the ground.

Finally the northeast snowstorm…it was EPIC: 40-60 mph winds, raging heavy snows, everything a snow lover could want.

The highest totals approached 3 feet of snow in northwest New Jersey. Rye and White Plains…close to where I grew up had almost 2 feet.

Just EPIC.

There are still more areas there getting snow today, and not just a dusting worth, maybe a couple of inches for some just by looking at radar, especially in southwest Connecticut.

Our feature photo comes from Eric McKown.

Joe

Kansas City Weather News

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