There is a lot happening over the next 36 hours or so. We’re seeing the transition this morning, and it came in with a bang. 40-45 mph winds have been roaring through the region for the last several hours as of this writing and those same winds will continue today and tonight.
Overnight into Friday morning snow will be moving down from Iowa. This snow, combined with 40 mph winds, will create messy conditions for almost the entire viewing area, especially from Kansas City northwards. While the snow won’t be a lot to measure (and with the winds it will be almost impossible to get a good handle on how much it really is), it will create nasty road conditions as the day moves along.
Today: Variable clouds and blustery. Temperatures won’t be terrible, actually remaining above average for mid-January, but with the winds blowing, it will feel chilly. Highs holding in the mid-40s or so.
Tonight: Snow risk increases before daybreak from the north to the south. Light snow develops that will be blowing all over the place. Lows in the upper 20s with winds 30 mph in gusts.
Friday: Snow likely with 40 mph winds as well. Up to 2″ is possible with some areas getting perhaps a bit more on the Missouri side. Winds will blow it all over the place creating nasty driving conditions in parts of the area at various times. Temperatures go nowhere…readings around 31°.
The weekend: Overall OK, with clouds and a decent breeze at times on Saturday and partly cloudy on Sunday. Temperatures in the 30s.
So a lot of what is going to be happening is connected to the wind to some extent. All because of a developing storm system in Iowa. Actually, it’s part of an upper-level storm that has dropped down from Canada. Last night, a wind storm of epic proportions developed in the Northern Rockies and moved through the western Plains. Gusts were over 100 mph in parts of Wyoming!
Up in Montana, gusts were 60-80 mph, higher in some of the mountains. Take a look at what happens when the NWS tries to launch their twice-per-day weather balloon. On the second try, they finally got it going, but that is the instrument pack clanking along the terrain as it tries to go up into the air.
The strong winds hit the KC area (in a weakened form) around 5 a.m. this morning We had gusts of close to 45 mph or so.
These strong winds will continue in various intensities, 30-40 mph through the day and into tonight.
Then we’ll focus our attention on a developing surface storm that will sort of do a loop-de-loop in Iowa as it creates moderate snow across Iowa that will wrap down through the Metro area early Friday and linger through a good part of the day before breaking up later in the day.
Notice the black lines above. Those are the isobars or lines of equal pressure. The tighter they are together, the higher the winds typically are and that’s why we’re expecting strong winds into Friday and Friday night.
The amount of moisture that should be created from this mess is in the 1/10 to 2/10s” range. With a pretty cold atmosphere above us, we should see decent snow ratios from that setup. So it’s not out of the question that some areas could see closer to 3″ in spots, especially on the Missouri side. In the end though, it will be impossible to measure well at least because of all the blowing snow connected to the strong winds.
Farther north towards Iowa, its a hotter mess as 4-8″ of wind-blown snow plus winds of 40-50 mph will create blizzard conditions up there.
Notice all the counties highlighted in orange. Those are areas with blizzard warnings in effect. This graphic is courtesy Pivotal Weather.
Those warnings bleed down into Northwest Missouri as well.
A Winter Weather advisory is in effect for areas north OF KC (as of this writing). I think it should be expanded farther south into the Kansas City area personally, and perhaps it will be as the day unfolds and more data comes in to check out.
Temperatures tomorrow will be hard pressed to get much above 30° or so with the winds cranking and the snow falling. Wind Chills will be closer to 10-15°, if not below that. So if you’re shoveling during the afternoon, it will be miserable.
The winds will slacken finally Saturday afternoon or so, but even on Friday night, with perhaps a few flurries out there, the winds will be going pretty good.
Then the issue is how quickly do we clear out over the weekend. More on that tomorrow.
The feature photo comes from People Of Cowtown…doing some work with the streetcar in Downtown KC.