Joe’s Weather World: 2 systems to watch…

Weather

Good morning…not too bad out there today with a colder air mass lurking just towards the north of the KC area. That colder air will come into the area tonight and linger through tomorrow and Friday morning before abandoning us.

The fact that it abandons us ahead of the next somewhat wet storm on Sunday means that the Sunday system will be a rain maker locally. What’s sort of interesting is that the Sunday system does try to drag down some colder air again for next week. So while we’ll moderate the overall pattern for the next 5-10 days is a cooler than average one it appears.

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Forecast:

Today: Turning mostly cloudy and cool with highs around 40°. More clouds come in later this morning and afternoon

Tonight: Cloudy with some flurries or light snow possible, especially south and southwest of the Metro. A dusting is possible in a few areas. Lows dropping into the teens to the 20° range.

Tomorrow: Turning sunny and cold with highs near 32°

Friday: Sunny with a cold start in the teens then breezy and moderating with highs in the 40° area.

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Discussion:

There is actually lot of somewhat interesting weather happening…even this morning there are changes afoot.

The 8AM surface map shows the leading edge of some pretty cold (not crazy for late February) air just north of the region that will slowly come south today and especially tonight.

This is being pushed southwards by a strong area of high pressure across the upper Midwest.

The above map shows the lines of equal pressure or what we refer to as isobars. The numbers represent their value. This morning we’re seeing a 1042 mb high move down through the Upper Midwest. 1042 mbs equates to about 30.77″ on the barometer. That is a strong area of high pressure building southwards.

The strong area of high pressure and sinking cold dense air will move through the I-80 corridor and then move away on Friday. Ahead of it north winds…as it moves away a return to a more southerly air flow. So colder air comes…then the colder air moves away and moderating temperatures come up from the south. we could be close to 55° Saturday if we get enough sunshine.

It’s cold this morning in the upper Midwest but not as cold as it would typically be for this strength of high pressure. The 8AM map for up there shows temperatures (in red) well below -15° in NE North Dakota and northern MN. That air though is already moving more towards the east than southeast.

That area towards the eastern Dakotas and MN is also where the snow cover is more prevalent.

IF there was more snow on the ground farther south this might be an even colder air mass coming into the area but notice below how there is little snow on the ground south of SD and northeastern IA.

Also things are very progressive and moving along, as has been the case almost all winter I think…so nothing is locking into the region. Cold air comes and cold air goes. A major result of the crazy positive arctic oscillation (AO) that I wrote about last week. When it’s so positive there is a strong tendency for fast moving progressive patterns with a lack of blocking. No blocking means that the cold air comes and goes.

Not only is the air cold…but it’s dry too. The sounding data from the balloon launch this morning in Topeka is VERY dry from 15,000 feet downwards. The red line in the chart below is the temperature…the green line the dew point. What’s important from this is the spread between the lines…the more the spread the greater the lower the atmospheric moisture.

That’s dry air.

It’s important because there is the potential of snow overnight. The trick though is IF the lift can be strong enough to generate snow…or IF it it…will the snow make to through the dry air to the surface as anything more than flurries.

We’ll see. This may come together better towards the SW of KC. Model data this morning is showing the potential for a fluffy 1″ or so SW/W of the Metro overnight. The hi-res NAM model has this idea…

Again a dusting to maybe 1/2″ around KC with 1-2″ potential out west. As whatever is out there comes eastbound it will struggle with the dry air in place. This may be a radar storm which looks impressive and colorful on radar tonight but the reality of what’s actually making it to the surface may be less than meets the eye for the KC area.

Sometimes these things can have some upside…I’ll track it for you. It would be a powdery type snow that sort of blows around a bit as well.

Then we’re cold tomorrow…

Moderating Friday and Saturday.

Then Sunday comes with a storm moving into and to the south of KC. The track of the storm is actually a favorable one for snow locally. The issue is where is the cold air? We’re moderating into the 50° range on Saturday…then we start Sunday near 40° with a cold rain. The models are really getting aggressive with cooling the atmosphere through the day…changing the rain to snow or at least trying too change it to snow.

I’m not sure I’m buying these solutions…the way we get the snow is through dynamic cooling. Where the storm generates it’s own cold air. There is no cold air to come into the system. Most of the model data is doing this cooling but I think that the models are being way too aggressive in this. It’s a needle in a haystack risk at this point really.

It could happen but man in a winter where storms are so progressive and aren’t really maturing in the right spots for us…I’m really having a tough time believing that will be different on Sunday. IF there was cold air in NE or IA to be entrained into the storm I’d be a bit more bullish…

It’s worth watching just in case.

Data shows another decent for February blast of cold coming into the area sometime later Tuesday into the end of next week.

Those darkest blues represent the highest confidence in below average temperatures from the 24th through the 28th

So a colder end to the month is likely in the region. We’ll see if we can merge a storm into all that. I think that chance is a bit better than the scenario on Sunday at this point.

The feature photo comes from Debbie Edwards Mulheron

Joe

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