Joe’s Weather World: An early Christmas warm gift (TUE-12/15)


Good Tuesday to you…clouds are going to be a lot more common today as the atmosphere is trying to slowly saturate ahead of a system that will be passing mostly south of the area. The slow saturation process will continue through the day as moisture gradually accumulates in the atmosphere.

The clouds which this morning are around 13,000 feet above us will gradually build down to about 6-8,000 feet later today and tonight and I can’t rule out some flurries or patches of light snow somewhere later today/tonight.

At this point though a persistent easterly wind will chew at the snow as it’s falling, so many of the flakes may just evaporate as the fall from the clouds into the drier air.

And so it goes with the “early” winter of 2020. Today I’ve starting thinking about an update to my winter forecast, perhaps on the 1st day of Winter which is coming on Monday 12/21. I’ll ponder that this week.



Today: Cloudy and cold with highs in the 30-35° range

Tonight: Cloudy with a few flurries or a patch or two of light snow. Dustings are possible in some areas. Lows in the lower 20s

Tomorrow: More sunshine but chilly with highs in the upper 30s

Thursday: Better with highs well into the 40s



So let’s start with these two maps…off the EURO and GFS…for total snowfall through the rest of the year (almost). There is remarkable similarities and if you like snow…well…not so much at this point.

Use the slider bar to go back and forth.

So there’s that.

The system for today that appears to be a cloud generator and not a whole heck of a lot more for the Metro is coming through the southern Plains. Snow has broken out to the west and a note of caution. When you open up your weather apps today an look at radar, odds are it will be lit up like a Christmas tree and you’re going to think a bunch of snow is coming this way…but will the leading edge of the snow evaporating in the air as it falls…you’ll need to look at the surface map evey hour to see what’s actually falling to the ground and making it.

This morning I’ve highlighted the snow that is actually making it to the ground.

8AM snow reports

Now compared to radar…

That activity towards central KS and the I-135 area from Salina to Wichita is evaporating. There may be a flurry here or there but it “looks” too aggressive on radar. Again have to look at the surface maps today to see what reality is compared to radar.

So let’s keep an eye on this. The persistent easterly flow of dry air is an issue today and the short range model guidance is showing how it will be affecting the falling precipitation.

The easterly flow from about 8,000 feet and below will be a dry flow…so as we go through the day there will be a gradual saturating of the air and the cloud bases will come down slowly…but by the time the atmosphere is better aligned for snow to make it to the ground the system is starting to move farther away from the area and the “forcing” to get the snowflakes to actually get made starts to fade.

For timing: 16Z is 10AM…20Z is 2PM and 4Z is 10PM

Now there could be some areas that see more saturation somewhere out there and perhaps a band or two can form this evening. With the atmosphere being so chilly that would yield some better snow ratios so it won’t take much moisture to get some sticking light snow to accumulate.

Worst case scenario I think is about 1/2″ or so this evening or later tonight in some areas…we’ll just watch radar and the actual surface reports later today to see what is reality.

This feeble attempt of accumulating snow will turn into a monster snowmaker for the eastern US. 1-2 feet of snow is possible in parts of PA but the northeast is about to get it pretty good. There are still some questions for the I-95 corridor towards the coastline and whether or not there will be sleet cutting into the totals in the NYC area as well as coastal CT.

The new NAM does show this potential of a coastal precip type issue.

Winter storm watches and warnings (in pink) are up for that part of the country. (via

also note the colors in KS and OK…another OK snowstorm! The purple color is a winter weather advisory.

From southwest KS

and OK which is turning into a winter wonderland.

My goodness OK…have yourself a December!

For the region though after this moves out tonight…and we have a seasonable day tomorrow, we’ll get a couple of milder days. The winds though on Friday will cut the warmth…so 50-55° is doable but it will “feel” colder than that!

Then we have more warm air coming Sunday into Tuesday of next week. Take a look at the 5,000 foot temperature anomalies…it’s a great way to see mild air flowing into the area. The 1st map is Monday then Tuesday.


Both would support highs into the 60s…and I may need to poke around at the record highs, especially on Tuesday and possibly Wednesday as well although rather strong cold front will be coming into the area before Christmas Eve…so depending on the timing…we may be turning colder Wednesday or enjoying the last few hours of milder weather.

The records for the 21st is 63° (1893)…the 22nd and 23rd are both 67° in 1933. Something interesting could happen…perhaps Monday?

So yeah it will be a colder Christmas Eve and probably Christmas Day. IF you want to dream of a White Christmas there may be a fleeting system with the colder transition but I’m not too excited about that at this point. As I mentioned last week…I had a 10% chance of a White Christmas…which I dropped to a 7% chance yesterday.

That’s it for today. Have a great Tuesday and we’ll be watching the weather maps to day so see what snow can actually make it into the area.

Take a look at this…I don’t think I’ve ever seen this before here at least. Taken yesterday by Bryan Orr in Emporia. He hit the jackpot with this…

There is so much happening here…including a halo around the sun…sun dogs on the side but much more!

All because of the different shaped ice crystals that the sun’s light is going through. VERY cool!


Kansas City Weather News



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