Sneak Saturday Snow?

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Would you believe that El Paso, Texas has received 3 times more snow this winter than Chicago, IL? Crazy! There has been snow in west Texas for the last 24 hours and they’ve seen 2.9″ of snow out of this system. Meanwhile Chicago has had 1″ of snow this season. For that matter, here in KC we’ve had over 4x’s more snow so far than Chicago (4.6″).

Our storm in West Texas is starting to unravel a bit and get stretched out as it moves into somewhat drier air in the southern Plains states. Most of the snow down there quickly fell apart earlier this AM after looking rather healthy around midnight. The snow though was problematic enough that TxDOT had to close I-10 and I-20 in West Texas and as of this writing they are still closed down there.

So it will be this storm that I’ll be watching for you today. As the storm lifts towards KC tonight it will “open up” or weaken as it moves through. With quite a bit of dry air, below about 10K feet. Here is a look at the sounding from the NWS site in Topeka. This is from a weather balloon sent up twice per day @ 6AM and 6PM. The 6AM sounding looks like this. Notice the LARGE spread between the RED line (the temperature) and the GREEN line (the dewpoint). When the spread is that far apart, that means the air is VERY dry and since the spread is far apart through most of the atmospheric column, that tells me that the air is dry virtually throughout the atmosphere.

Notice as well the bottom part of the sounding, where the RED/GREEN lines come together, that means that the air is saturated, but since that saturated column is only a couple of thousand feet thick, it really won’t do this storm any good.

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So what we have here is a weakening storm, where the regional radar now indicates the the precipitation falling apart down across TX moving northeastwards into a VERY dry airmass. That is usually not a good recipe for an accumulating snow.

With that said and with the latest NAM even less bullish on the accumulating snow potential combined with the hi-res NAM also not exactly bullish for an accumulating snow, let’s just keep the potential of snow showers with perhaps a dusting in the forecast for some areas, especially south of KC. There will be an issue with whether or not whatever falls is all snow or some sort of mixture. That as well as the fact that temperatures will be in the 30s leads me to strongly believe that the roads will be fine tomorrow and IF there is any accumulation it would be mainly on grassy areas.

So one storm down with another in the E Pacific on the way. I put on the Longranger a “low confidence forecast” warning from Tuesday on. The model data is still all over the place but at this point I think the NAM and the GFS will end up more correct, meaning a faster moving system with at least some rain potential increasing on Tuesday. On Monday ahead of the storm, strong south winds should bring in some milder air. With a progressive moving storm, odds heavily favor a mostly rain event out of this should the storm pull through, at least at the onset of the storm. To be honest though, I still have little confidence in the real outcome of this storm and just how it will affect the weather in terms of timing and amounts of rainfall/snowfall (if any).

We’ll keep an eye on things for the rest of the day and hopefully some clarity will become a little more apparent this afternoon. Just looking at things though, I’m not overly excited about our big snow chances at this point. A lot though can change since we’re int hat time of the year at it seems that our 2 other snows have also sort of gotten their act together in the last 2 days before the event itself.

Joe

Kansas City Weather News

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