A Brief Winter Interlude

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For the first time it seems this winter, the weather is actually acting like winter for a change. Yesterday and today are classic winter situations. Yesterday as moisture was moving in the from the south, and running into the cold air which doesn’t hold moisture as efficiently, some sleet in the metro and some freezing mist/drizzle broke out towards the SE of KC, a typical winter scenario. Today, one look at the satellite picture on the right, and yup that’s a gray overcast which is gradually thinning this afternoon. What happened last night and today is that moisture got trapped just above the surface (close to 2000 feet up) and the moisture seems to be about 1000 feet or so thick. It has taken the form of cloudcover and with winds at that level so light, even now data shows winds are 5-15 MPH through about 7000 feet or so, a strong inversion above that cloud deck, in other words the temperatures are warming up through about 5500 feet up (into the lower 40s off the sounding from Topeka this AM, and a weak January sun angle a lot has conspired against us today from seeing much sunshine. This is actually supposed to happen during the winter, it makes forecasting tricky during this time of the year, and for the last couple of days it has been tricky to figure out the highs for the day.

Over the next week or so, it looks like we’re sort of going back to the warmer, maybe I should say milder, weather regime. It’s just doesn’t seem in the cards for us to get some much needed moisture however. Sadly this next fast moving storm, that will create some interesting weather well off towards the ESE of the KC area will do very little it appears for our area aside from give us some interesting temperatures to track through tomorrow evening. The storm was talked about yesterday and it will be moving through the plains states tomorrow. For us the gulf moisture will be very shallow, closer to the ground, for areas towards the TN and OH Valley however the moisture will be thicker through the atmosphere and with the air aloft spreading outwards the air below will be moving in to replace it. That created rising motion and conditions, that given enough instability and heat may lead to an early season severe weather outbreak. Here is the forecasted map @ lunch tomorrow.

Where the PINK area really spread apart, towards KY, TN and the deep south, the air will be diffluent and spreading apart in mid and upper part of the atmosphere. The folks at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK are seeing that as well. Here is their main area of concern for tomorrow.

There is the potential for an upgrade to “Moderate” is part of that area and an early season tornado outbreak is not out of the question, again depending on the instability that can be achieved.

For us, any clearing we get this evening may be brief as strong winds a few thousand feet above the ground start to crank up later tonight. The winds at this level will be between 50-60 MPH by daybreak tomorrow morning. The question is does this turn into cloud cover again or with enough dry air just above those strong winds, does the dry air mix down and allow us to become clear. Regardless of the cloudcover situation the temperatures which may initially drop a bit, will steady out and rise towards daybreak so that we may start tomorrow AM in the 35° range.

Tomorrow with the storm moving towards us, becomes tricky from a temperature standpoint. IF we manage to see clear skies in the AM, which the models DON’T think is going to happen, the potential is for temperatures tomorrow to soar towards and into the 50s. The modelling this past MON did a miserable job with portraying the cloud cover in the lower part of the atmosphere. Remember that was the day I thought highs would be near 50° and we soared into the 60s. The potential tomorrow is for highs 52-57° with enough sunshine. I think though that the clouds will develop or redevelop quickly in the AM, limiting highs into the upper 40s. The Pacific cold front should move through tomorrow afternoon between 2-4PM, that should sweep the moisture away and our chances of much precip seem minimal at best and while there may be some scattered showers in the PM, amounts look to be very spotty. As a matter of fact the hi-res modelling gives us nothing at all.

One thing to think about for tomorrow AM is should we get a touch of that gulf moisture surging towards the north, again much like yesterday afternoon, there may be a few areas of frz mist/light rain developing near daybreak. We’ll need to watch for the potential of a few isolated areas of black ice tomorrow, especially for areas towards N MO.

After that there really is not much happening from a weather standpoint for the rest of the week (month?). Highs for the week should be in the 45-50° range, maybe a milder day in there somewhere later in the week.

Elsewhere today the NE is finally seeing some snow. NYC and Philly as well as many areas back east are seeing their first accumulating snow since the pre-Halloween snowstorm. This is the same system that gave Chicago 4-8″ of snow. It seems N NJ and parts of CT are getting a nice 6-10″ snow out of this thing. Oh and during the week, TX, especially central and eastern TX may get a bunch of rainfall…in the area of 2-6″ possible with a slow moving storm system that looks to pass well south of our region. Here is the GFS model through WED AM for precip totals…

That’s a lot of rainfall in an area of the country that still needs another 20+” to break the drought!

That’s it for the day. I’ll have updates @ 5/9/10 tonight.

Joe

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