Blizzard For Some…Rain For Others

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So do you really want it to snow? Some do and some don’t I guess. If you stick around and read the blog till the very end, I guarantee you that I will make it snow (I have that power)…but this will be the type of snow that doesn’t cause one accident…nor do you have to shovel it, nor will you even shiver about it. Again the secret to my great power is at the end of the blog!

This is going to be a whale of a storm for many in the Plains states. Winter Storm watches and Blizzard Watches are in effect for many counties stretching from NE KS through central KS down towards SW KS and into the TX/OK Panhandle areas. My colleagues down in the TX Panhandle are talking about the potential for well over 1 foot of snow, and combined with the winds gusting to 30+ MPH, that’s a recipe for a near blizzard or blizzard conditions. Travel will be impossible in most if not all of the Blizzard Watch (soon to be Warning) areas and surrounding that it won’t be very easy either. Let’s first outline the scope of the watches and warnings from the website.

I’ll save you from doing the addition…we’re talking some 89 counties under Winter Storm Watches…in the darker blue color and some 42 counties under a Blizzard Watch in the brighter green. Most if not all of these counties will be upgraded to warning status sometime this afternoon.

Here is what the NWS in the TX Panhandle think for totals…

Moving up towards the Dodge City area here is what the NWS thinks there…

That continues towards the NE into Central KS as well…Wichita seems to be on the dividing edge of an inconvenient snow and a nasty snowstorm…the snow totals will gradually lessen moving into NE KS…

With that said it amazes me that in areas, especially TX, that were doing so poorly with moisture and in one of their worst droughts ever, are now targeted by this event…this also will be a wet heavy snow, so when it melts there will be a ton of water in it to help recharge the soils down there…things certainly are turning around for many int he southern plains states in regards to the extreme drought that was plaguing that region…not all but many are doing better.

So what about the KC metro area…confidence continues to increase that the metro will be spared real heavy snowfall or ice accumulations. Areas up towards the NW of KC, perhaps in a line from Maryville to near St Joseph to Holton, KS to Hiawatha, KS to Manhattan, KS are more in the target zone for the snow. Accums at this point look to be in the 2-4″ range for NW MO to 3-6″ range for NE KS to 4-8″ range farther southwestwards.

For the KC Metro area, everything just doesn’t look like it will come together in time for us to have major problems on the roads. Temperatures will approach 32° at the surface later MON night and early TUE AM, so the potential is there for freezing rain, aloft temperatures look to be too warm to support snowfall reaching the ground. There may be flakes at times on the NW side of the metro…KCI to Leavenworth perhaps, but everybody else will have a mixture of precip types. Usually the roads hold up pretty well with temperatures in the 30-33° range which is what I expect at this point. As I’ve been saying, we’ll be watching those surface temperatures carefully. The negative about this scenario is that the roads won’t get pre-treated with chemicals due to the amount of rain that will precede the storm so that is something to be aware off. I could see how we may get some freezing on exposed surfaces like cars etc so that some may need to do a bit of scraping on Tuesday AM. During the day on Tuesday temperatures should bein the 32-35° territory.

So for the KC metro area here are my latest probabilities…

Crippling Ice Storm: 5%

Crippling Snow Storm (Over 6″): 5%

Crippling Ice/Snow combo: 10%

Mostly rain with wintry precip (hazardous conditions): 25%

Mostly Rain with winter precip (fewer to no travel issues): 55%

For the metro the precip should be mostly in the form of rainfall with some freezing rain developing early on Tuesday AM…then we’ll see a switch back to drizzle or light freezing drizzle on Tuesday, and as the system pulls away on Tuesday evening/night, there will be the potential for some light snowfall. The latest snowfall track for the entire storm looks like this, off the latest NAM model that came out this AM…

This snow track in relation to KC has been pushed farther NWards over the past couple of runs of the NAM model…in line with the other models thinking, and in line with what I thought about this storm for the last several days.

What will be interesting to see is how the region gets dry slotted. This occurs when storms in the mid levels of the atmosphere get so wrapped up that the precipitation wraps around the periphery of the storm and drier air gets sucked into the storms circulation from the SW. This drier air wraps around the center of the storm shutting down the significant rain/snow production and typically leaving a region in just some very light precip, usually drizzle. This is what I expect on Tuesday for the metro.

With all that said lets get you through the next few days…

Today: High clouds give way to increasing sunshine in the afternoon…highs range from 52-57°

Tonight: Clouds increase again after midnight towards daybreak.

Monday: Clouds rapidly thicken in the AM and lower. There may be a few scattered showers around in the AM but a big chunk of rain should start moving in sometime in the mid afternoon from the south to the north. Highs in the 40s

Monday night: Colder air starts to move into the region. Temperatures, which may be close to 42-45° in the metro and near 50° SE of KC  fall into the 30s  areawide and near 32° around KCI…freezing rain develops on the NW/N side of the metro. The air @ about 5K feet is more than likely just too warm to support snow for the metro. Areas up towards 36 highway especially from St Joe westwards though may be more favorable for snowfall.

Tuesday: Dry slotting occurs and the precipitation is mostly light and we’ll just call it a mix right now…shouldn’t create too many KC metro issues. Temps in the 32-35° range during the day.

Tuesday night: The potential of wrap around light snowfall exists for the area. IF we’re going to get an accumulation of snow, it would probably be under 2″ (if that) and the band of snow would be weakening as it moves through the area.

Wednesday: Clouds depart and the sun returns with highs in 30s.

The chances of a White Christmas appear slim to me, but there will be a system to track nearby on Christmas eve perhaps…

Finally do you want it to snow or not. If you do…here is how it will snow for you. Heck I’ll make it snow inside your house. Go to google and do a search for “Let It Snow“. Leave out the quotation marks. Watch what happens. To wipe away the snow, without shoveling just hit the “defrost” button. Way cool!

Mike is on duty for the rest of the day/night and will update you @ 5/9/10.




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