Chances Of Our 1st Real Snow

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Granted some of you have already seen some flakes of snow this late fall, but with the official start of astronomical Winter just a few days away on the 21st (Friday)…well Mother Nature is starting to crank things up a bit. I’m still not too excited about the prospects of a White Christmas (more on that at the end of the blog) but at least we’ll have some things to talk about between now and then, including a fast and intensifying storm that will be moving through the region Wednesday into early Thursday morning before moving away later Thursday AM.

If nothing else, I’m confident that there is going to be a lot of wind associated with the storm as it moves past the area, so Thursday will be a windy day, we’re talking gusts in the area of 30-40 MPH possible. That combined with colder air moving in spells a very unpleasant day in the area. This storm should put an end to some of the record measurable snowless streaks that are still going (Chicago and Milwaukee to name a few).

What about us? Well as usual that is by no means (at this point) a slam dunk. Some modelling indeed would suggest the potential for a wind blown 1-2″ event for the KC area, especially the north side. While accumulation chances still look better farther north we’ll need to track the progress of the surface low as it develops, rapidly intensifies and then zips through the area. Is the surface low closer to the Springfield, MO corridor (better chances for snow here) or is it closer to the I-70 corridor (better for N MO)? The closer the low track is to the KC area, the longer we’ll stay in the “warm” air so that any transition to snowflakes is delayed. If it is delayed enough there would be no way we could get much of an accumulation.

Now the farther south the low tracks, then we could cook something up. Which combined with the wind would perhaps create some issues for the THU AM commute.

The storm in question is off the coast of British Columbia (at least the energy for the storm) is.

Notice the “popcorny” look to the clouds in the Pacific Ocean. That represents the colder air associated with the storm. The storm won’t even get sampled with or upper air network until later tomorrow so I’m really not going to get excited about what any of the models show at this point. The NAM is the least exciting for the snowlovers out there, while the other modelling is certainly more interesting shall we say. While it may be easy to say (or wish) that the NAM is on it’s own and wrong (which it may be) the storm will be bringing in a lot of “warm” air ahead of it (we should be in the 50s tomorrow and 40s to near 50° on Wednesday) and the air aloft will be warm as well. When the storm does form it’s going to want to form closer to the colder air, so that concern of the storm forming to far north and taking a more northerly track is certainly there.

For those who care more about the amount of precipitation, while always beneficial, it does not appear at this point that a lot of moisture will come from the storm. The window for whatever is going to happen will be rather short (from a rain/snow) standpoint again. So at this point odds favor under 1/2″ for moisture and perhaps under 1/3″ total from the storm. If a chunk of that is liquid and not white or some sort of combination, you can see how we could have a tough time with accumulations.

The timing of the transition though would be in the favor of snowlovers…sometime later WED night or early THU AM, the lack of daylight will help the cause to get the snow to stick, if there is any to begin with. As usual though, it appears that there will some some haves and many have nots when it comes to snowfall accumulations in our viewing area, which seems to be par for the course in this part of the country.

Just looking at the new model data, it already appears to be running about 3 hours slower which is to be expected with an intensifying storm in the Plains area. This does appear to be a nice snowstorm for the folks in NE, IA, N KS and then farther NEwards into the WI area and probably NW IL as well. N MO may get involved in this as well. So at this point, through Thursday AM the heaviest swath of snow appears to be in a corridor from Des Moines to Omaha to Lincoln, NE to east of Goodland. This does have the makings up there for a 4-8″ event with wind on the backside leading to all sorts of travel related concerns for the I-80 corridor and southwards to the N KS area into far N MO.

It does appear that whatever snow we get locally will be melted by the later in the weekend. so with that said I’ll continue with my forecast a week ago concerning the chances of  White Christmas in KC.

white xmas

I should note that there will be a storm somewhere in the SW Plains perhaps on Christmas Eve…at this point it’s main forecast is potentially south of here and southwest of here, but it’s got me interested, and we will be trending colder heading towards Christmas so that too has me interested. Should the data continue to evolve over the next couple of days I may explore upping the chances a bit.


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