It’s not too overly chilly out there today with temperatures this morning starting out in the mid-30s. We’ve seen a lot of clouds over the past day or so and more are likely this week.

From a moisture standpoint though, we haven’t seen a lot lately, and the good news is that at least there is one chance this week to get some moisture. That best chance is on Thursday.

Something though that has been catching my eye over the last week though is what’s happening 1000s of miles away from the Plains, over toward the northern Atlantic and Greenland, and that is a significant area of abnormally warm air (for them). This is leading to the atmosphere trying to realign itself, and it well may over the coming weeks, allowing colder air to push more into the middle and eastern US, and that may be the set-up for accumulating snows sometime NEXT week or so.

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Forecast

Today: Skies turn cloudy from KC southwards…more sunshine north… warmer too with highs into the mid-50s north to mid 40s south with clouds. Light winds.

Tonight: Fair and cool with lows in the 30s.

Tomorrow: More clouds, lower clouds too. There may be a few sprinkles or patches of drizzle out there somewhere, especially south and east of I-35. Highs only near 40°.

Wednesday: Mostly cloudy and a bit above average with highs in the 50° range.

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Discussion

First of all, in case you didn’t hear/know… our winter weather forecast will be this Thursday through the course of the various newscasts. Each of us will reveal what we’re thinking then I’ll show you my thoughts for the later shows and we’ll come up with a team average. I may or may not get a blog out for this. I certainly will do a recap blog for you for Friday’s entry if you miss it.

Onwards…

I’ve been on record for the last couple of months that I’ve been thinking above average snows and a White Christmas. That latter is something that we haven’t had in a while… I mentioned back in September that little nugget.

It’s tough though for us to get snow when it’s not cold enough. We have had 4/10″ of snow so far this “season”… but the last few weeks haven’t exactly been great for snow enthusiasts. That is typical for mid to late November, but now that were into December, we start looking a bit harder for set-ups.

There is often a delicate balance between getting cold enough through the atmosphere for snow and not being so cold to shunt the better snow-making potential away from the KC region.

So we need cold, but yet not too much cold.

I’m seeing signs of at least the former setting up for the Plains, perhaps another 5-10 day stretch of colder than average weather and a colder than average atmosphere setting up.

This should start sometime early next week. Why?

Well the events in the NW Atlantic region toward Greenland have been interesting to watch. Often during the winter we talk about a phenomena called the NAO or North Atlantic Oscillation. One of many different variables that we pay attention too on a weekly basis. This particular one does have a pretty strong connection to cold air delivery in the Plains or eastern US (or both).

The NAO can be scaled, positive and negative, for us, while not a guarantee of a particular weather regime or snow. We look for moderate to strongly negative values. These tend to correlate to colder regimes. Again NO “if this then automatically that” connection but a good correlation if other things come together usually.

First the significance of those values.

When negative, there is a higher likelihood of cold air drainage into the Plains with even stronger chances of cold air drainage into the eastern US.

Pattern often associated with NEGATIVE NAO values

Now take a look at the forecast surface pressure anomalies later on in the week… and note that large and strong area of high pressure towards Greenland.

What happens when this set’s up, it’s also referred to “blocking,” is that that large block can expand farther toward the west. It forces the surface storms coming through the Pacific region to be forced farther south into the States. That at least in theory should increase the “storminess” factor.

It’s a delicate balance though; if the upper air pattern isn’t as cooperative, for example of the delivery of colder air is more towards the east of the region, this is more of an east coast snow set-up (nor’easters).

At least though it appears that blocking will allow colder air to drain southwards into the States.

Model data today is supportive of this as we head toward NEXT week. Take a look at the 7 day average ending on the 19th for 5,000 foot temperatures:

The warmest air relative to average sinks towards the Hudson Bay region, and cold air is draining from the NW Territories of Canada into the States.

So this means that next week should be cold and supportive of winter weather risks. Perhaps on as early as NEXT Monday, then another before the work week is done and perhaps one more after that!

So there may well be some players on the field in about a week… for roughly a 7-10 day period before things realign themselves towards the end of the month.

It’s at least worth watching.

Backtracking though for THIS Thursday… this one should be a rain maker for us with snow up towards eastern NE and IA. More on this tomorrow.

The feature photo comes from Christy Petrovick in Olathe

Joe