KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Today is the first day of meteorological spring in KC! We consider (for data purposes) spring to be March 1 through May 31… so winter is over.
Of course, Mother Nature doesn’t care what the calendar says during this time of the year. Our biggest snowstorm on record occurred in late March, so we all know this month can still be very much like winter locally.
Meteorological winter (from December through the last day of February) was a warm one… warmest in a few years as a matter of fact. It was also wet. Top 25 wet for winter seasons.
So let’s dive in to a little spring and winter ahead.
Today: Sunny and mild… highs in the upper 50s.
Tonight: Fair and cool with lows near 32 degrees.
Tomorrow: Turning cloudy with rain possible later in the afternoon. Highs in the mid-to-upper 40s.
Friday: Snow possible in the morning, although there are major issues with how much. We may see some clearing later in the day. It’s not out of the question if the storm moves far east, we can be well into the 40s for highs.
So let’s dive into a few stats briefly, concerning meteorological winter that is over with now.
The good news about all that moisture is that it’s eradicated the drought that was an issue about 3-6 months ago. The soils are pretty saturated now and their about to get more moisture tomorrow.
Snow storm in KC?
Now about the storm. Data a couple of days ago showed the highest threat of a snowstorm more towards the east and southeast of KC. Yesterday, there was a clear budge towards the metro in at least the threat of something bigger.
As I mentioned though on the air and in a post of Facebook, it was far too early to speculate on accumulations because of the variance of tracks that were being exhibited by the data.
It was, and to some extent still is, a low confidence forecast for Friday. Highs could be in the 50s, or we could have a blizzard.
That’s quite the variance, and in many cases it comes down to where the storm (and it will be another powerhouse storm) ends up going. A farther north track into Missouri places the state line directly in the powerful comma head part of the storm. A track 100 miles farther south removes that potential for the state line.
Last night’s data showed this spread as I highlighted on Twitter for you (@fox4wx).
Yo can see last night’s NAM model with a track closer to Interstate 44 and last night’s GFS model with a track towards I-40 near Little Rock, Arkansas.
The GFS would be just too far south really. And while intense and we’d have a lot of wind, our atmosphere would be too warm to support much of an accumulating snow, especially in the daytime hours.
The NAM model would be good to great for near-blizzardlike conditions.
Quite the difference.
Overnight models of the NAM and GFS pretty much held serve, but there was a subtle change in the EURO model. The overnight EURO definitely trended towards the southeast by several counties, which would remove KC from most of the accumulating snows to a large extent.
The Canadian model is a big nope on the snowstorm, locally at least.
Deterministic models though are not perfect either. What I like to look at are the ensemble trends for snow, a collaboration of the same model, but run multiple times with different physics and different initial conditions for this powerful system.
You end up getting multiple forecasts to get an idea of whether the main model is on an island or has collaboration with its other ensemble members.
Here are the ensemble members of the GFS model:
Now the EURO model. Not overly impressive:
And finally the Canadian model:
For a snow lover… this isn’t great news locally.
There was a definite shift south. The EURO model especially creates a heavy snowstorm more towards central Missouri and the Lake of the Ozarks.
The GFS gives us this from the overnight run:
It’s important to note that the storm isn’t dragging in cold air from the north. The only real way we could get snow, since we’ll be warm initially, is if the storm can chill the atmosphere down enough to switch things over to snow.
With the GFS that doesn’t happen. With the EURO it does happen, but really more toward the east.
This morning’s NAM is also holding court, and is the only model showing a full-on blizzard for the area on Friday morning with the I-35 corridor in the bullseye. Again it’s pretty much the only model doing this in the last 12 hours of runs.
Where is the storm now?
Out in California, the potential track of the dynamic upper-level low is as follows (at least per the EURO model).
This track is still a bit too far south/southeast for my liking for the metro’s heavy snow risk at least.
If we don’t get into the core of the best lift (on the northwest side of the storm where the comma head part chills the atmosphere down enough), we won’t be able to see much of a conversion. And the data overnight shows that may not happen in the KC area with any real significance.
Without that potential, the storm more or less moves away and milder air moves in on the trail end of the storm, with a lot of data suggesting highs may surge into the lower 50s behind the storm by later Friday afternoon.
So that is potential No. 1, and perhaps that potential is a bit more favorable today compared to yesterday.
But we’re by no means out of the woods on this. There is still an opportunity with subtle track changes of 50 miles here or 100 miles there that we get into the better snow production.
If this was a development, it would be that heavy, wet, gloppy snow, and with the strong winds around, perhaps gusting to over 40 mph, blizzard conditions would be on the table.
So what do I think?
- I think the chance of having blizzard/near-blizzard conditions is around 25%.
- I think the chance that the worst is more towards central Missouri and the Lake of the Ozarks is 45%.
- I think the chance of no one at all having a snowstorm, on the Missouri side especially, is around 30%.
For the record, the morning run of the HRRR model does show the first option still on the table.
This storm will have a nasty severe weather component to it for states to our south and east.
That could be a nasty outbreak of strong tornadoes to our south .
The bottom line with all of this is the track of the upper-level system. It’s really just coming down to about 100 miles either north or south, and that dictates what should happen with this system. As I mentioned yesterday and the day before, unfortunately with 100% certainty, it just needs to be watched for the day. Some additional conclusions might be made tonight.
It’s a whopper of a storm though, and it should bring us a LOT of wind on Friday and really Thursday night as well.
That storm track though has been bugging me for a couple of days. Unlike the system that gave us the snowstorm a couple of weeks ago (that we picked out nicely with a more ideal track), this one is still too far south at this point for my liking, hence my initial thoughts this morning of a less-impactful event for the metro.
For snow lovers, we need more of a surface low track north of I-44, not south of it.
The feature photo is from Chuck Carbajal down in Lee’s Summit. Pretty Cardinal.