It’s amazing how quickly the weather can change hour to hour, week to week, etc. Last week at this very moment we were experiencing sub-zero temperatures and wind chills teetering close to -30°.
Here we are today, starting the day with temperatures near 60° and strong south winds gusting to near 40 MPH, which may send temperatures to record levels (for highs). One extreme to the other and an almost 100° swing!
This isn’t unique to KC. After getting all that snow in western NY from the historic blizzard, now they’re going to see 50s there as well. So that should be helpful.
For us there’s a cold front that’s going to move through the region later Thursday, and there is more seasonable air to the west of the region. That will be shifting towards us heading into the weekend, although not overly cold at all.
Today: Mostly sunny, warm and windy. Highs in the upper 60s to potentially 70°. Winds gusting to near 40 MPH. The front should move through toward the evening rush hour.
Tonight: Variable clouds and chillier. Lows in the upper 20s
Tomorrow: Still good but not as warm with highs in the mid to upper 40s
Saturday: Partly cloudy and pleasant for the last day of the year. Highs well into the 40s
Sunday: Much better for the game compared to last Saturday. Highs near 50…perhaps a bit better.
Let’s start out with the surface map showing a storm that is in the Plains. Ahead of this strong south winds have been blowing these last couple of days and that has resulted in a nice warm-up that will linger into the mid afternoon before things start to change.
To the northwest of the front there is some colder air, but the storm isn’t really tugging in any Canadian air into the Plains. So as a result, temperatures in Nebraska are in the mid-30s, which really is not too bad for late December.
The surface storm will move towards Iowa and in the colder air behind it there should be some accumulating snows in Nebraska as the day moves along. Winter weather advisories are in effect for parts of central NE today.
Ahead of that feature the winds just above the surface have been cranking at close to 60 MPH and some of that wind has mixed down to the ground, hence our strong winds this morning.
The front itself that is attached to the surface storm will move through later this afternoon and with more sunshine today compared to the last few days. We should warm up nicely, and since we’re already at 60°, upper 60s are very much in play
The record today is 68° set back in 1947. That is in play today… crazy considering last week we had wind chills near -30°, and today it may be close to 70°.
Last night I went 65° for today, well above any other forecast out there, because I saw what was coming today… and I still might have been too low. Crazy.
In the big picture the weather story is the parade of storms coming through the Pacific. Strong jet stream winds and moisture that stretches all the way to Asia will bring copious rains and much higher elevation snows to the western US through the weekend.
This will help keep cold air bottled up in the northern latitudes and allow various systems to move into the Plains, one of which is due on Monday. And with warm air flooding the Plains, this will likely be an all rain event for us.
The satellite loop out towards the central and northern Pacific shows the parade of moisture.
These strong jet stream winds go all the way to Asia as mentioned earlier and you can see them screaming across the Pacific Ocean…as we go up to about 30,000+ feet or so. The max winds in there are close to 200 knots… or almost 230 MPH!
These winds transport water vapor, and when that moisture slams into land it means lots of precipitation. Add in the moisture then rising into the eastern side of the western mountains and then getting shoved upwards in elevation, and that accentuates the heaviness of the rain and then snow in the highest elevations.
The next map shows the precipitable water in the atmosphere compared to average, and that helps us see how much moisture there is in the atmosphere. Values over 150% catch your attention, and over 200% really catch your attention.
It’s no wonder that over the coming days they’re going to get a lot of precipitation from this.
Some model data shows close to 10″ of moisture in the mountains out there. Again, that will convert over to snow farther up to the tune of 5-10 feet worth!
For us, a wave will break through the western US by the end of the weekend and it should be a strong wave, which will then move into the western Plains on Monday, spinning up a surface storm in the western Plains.
Moisture will get pulled into that system from the Gulf and we should get a warm rain on Monday.
Something of note though: Models will struggle with this for the next 48 hours; fast-moving jet streams and waves, in the Pacific, typically aren’t handled the best for the finer details of what happens in the Plains and while the highest chance is that the system remains a “warm” system for us.
Southward trends will need to be watched just in case.
Why is that important? A farther south trend on this, and the EURO is trying to sniff on this potential a bit, could allow some wrap around winter precip to infiltrate at least part of the region later Monday or early Tuesday, and also allow some colder air to sneak in as well.
Just something to monitor.
The rain though would be a welcome change for us. Parts of the area are still technically in a moderate drought, mainly north of I-70 and west of I-35. Here is the latest drought report.
So moisture would certainly be welcome. We should be in line for 1/4″ to 1″ worth from this system.
We then turn chillier but nothing too crazy early next week after the storm passes.
The feature photo is from Lesa Wardrip…we’ve had some great sunrises/sets lately and last night was another great sunset.
That’s it for today…