Joe’s Weather Blog: Frost and down the road freeze risks (FRI-10/15)

Weather Blog

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A pleasant start this morning in the area as clouds have briefly parted and temperatures are around 50°. Cooler air, compared to yesterday’s 72°, is filtering in and while there may be a midday shower out there, especially from Kansas City eastwards, the chances are looking pretty low for any one spot. Something to pay attention to as the clouds move back into the area this morning.

The main thing about the weekend, aside from the beautiful days, will be the potential for scattered frost out there, starting in the morning tomorrow. It shouldn’t be too widespread in Kansas City proper, but there may be a few patches here and there. There also should be more than a few patches across northern Missouri and northeast Kansas I think. Same goes for Sunday morning too. Gardeners take note.

It will be a great outdoors weekend though!

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Forecast:

Today: Variable clouds with a 30% chance of a passing midday shower/drizzle. Highs around 60°.

Tonight: Clearing out and cool with lows in the upper 30s to near 40°. Some scattered frost is possible in low lying areas and areas outside of the metro.

Tomorrow and Sunday: Bright and pleasant. Cool Saturday and milder Sunday. Highs in the low-to-mid-60s tomorrow and lower 70s on Sunday.

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Discussion:

This blog will be relatively short I think as the storm sequence that has given us the needed rains over the past five days has come to an end. There were some storms and locally brief downpours overnight. I guess there were some gusty winds too in the wee hours of the morning ,with some of the activity coming out of eastern Kansas too. There were some interesting cells during the evening in Osage and Franklin counties. They were showing some rotation and persistence, but nothing too eventful, aside from the heavy rains, came from them.

So the weekend looks good overall. The only item of interest is the potential for frost. Sometimes during this time of the year, as the nights get a bit longer, with light winds and enough dry air, the lows can really drop. Yesterday, I mentioned that getting frosts in mid-October is pretty typical, and with the weekend setup, it’s not out of the question.

So with that out of the way, the higher risks may still be in northern Missouri and northeast Kansas. But even in the metro, there might be a low-lying area that sees some frost. Cold air “drains” into these areas, since it’s denser than warm air. So that’s why some areas have a tendency to see frost compared to other areas.

Interesting trends continue on the model data, particularly with regards to perhaps a sharper shot of chillier weather. There may be a couple of substantial fronts next week: a weaker one coming into the area on Wednesday, and another perhaps stronger one later in the week into next weekend.

That second front is the one that may deliver a stronger shot of colder air, enough to bring near-freezing temperatures (or below) to some parts of the area. For gardeners, it’s something to monitor heading into next weekend.

It’s sort of a weird pirouette that at least the EURO model is doing as one upper-level system passes by on Wednesday and another up towards Hudsons Bay in Canada rotates around to the west and drops southwards. You can see how this is reflected in the flow aloft at around 18,000 feet:

It would be a weird way, in a sense to get a cold air dump but it’s somewhat doable. Then as we go down in the atmosphere to a few thousand feet up, you can see the same reflection of the colder air.

Especially heading into the next weekend.

This isn’t set in stone at all though. As I mentioned, the EURO is doing this in a weird way. And if the cold air is more directed towards the east of the region, we’ll get chillier, but perhaps not see a freeze.

Notice the difference between the EURO (slide right) and the GFS (slide left):

BIG difference.

My initial feeling is the the way the EURO is putting the cold air into the northern US seems a bit too far fetched, and that the GFS is probably more correct into next weekend. The EURO ensembles don’t really agree with the operational run either. Let me show you: This would be the EURO run vs it’s ensembles run. The ensembles are a combination of some 50 other runs of the same model with slightly different physics and initializations, which can give forecasters confidence in outcomes or not. Here is the forecast for about 5,000 feet up. The brighter white represents 32° F at that level. Slide right for EURO and left for the ensembles. This would be for 7 a.m. next Saturday morning:

BIG difference in the Plains region.

Again, I sort of lean towards the ensembles on this one with cooler air for sure, but perhaps not to the degree as the operational run. So frost again might be on the table, but a hard freeze in Kansas City may not be there yet.

That’s it for today. Feature photo is from Ben who got the drone up this morning and it was a pretty one to do it too!

Joe

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