KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Well it was a nice one-day pop of mild weather: hit 55 degrees on Tuesday, can’t complain about that in late January. Things today will be “different.” Temperatures will continue to drop off this morning before leveling off during the afternoon. Winds will continue to gust and wind chills will continue to fall.
Yup, winter is back for a couple of days or so.
Then it leaves, then it comes back, then it leaves, then it comes back. The ups and downs of the last seven weeks or so are pretty big it seems, and for now, it continues.
Today: Generally cloudy, blustery and colder with temperatures trailing off to around 20 degrees as the afternoon moves along with wind chills near zero to 5 degrees.
Tonight: Breezy and colder with lows down into the 5-degree range.
Tomorrow: Sunny and cold with highs between 15-20 degrees.
Friday: Sunny and still chilly with highs well into the 20s.
Well that front came through as expected and after a midnight high of 40 degrees, we’ve been on the decline ever since. Dropping to 23 degrees at 8 a.m. with strong north winds gusting to around 30 mph. The wind chill as I type this is around 9 degrees. That is a change from yesterday for sure!
The weather map this morning shows how the cold air is moving in. The temperatures are in RED.
So it’s 23 degrees at 8 a.m. here and in the single digits roughly north of Interstate 80 into northeast Nebraska and northwest Iowa. That cold air will continue to stream farther south today into tonight. This is connected to a strong and large area of high pressure dropping into the U.S.
That high will send the barometer readings way up over the coming days. Some readings on your home weather stations may be close to 30.8 inches or even higher across parts of the area. As I mentioned yesterday, this is a cold and dense air mass that exerts a downwards force on the terrain. That sends the pressure readings up.
Typically this would have even colder air with it, but a lack of snow cover in the Plains today is allowing some modification of that air mass as it comes south, and that will continue through Friday before it shoves away. Here is a look at the snow cover situation.
Now follow the area of higher pressure building into the region.
See the blue H? That is the core of the cold high pressure.
As it goes, so goes the cold air.
You can track the cold air best by going above the surface and seeing the air mass clearer. Let’s go up to about 3,000 feet or so. Remember the numbers on the following animation are in degrees Celsius. We need to convert to degrees Fahrenheit. Rough guide for you: 0C is 32F, -10C is 18F, -20C is 4F.
Notice how by later Saturday as the animation is done, the bulk of the cold is moving towards the Great Lakes and east of there and we start to warm back up over the weekend. Odds are well into the 30s on Saturday and then potentially well into the 40s on Sunday.
These repetitive hits of systems coming down from the northwest don’t do much to bring us moisture. That is an issue. While this may not be a perfect forecast for moisture amounts, it may not be a terrible forecast.
This situation continues to be “slowly” a thing around here, the general trend of a lack of moisture. The system from the past weekend though was helpful. The issue is these constant waves from the northwest to the southeast with little moisture to work with.
The other issue is that this flow allows these cold air masses to move in, then move out in the course of 48 hours or so, followed by good moderation (like yesterday), followed by another shot of cold weather.
So a nicer warm up returns over the weekend into Monday (50s possible Monday) before another quick-hitting shove of cold air.
Let’s go up to about 5,000 feet this time to show you the temperatures anomalies. The reds in the map below show likely warmer-than-average temperatures.
Now 24 hours later:
We do it again in a week: we go back up, then back down.
Pretty impressive and sort of a classic La Niña pattern really. Remember La Niña? Yup, still going pretty good. Remember the classic La Niña flow? The general average flow aloft is from northwest to southeast.
There is a lot of variation with that “average” flow aloft, but that type of scenario brings these quick-hitting clippers through the area and that’s been a repetitive pattern for awhile now. If we want to get a rough look at how the temperature anomalies have trended over the past 45 days:
You can sort of see it right? The colder air in western Canada and the warmth for most of the US south of the I-80 corridor region.
What the pattern isn’t overall favorable for is snowstorms, at least for a while. Here is what we’ve done so far this season.
Perhaps a closer in view of things. Again approximate numbers:
Definitely so far an I-90 and north season for snow.
The feature photo comes from Shrewsbury Scott Pam. We had ourselves a great sunset last night!