Joe’s Weather Blog: Track the snowstorm tonight (SAT-3/2)

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Just another quick word of thanks for all the well wishes about the changes at FOX 4 Weather. Between all the weather happening and all the snow…cold…wind…clouds…freezing rain…ice…sleet…thunder…hail…and about 20 other things…these last few months have been interesting. In case you missed it…click here.

Clouds are increasing in the area, especially on the southside. These clouds won’t produce snow locally…nor am I worried about that through the evening…snow risks increase later tonight into tomorrow morning.

After Sunday morning…we may be done with the snow threat into Wednesday at least. There may be a system on Thursday (rather iffy) to track though…the ladies will be doing that for you.

  • Forecast:

Tonight: Clouds increasing and lowering. This will be the way the atmosphere is showing you it is gradually getting saturated. This will take some time so even if you notice flakes out there before 12AM…they won’t amount to much at all I don’t think. Snow developes after 2AM or so…and quickly accumulates. Temperatures will drop from near 20° at 12AM to the teens at daybreak. Winds increase from the north at 10-20 MPH+

Sunday: Snow winds down quickly after daybreak. The “worst” part of the snowstorm will be from 3-7AM or so…then the snow ends as flurries by 9AM or so. Final accumulations will range from around 2-3″ in the far northern part of the Metro…north of KCI. To 4-5″ or so through the far southern part of the Metro…Spring Hill>Pleasant Hill or so. Overall most should get 3-5″ I think. IF things last an extra hour or two…add on another inch. Falling temperatures and then leveling off into the teens. Wind chills sub-zero. Some afternoon sunshine.

Monday: Sunny and unseasonably cold. Highs 30° below average…near 20° after sub-zero morning lows.

  • Discussion:

So let’s start with the cold weather…which is really a big deal (perhaps not so much in January) but for early March. When we talk about afternoon temperatures in the teens to around 20° like Sunday>Tuesday…that is nutty cold weather for early March when the average high is around 50°.

Let’s look back at the last month…

There are a few average days…and a couple of above average days…and a ton of below average days. Most of those have been by a lot too!

We finished the month almost 6° below average.

Yesterday was 11° below average…so not a great start to March…and today won’t be much better considering we’re still around 25° at the noon hour.

This cold weather will continue for awhile although overall cold will rule the week it appears. There will be a system on Thursday that may produce some wintry weather…and a system next weekend that will probably be more potent…and depending on how things play out…I hate to say it…but somebody could get some severe weather from that depending on the track the storm takes. IF that is the case though we’ll at least warm up before it comes…perhaps on Friday/Saturday

Now onto the snow…

The storm is now onshore mostly…it will come through the west this evening and come into the Rockies tonight.

As it does so it will go through various gyrations and changes to it’s structure and then cross over the Rockies Sunday early morning. From there it streaks rapidly though the Plains states in the morning and the system passes by here before lunch Sunday.

So A LOT has to happen in the atmosphere later tonight into Sunday AM.

  1. we have to saturate the air more. Actually this is mostly an issue below 10,000 feet or so. That will take some time…but we should get there towards 2AM or so. So IF anything falls from the sky…it won’t amount ot much locally before then.
  2. For snow lovers the wave itself is still sort of “messy” and in chunks. The NAM model earlier seemed to have a somewhat more formidable wave…which is possible…it just depends on how this thing looks after crossing the mountains and going through various changes. IF that is the case…if the wave is somewhat stronger…we should have no problem getting to the higher end of the forecast snow totals. IF the wave is more in pieces and IF you don’t get the heavier snows that will come fast and furious through the area, especially from KC southwards…you may end with the lower end of the accumulations
  3. This will be a fast in and out system. We’re going to be waiting till around 2 or 3AM for accumulating snow…the heaviest is donewith by 7-8AM. That is not a lot of time. There should be 2-3 hours of moderate to at times heavy snow, especially from KC southwards…then a couple of hours of lighter snow rates…then we go to non accumulating flurries really.
  4. The winds will blow this stuff around quite a bit. Not blizzard type winds but daybreak winds of 15-25 MPH will pile the snow in places and strip the snow in other places.
  5. This will be a “lighter” fluffier snow…so it will blow around. East/West roads will have a rougher time with this because of the north winds blowing. So that will complicate the road recovery issue.
  6. The sun will return in the afternoon…that, despite the unusually cold day will allow the pavement to improve as the day moves along
  7. Watch for refreezing overnight…chemicals don’t help with sub-zero cold.

On that note…sub-zero cold in March is not rather unique…and what happens on Monday, depending on how low we go…and I think -5° is possible…would be a rarity. Odds favor at least a Top 10 coldest March temperature coming.

On 3/3/2014 we tanked to -7°…there was 3″ of snow on the ground.

OK back to the snow…

Here is radar…

Now this afternoon and this evening…you may see a lot of returns showing up. The vast majority of this is “virga” or precipitation that evaporates before it reaches the ground. Not uncommon. If you want you can call it “snirga”!

This is just part of the process of saturating the atmosphere. There may be a few flakes sneaking through…but it’s going to be a process.

Now when the atmosphere gets saturated we’ll be tracking the wave(s) coming into the Plains tonight.

I’m a big fan of looking for “lift” in the atmosphere…and let’s see how that “lift” or vertical motion is doing…we can go up to about 10,000 feet or even higher to track this.

2AM…look for the reddish areas coming through the Plains…

Now 3AM…

Now 4AM…

and by 5AM…

Mostly gone by then…there is still some lift below that though…not as much but enough to generate snow through about 8AM or so…but it will be ending fast.

So really about 4-5 hours of decent snow rates…not all the time though…

Model data indicates roughly 1/4″ or so of moisture being wrung out of this. Some small upside to that in places…especially south. So take that moisture..use a 15:1 ratio…probably a bit more towards daybreak…and you get a pretty solid 3-4″ of wind blown snow. Add in a pinch of upside…maybe 5″ for the KC Metro area. Notice MOST of that lift is towards the Metro and southwards…areas farther north not as well set-up it appears.

Here is the HRRR model…showing the look to the precip as it comes into the Plains.

Again a LOT is going to happen very quickly after 12AM…into the wee hours of the morning while your sleeping.

Confidence levels for snow amounts…for the KC Metro area…

Dusting to 2″: 100%

2-4″: 90%

4-6″: 65% 

6-10″: 5%

For areas towards northern MO north of 36 highway…odds favor 2″ or less

For areas south of the Metro towards Pettis/JOCO, MO, Cass/Miami/Franklin and points south…odds favor more in the 4-7″ range. Higher end numbers should be more isolated.

Here are the latest advisories/warnings.

So there you go…

Oh if your interested…and I know this is weird timing when a snowstorm is coming but I’m off starting after the morning show tomorrow…I’ll repost this in a blog Monday…but you might be interested in this podcast that I had a helping hand in. There were about 5 meteorologists from stations in our group in the Midwest that contributed to this…you might enjoy it. It even involves the game of Plinko!

We’ve all taken shots at a local TV meteorologist at one point or another, and we’ve certainly seen your comments on social media.

Just why is it so difficult to figure out how much snow is actually going to fall? Pouring rain, days of snow, temperatures swings that make your head spin. Why won’t Mother Nature just play along?

Take it from five experienced forecasters, including me, who know all to well: Predicting the weather isn’t as easy as it might seem. They dive into the complexities that make up Midwestern forecasting in a new podcast, “Why We Love to Hate Our Meteorologists.”

Check out the new podcast below.

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I also have my own weather podcast, “Joe’s Weather World.” Listen to my latest episode here.

OK..that’s it for today. I may or may not get a blog together tomorrow morning. IF I don’t…again thanks for the kind words with the changes coming with my on air work…I’ll see you again on the 14th. It’s time to stick my toes in the sand for a bit. I won’t have internet connections for about a week either so Michelle and Karli will get you updated.

Our feature photo comes from Art White down in Pleasant Hill, MO…this was taken back in mid January after one of the other storms we had.

I’m going to try and get a FB LIVE out before 8PM or so…like/follow Joe Lauria Fox 4 Weather to get access to that on Facebook. Oh and listen to that podcast for me…you’ll enjoy the 1st part of it especially I think!


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