Joe’s Weather Blog: Where’s the “for real” cold? (TUE-1/19)

Weather Blog

One of the things I talked about last night on the newscast is what’s been happening so far this meteorological winter in Kansas City. Meteorological winter (as we weather folks define it) is from December 1 through the last day of February. We’re in 15th place as of today in terms of “mild” starts to the meteorological winter season.

It was actually warmer last winter through the 18th of January.

From a snow standpoint, we’re running 50% of what is average. Snow is a bit different though, I think, because one storm will bring us to average or higher around these parts.

So where is the real cold?

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Today: Partly cloudy and pleasant but breezy. Highs near 45°.

Tonight: Fair and chilly with lows in the mid 20s.

Tomorrow: Sunny and windy. Gusts around 30-35 mph possible but milder with highs in the mid 50s.

Thursday: Better with sunshine and much less wind. Highs near 55°.



I’m not going to spend time on this blog today concerning our weather. Let’s take a day or two off from that. Yes, there is a likely weekend system…odds favor more rain than anything else at this point though. The question for Sunday is do we get a bit of a warm surge into the 40s or not.

I wanted to go back to my thoughts on the air last night regarding the lack of “real” cold around here. Sure we’ve had some chilly days, but really it has not been that bad of a winter, so far at least.

In December, our coldest morning was 6°. Yes chilly, but still. So far this month, our coldest morning has been 19°. Remarkable really that we’re now almost two-thirds through the month and we’ve yet to have one morning below average in KC for the month. I think 19° was average that morning.

Take a look to what I referenced when I started the blog though…

Above are the average temperatures to start meteorological winter through yesterday. It’s also interesting to see that we’re pretty darn close to the mild start to last winter as well.

So where is the real cold? Well, it’s not in most of Canada. This next map is crazy really. Look at the swath of above-average temperatures in Canada.

Now, even temperature some 21° above average are still “cold” up there but that is absolutely crazy. This is over the last 45 days…so almost back to December 1st.

So when we get a northerly fetch of air, we’re dragging down chilly air that isn’t exactly as cold as it certainly could be by Canada standards at least. Yes it’s cold, but it’s not brutal cold and that’s just one reason the cold around here hasn’t had lasting power.

Next…see the rankings of the warmest starts to the meteorological winter. IF it’s not overly cold in Canada…the effect tends to “bleed” over into the northern US.

Look at all the 1’s. This indicates the warmest start to the winter season. They’re all over the place in the Dakota’s and into Montana as well.

Some of the actual values are close to 15° above average…phenomenal.

So where is the “real” cold?

Well it’s on the other side of the world/hemisphere.

Here is the hemispheric view…look towards Asia…Russia…Siberia. There is REAL cold there.

There is a switch from F to C scale in the above map.

That is some pretty cold air to balance out what is happening on this side of the hemisphere to some extent.

So there is “real” cold in the world…it’s just not on this side of the Pole, and that makes a big difference in how cold we get and for how long.

Last year, there was a strong polar vortex keeping the cold air mostly bottled up in the northern latitudes. This season (so far) the vortex isn’t nearly as strong and there are other indicators that it should be colder but a stronger Pacific jet stream has been cutting the edge off any southern progression of cold air in Canada. There are other reasons as well.

A lack of snow cover is also conspiring to allow the colder air to modify easily. This has been blogged about off and on for the last few weeks too.

Anyway…now you know!

Our feature photo comes from Lesa Wardrip. We got ourselves a gorgeous sunset last night before the dense fog formed.


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