Happy New Year! The new year is starting out on a very wintry note in the region…plunging temperatures…dropping wind chills…increasing winds…and so far a mixed bag of frozen precipitation in the area. A lot of sleet…maybe some snow…and the expected mess on the roads as we kick of 2022.

This “storm” won’t be the biggest snow maker in the end…but an increasing area of snow and sleet is moving into the area as I type this out…and this will kickstart the snow season in the area. Amounts so far of the snow and mostly sleet have been under an inch through 10AM. We may double that or in some areas triple that over the next 6 hours or so. (update…not happening…dry slot racing in…)

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Forecast:

Saturday: A mixed bag of sleet and then snow. Nasty cold and blustery with temperatures dropping into the single digits by later today. Snow amounts will likely end up before evening in the coating to 2″ range from south to north. Sub-zero wind chills.

Tonight: Light snow winds down before 12AM…then cloudy with clearing before daybreak. Lows near 0° or so…which may not happen till after daybreak

Tomorrow: Sunny and cold with highs approaching 25°

Monday: Seasonable with highs in the mid to upper 30s as the snow melts away

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Discussion:

Haven’t liked this storm from the get go…and that hasn’t changed. It’s a mess of a storm…in various pieces that is combining with cold air…very cold air. There is a “warm” layer of air aloft making what’s falling a mess to figure out at times…and the end result is an general mess on the roads.

It’s funny though…all the expected impacts are happening as we thought they would all week long…almost to the hour really. Mixed precipitation developed overnight…in patches…covered the cold road surfaces…and well…

So the expected impacts have been well forecasted.

I’m my own worst critic when it comes to snowfall prediction. I want to be so precise and so specific on the maps that I show and send out on social media. I sort of have my own ways of doing things…sometimes they work very well…and sometimes they don’t…the life of a meteorologist.

So far we’ve had a dusting to 1″ or so around the Metro. This was expected…and the main accumulating part of the snow, especially for areas north and west of I-70 and 435/35 is moving in as I type this out.

That band, as I type (near 10AM) may add 1″ or so to totals especially in the favored areas west of I-35 and north of I-70…again as we’ve been saying a lot of this week. Behind that wave is a dryer slot of air that will be shutting things mostly down for a lot of the afternoon I think. Then we’ll wait to see if we can add another 1″ or so tonight with the final part of the system that comes into the area

If the roads aren’t good now…they’re going to be getting worse over the next 2-4 hours.

The cold is coming in as well…in force.

The latest map…showing temperatures in red…shows this well.

That’s some nasty cold air moving down the MO River Valley. Up north where the air is colder and deeper (that’s the key) through the atmosphere more/all snow is falling up towards Maryville, MO

via NW MO State

For the south and southeast part of the Metro…there is still a warm layer (above 32°) in the atmosphere that will keep the sleet going for a couple of more hours as I type this (10AM). By the time that main wave of precip moves away…the atmosphere will be ready to fully support snow…so the timing isn’t the greatest for big accumulations in the Lees Summit area and southwards.

Farther south it’s a lot of ice this morning and slick roads.

In the end…this will turn into a 1-2″ system for most of the Metro. Closer to 1″ or so far south side…if that…and perhaps 2+” up towards northern Platte County and northern Clay Co. Higher amounts are farther north of KC. My initial thoughts almost for the whole week were accurate. I got a bit concerned about the wave coming in this morning…and I bumped up the values on the north side of the Metro another 1″ or so…that will likely not work out.

It’s crazy when you think about how we’re getting ice pellets when temperatures are down to about 10-15° at the surface. It’s that pesky “warm” nose of air above us that is the cause of this headache. It happens here on occasion. Flakes melt in that layer they turn into little ice pellets as they come down into the arctic air at the surface. The depth of the arctic air at the surface…determines if we get sleet or freezing rain…we’ve seen both overnight and this morning so far.

All the models were crappy I think at various times. The GFS was likely the worst…the EURO had it’s moments too though…especially closer to the arrival. The NAM was messy as well a couple of days ago. There were nuggets of good precipitation total forecasts though…and most of the models showed that things were going to be different from an accumulation standpoint north of I-70 and west of I-35…and that seems still plausable.

There is another potential snow maker later Wednesday into Thursday with another dump of colder air into the Plains. We need to watch the morning lows on Thursday IF we have some new snow on the ground.

I’m worn out…and I’ll be taking a blog break tomorrow for sure. I want to do some recapping of stats for 2021 too on Monday or Tuesday.

Stay warm…be careful if out and about…and Happy New Year.

Matthew Smith from down south with this cold image to start the New Year!

Joe