Good morning…Happy New Year and all of us in the FOX 4 Weather department hope you have a wonderful 2015! The weather has gone according to forecast for the past week or so…and I feel that things are slowly coming into more clarity concerning the weekend. There are still issues to be resolved including how much mixed precipitation we get with temperatures near 32° then of course comes the snow aspect of things and how much we get with that. Again it should not be a huge snowstorm for the KC area around the I-35 corridor. Data today seems to point more towards NW MO and NE KS as being more in the target for something a bit more significant.
The other issue that I continue to pound away about is the next blast of arctic air coming into the area later Saturday night. My feelings are that many are underestimating this shot. I sent out a tweet yesterday thinking that highs on Sunday would struggle to get to 15° and that’s still reasonable to me. We’ll probably have a midnight high in the 20s…then when you wake up Sunday morning we should be near 5-10° with wind chills well below 0°.
Then on Sunday temperatures will struggle all day in the teens. Winds will be dropping off as the day wears on so the wind chills will become less extreme by Sunday afternoon/evening
The specter of sub-zero lows are certainly there on Monday morning. A lot of this will be determined by the extent of snowcover…but I feel, and nobody else will forecast this…that parts of the region may see temperatures as cold as 10-15° below 0 Monday morning. Odds at this point favor this to be more towards N MO and NE KS as opposed to the KC area. We should be alert though to lows near 5° below in the KC area with sufficient snow. This is ALL dependent on the amount of snow that may or may not fall in the region.
Should there be no snow in the KC area on the ground Monday morning…we’re looking at lows of 0-5° above I think. IF there is no snow on the ground in N MO and NE KS Monday morning…lows should be close to 0° with some below 0°. The arctic air will be slowly retreating Monday and SW winds will start kicking in allowing some moderation of the airmass.
So with all that said let’s start backtracking and trying to figure out Saturday.
The storm in question has certainly some some strange (for them at least) things in the SW part of the country. Did you know Phoenix, AZ saw snow last night in the downtown area? It snowed in Las Vegas, NV and there was a brief period of heavy snow in Tuscon, AZ. So we know this upper level storm is a cold one. This morning the spinning motion of the storm is very prevalent in the SW part of the country.
Ahead of the storm a broad swath of mainly upper level moisture has streamed into the KC area…hence the filtered sunshine today. Farther south where the moisture is thicker and lower there has been a rash of reports of freezing rain and drizzle with fog in the southern Plains through a good part of central TX where car accidents are a dime a dozen right now. Oklahoma City is having themselves quite the early winter as this morning slick roads due to icing created all sorts of problems.
As the storm get’s kicked out of the SW part of the country tomorrow night (near El Paso) into Saturday at lunch (west of Wichita, KS) it will move towards the KC area. This will allow somewhat milder air aloft to stream into the area while surface temperatures hover near 32° initially in the AM hours Saturday. Eventually enough “milder” air will stream in to push surface temperatures into the 35° range as the day moves along.
The issue then becomes as the precipitation develops on Saturday what form does it take on? Right now it appears to may take on varied forms with more of an emphasis in the KC area for rain/sleet and possibly some freezing rain as opposed to snow. Temperatures aloft, at least through most (note qualifier) of the day on Saturday do not appear at this point to support all snow in KC.
Then there appears the potential of the area getting dry slotted for a good part of the day…,meaning we may just have some light liquid drizzle (on the assumption temperatures are in the 33-36° range).
What happens from there though (later Saturday into Saturday evening) will be the 2nd part of the storm for us…and this time the atmosphere will be getting colder as the cold core of the storm is moving through the region wiping away whatever layers of the atmosphere are too warm to support snow initially. This means then the predominant precipitation type will be snow.
Now with that said…how much snow will fall…and this will be determined by the exact track of the storm. I continue to feel that odds are we’re looking at the potential of at least a couple of inches of snow in the KC area…with perhaps a 2-5″ swath across NW MO and NE KS. Should the storm eject a bit farther south (which will be determined more later Friday) we could see somewhat higher snow totals in the KC area…should the storm eject a little farther north…then the amounts will be minor.
There is very little wiggle room it appears for the snow amounts should the storm come in farther north. The snow totals will be limited to begin with, the comma-head of the storm will not be the widest…so any north movement will really knock down or eliminate accumulating snow in the KC area, especially from KC southwards. Let this be a point of emphasis!
There has been a trend today for the model data to become more bullish with the amounts of precipitation the storm will produce. The latest NAM model has about 6/10″ of moisture and the overnight GFS model was closer to 7/10″. Remember how far we’ve come from just a few days ago when the EURO and NAM model had nothing in KC at all for the weekend.
Taken at face value the NAM model cranks out about 1″ of snow SAT AM then about 3″ of additional snow for KCI area during the afternoon/evening. That 1″ accumulation in the AM is suspect in my opinion.
As far as the timing of the snow switchover and accumulation period…I think we’re looking at between 3PM-10PM. There may be about a 2-3 hour period where if we’re targeted and the storm takes a favorable track that we get some decent snow to fall in the area…especially later in the afternoon/early evening.
As far as the roads go…we’ll need to be alert for slick conditions to develop early in the AM on Saturday (overnight Friday) then we may see recovery as temperatures are near or above 32° after 9AM or so potentially into the mid 30s …then see a downhill trend again as the snow moves through later in the afternoon/evening. Again this is all speculation and dependent on the road treatments and surface temperatures.
So for now let’s run with these thoughts on a situation that will surely change over the next 24-36 hours as we get closer to the event itself.
Have a great rest of the day and I promise to talk softly at 5/6 tonight as many are recovering after a long Wednesday night! :)