A Recap Of The Three Recent Storms & A Look Ahead

Good morning bloggers,

Who is worn out?  I know I am, and I am still energized by this incredible weather pattern that we have been experiencing.  There is so much to discuss today and I am trying to figure out where to begin.  Well, let’s begin with the snowfall total on the Plaza for our contest.

IMG_7292This was our third storm system in the past five days.  The first storm came through Friday and caused the conditions for the horrific multi-vehicle accidents on I-70, including the 47-car pile up near Oak Grove, MO.  This first storm produced 4.2″ in front of our studios on the Plaza.   And, then we had the second system come through on Saturday evening with the graupel, snow, and freezing drizzle.  The graupel was fascinating in its own right as it was being described as dippin’ dots.  I ended up getting a great video of Sunny while it was falling. That system did produce 1/2″ to 1″ of snow up north. On the Plaza it produced 0.1″.   Then, we had last last nights third storm in five days.  I measured in five spots that were cleared and had new snow, and the total is 2.9″ as of 6 AM this morning.  For our contest, this will end up being a total of 7.20″.   I will post all of the entries below.

I think we set the record on the number of comments yesterday in one blog.  Thank you for sharing and participating.  Many of you got the usual “modelitis sickness” and emotions were up and down based on every hour of model runs.  The most important thing to do on days like this is to monitor radar, satellite, and surface observations.  Remember rule #1 of forecasting:  Always look outside because you never know!  So, if you are immersed into the computer models, then you may forget rule #1.  It was quite difficult, as right before I left for work, the European Model had an epic failure on its snow modeling. It had zero accumulation south and east of around downtown KC, and it would have been easy to panic at that point. Then a few HRRR model runs came in with similar solutions early in the afternoon, and it was about that time I found one of the disturbances over Oklahoma that was strong enough to convince me those models were just “bad” data.  And, I updated you in the blog to try and help with your emotions.  That disturbance did track northeast into Missouri, and it put KC into the favorable spot, and yes, it was the disturbance we discussed in the days leading up this storm. The LRC helped with a specific forecast.

I-70 was shut down once again and closed east of KC in the 6 AM hour once again today, but it quickly opened up again with no reports of any major crashes.

A Look Into This Weather Pattern:

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This map above is what I showed last night on the 10 PM newscast.  It was a modeling of one possible solution for the Saturday storm system.  If you have been following the LRC closely, then you know this is the “St. Louis storm” part of the cycling pattern in this third LRC cycle.  In mid-November there was a 9-inch snowstorm that hit St. Louis. KC had snow from this system as well, and this part of the pattern did produce another system in cycle 2 in early January.  Both systems tracked south, so a south trend on the models makes sense by just knowing how to use the LRC.  The models have had this south trend, and if they track this system just a bit farther south, it would potentially be a blizzard in the KC viewing area.

2As I just discussed, the trend has been for this system to track farther south.  This map on the left shows the 500 mb flow valid at noon central time Saturday.  Look at the little circle near Wichita, KS. This is the type of storm that the blizzard conditions would develop just north and west of this upper level low. So, if it tracks south of your location, then you would go into that snowstorm and blizzard threat.  Ahead of the upper low and to the south and east there will be a chance of thunderstorms.  This is a fast moving system that is being ejected out by another system moving into the western United States, near Seattle, WA.

The trend has been south, and we will just have to see how this third LRC cycle sets up. Remember, “it’s the same, but different”, as Gary England said to me ten years ago, a meteorologist in Oklahoma (was in the movie Twister as the featured weatherman warning the public).  He said this to me when he actually had a glimpse of the LRC.  He saw the complex puzzle that we share with you here, and he only saw it once, in that 2009-2010 winter when I was trying to explain to him why Oklahoma City would get hit by a major snowstorm. I discussed this with him around a week before it produced as it fit the pattern. Then, he has told me, he has never seen it again. This is how complex the LRC truly is.  I am on a tangent now, omg.  Anyway, this storm fits too, and it is “the same, but different”. So, we must see how this third cycle sets up this weekend.  The fourth cycle of the LRC will begin in around a week to ten days.

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This next map shows the Saturday storm system. This is the NAM model that has its own solution. I don’t want to over analyze this system yet, as we just need to see how the models trend today.  For now, this storm is pulling away, and we get somewhat of a two day breather before Saturday’s storm approaches.

The Weather Blog Snow Forecasting Game Results:

  • Storm #1:  4.2″
  • Storm #2:  0.1″
  • Storm #3:  2.9″
  • Total:  7.2″

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Thank you so much for entering.  If you take Jeff Penner and myself out of the contest, then we have a blogger winner.  The winner gets the honor of being the “Best Weather Forecaster Of The Week” award.  The winner is Malarcky!  Malarcky, you are “THE BEST WEATHER FORECASTER OF THE WEEK”.  Congratulations! We should play another game. What would you all suggest?  The 7.20″ of snow that fell in the five days is about as much as what fell all of last winter, and more than the previous two winters before that. Wow!

Sunny The Weather Dog shows us the snow on top of snow with a snow depth of nearly 6″ here in KC:

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Thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading the Action Weather Blog featuring Weather2020 and the LRC. Here is the link to the Weather2020 blog so you can join in the conversation, or read the comments from our weather friends as we discuss this fascinating weather pattern:  Weather2020 Blog

Have a great day. We will go in-depth on 41 Action News tonight as this next storm comes into focus.

Gary

The Anticipation Builds For The Snow To Begin Later Today

2:15 PM Update:

The NAM model now is showing the disturbance that the European Model did not pick up on. It is still, as always, a waiting game now as anticipation builds. There are questions that will be answered soon.  You can see the disturbance here:

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Previous entry below:

 

Good morning bloggers,

Today will be a rather fascinating weather day in and around Kansas City.   We will get to watch the the sky go from sunshine this morning, to increasing clouds, to a lowering ceiling as snow begins to fall to the ground by later this afternoon. I will be sure to set up a few time-lapses.  We currently have around 2.5″ of snow on the ground and we have 2″ to 5″ in our forecast:

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Sunny shows us the snow depth, the snow forecast, and the final forecast result.  I am expecting around 4″ in Kansas City, so the snow depth will be around 6.5″. We are going to be monitoring closely for that southern wave of energy that may enhance snowfall totals, as discussed in yesterday’s blog and on last nights Facebook Live I did.  It has shown up on some of the models. If there is that southern wave, then around 9 or 10 PM tonight there would be a little comma head moving almost due north up the state line and that would increase totals by around 1 or 2 inches. I just did a thorough analysis, and I do not see that advance disturbance at the moment. It is something we may not see until this evening. So, until I see any evidence, I am in that 2-5 inch range for snowfall amounts in KC, with the chance of 2″ at 100% and the chance of 5″ at 30%.

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These are the maps I showed on my 10 PM newscast last night.  Here is today’s weather timeline in KC:

  • Today:  Some sunshine early today, then increasing clouds. It will become cloudy with snow spreading in from the south, or possibly a lead band forming overhead later this afternoon.  High:  30°
  • Tonight:  A 100% chance of snow, possibly mixing with sleet or freezing rain just southeast of Kansas City.  The snow may become heavy at times with 2″ to 5″ on top of the snow we already have by 6 AM.  Low:  28°
  • Wednesday:  Lingering morning snow showers, possibly changing to freezing drizzle with a light glazing or dusting on top of the snow.  High:  34°

Thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading the Action Weather Blog featuring Weather2020 and the LRC. Go over to the Weather2020 blog for more information and to join in the conversation or at least read the comments from the bloggers.  Have a great day.  The evening rush hour may become quite challenging for travel.

Gary

Another Winter Storm Is Approaching

Good morning bloggers,

Is this wearing you out at all?  The storm systems just keep coming, and there never seems to be a break.  For many of us, this is something we need to enjoy and take in one minute at a time, so stop and take a deep breath today and let’s try to enjoy this next storm as it moves in. Now, there are many people out there likely on the other side of the spectrum of getting enjoyment out of this storm.  One of my new neighbors slipped and hurt his leg pretty bad a couple of weeks ago, so I know he is ready for spring. And, anyone who had a stalled car or who has been impacted in any car crashes, well, I am sure they are not enjoying this winter ride.  There was a 47 car pile up on I-70 west bound near Oak Grove Friday with one fatality.  So, quite obviously there is an ugly and horrific side to all of these weather events.  We will keep that in perspective, and at the same time the only thing we can do ourselves is be extra cautious and provide a lot of extra time to get around.  Travel problems will likely be developing once again on Tuesday night.

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Sunny The Weather Dog shows us the snow left on Sunday on the Plaza. I was down south, near my old neighborhood in southern Overland Park last night, and there was half as much snow down there.  The weather forecast game continues, and I have posted the entries at the end of this blog.  Kansas City  had 3.8″ at KCI from storm #1 and 0.5″ from storm #2, for a total of 4.3″ at KCI Airport.  The official recording location, however, is in front of our 41Action News studios at 47th and Oak Street. We had 4.2″ from Friday’s storm, and then 0.1″ from yesterday’s graupel shower and little snow and freezing drizzle mixture.  So, the official total is also 4.3″.

The Set Up:

1A rather unique weather pattern is setting up for this storm system as we can see on the left. There is a strong 1040 mb (30.71″) surface high forecast to be located over northern Iowa by 6 AM Tuesday.  This high is dominating the nation today and tonight a drier & cold air expands out over most of the nation.  At the same time, there is a surface low beginning to form by early Tuesday morning over the Gulf of Mexico just off the Texas coast.  The interaction of the high pressure area and the low pressure area is causing a broad southeasterly flow of warm and moist low level moisture as a big source of energy for this storm system.  In the upper levels of the atmosphere, a series of waves are will begin affecting the precipitation pattern, and this is a rather complex set up.

  • Look closely at the 540 thickness line, the blue dashed line just above the last red dashed line. This is quite often the rain/snow changeover line.
  • The surface low needs to be monitored closely as it will track north in this set up
  • The main upper level energy will track just west of Kansas City over central KS into northeast KS Tuesday night.  In most of our snow set ups over the years, this would be a bad track for KC as it would draw in the warmer air and dry slot.  It is something to look for.
  • There is an important wave that will likely emerge and organize and come out of the farther south regions over Baja California and track towards southwestern Missouri or southeastern KS Tuesday night.  This part of the pattern produced such a wave that created a comma head of precipitation producing a band of heavy snow with large snowflakes in the last LRC Cycle. This wave has shown up on some of the models

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That wave of energy I am pointing to on this map comes from southern Baja California, and races northeast. This may have its own comma head associated with it, and if it does, it could produce 2″ to 3″ per hour snowfall rates in a fast moving lead band. One hour of that would produce a majority of the snow in some areas.  So, as you can see this is quite complex, and it is just a day away and we have a lot of questions.

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This FV3 GFS model is trying to track that surface low along that inverted trough and this would draw warmer air northward. The 540 thickness line would be approaching Kansas City from the south at midnight tomorrow, and this model even shows a changeover from snow to sleet and a mixture approaching the city.  This would happen, though, after the lead snow bands move by, and this is why confidence is high on at least 2 to 3 inches falling before the changeover may occur.

We often tend to ignore how close the rain/snow changeover line is to your location.  And, it presents another trick to this snow forecast.  The heaviest snow is often just north of this changeover line. It is forecast, on this model, to end up near the Iowa border by 6 AM Wednesday with a surge to above freezing at the surface and a change to rain.  Now, this is the most aggressive of this possibility, and I just wanted to present it for something for us to monitor.

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Here are some of the models snow outputs as of 5:30 AM this morning:

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The European Model had the warmest solution and least snowiest solution, the map immediately above. All of the models have 2-3 inches at least in KC, and confidence is high in this range. This storm has some tricks up its sleeve, so let’s keep monitoring it.

Snow Accumulation Probabilities:

  • No Snow:  0%
  • 1″ of snow:  100%
  • 2″ of snow:  100%
  • 3″ of snow:  70%
  • 4″ of snow:  50%
  • 5″ of snow:  30%
  • 6″ of snow:  20%
  • More than 6″ of snow:  10%

Kansas City Weather Timeline:

  • Today:  Mostly cloudy with a little sun possible. North winds 5-10 mph.  High:  25°
  • Tonight:  Mostly cloudy:  Low:  19°
  • Tuesday:  Dry most of the day with a 100% chance of snow moving in from the south later in the afternoon or evening.   The evening rush hour may be a complete mess if it comes in just a bit early.  High:  30°
  • Tuesday Night:  A 100% chance of snow, possibly heavy at times.  Accumulations of 2″ to 6″ possible. It will become a heavier and wet snow with temperatures just below 32°
  • Wednesday:  Snow ending, possible mixing with or changing to rain before ending.  High:  34°

Here are all of the entries for our Weather2020 Snow Prediction Game.  The winner gets the honor of being the Weather2020 Best Weather Forecaster Of Week!

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It is interesting as the  average snowfall prediction is 6.86″.

Thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading the Action Weather Blog featuring Weather2020 and the LRC.   Weather2020 blog Click here to join in the conversation and see what everyone is thinking about this approaching storm. The discussions have been better than ever!  Have a great day.

GAry

Two Down, One to Go

Good Sunday bloggers,

The second system is over after producing around 1/2″ of snow north of I-70 and a dusting of snow with freezing drizzle south of the river. There was some freezing drizzle north of the river as well. Also, the event started in all areas with a band of sleet/graupel and snow showers. KCI received 0.5″ of snow, and this is the official total for Kansas City.

So, now we are up to 23.1″ of snow for the season which is about 4.5″ of snow above the last three years combined and the seasonal average. We are going to be adding to these totals Tuesday and Wednesday.

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Here is the timeline for the third event. We will have to watch for the potential of a mix southeast of Kansas City, let’s go day by day below.

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SUNDAY: Snow will be occurring along I-80 with flurries and snow showers possible in Missouri, near the Iowa border.  We will be near the clearing line, so some sun is likely. Highs will be in the mid to upper 20s.

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MONDAY: It will be mostly cloudy with highs in the 20s. A weak disturbance may bring a flurry during the afternoon. Lows will be in the teens to around 20, colder if we have some breaks in the clouds Monday morning.

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TUESDAY MORNING: It will be mostly cloudy and dry with lows around 20. A large shield of precipitation will be organizing from the Rockies to the southeast USA.

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TUESDAY AFTERNOON AND NIGHT: Here we go! The snow arrives, most likely, after 3-4 PM so the kids should have school Tuesday. If the snow speeds up, then schools may close or have early dismissal. This storm will have temperatures 10-15 degrees warmer than the one from Friday. So, a rain-mix-snow line will be in Missouri. The heaviest snow usually occurs near the rain-snow line.  The data overnight is putting our region in that part of the storm. We will have to watch the rain-snow line closely as it could drift to I-70 for the second part of the storm. Right now, we are thinking all snow. Wednesday will be the day of school closings as the snow will not end until 6-9 AM Wednesday. Now, it may end with some freezing drizzle.

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SNOWFALL FORECAST: Our latest thinking with this storm is for 2″-4″ on the low end to 4″-6″ on the high end. The storm is moving fast, so this will keep snow totals from getting out of control. Also, we will have to keep an eye on the rain-mix-snow line.

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There is the chance of a 4th storm next weekend, but that one may stay south.

Have a great week, stay safe and warm.

Jeff Penner

One Down, Two to Go

Good Saturday bloggers,

We are in an incredibly active weather pattern. The next storm system, the second in the recent series, arrives later today. The third system arrives later Tuesday. This may be the biggest of the three. Mother Nature can be all things, and this morning she was beautiful as the sun rose through breaks in the overcast to the east.

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Here is the timeline for winter event #2. The snow and some freezing drizzle will rapidly increase between 3 PM and 7 PM. And, just like yesterday, it won’t be but just a few minutes after the onset of the precipitation for the roads to get slick.

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SATURDAY 3 PM: Here is the powercast for 3 PM today. You can see there is nothing on it as precipitation is on the verge of starting. Temperatures will be in the 20s.

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SATURDAY 3 PM-9 PM: In just a matter of hours we go from no precipitation to snow across the entire viewing area. There will be some freezing drizzle around as well. Again, roads will get slick quick just like yesterday. So, use caution if you are out and about this evening and night. If you are out and see some drizzle/snowflakes starting to fall, just know that within 5 to 30 minutes the roads will get slick.

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SUNDAY-MONDAY: The snow from tonight will end quickly from southwest to northeast Sunday morning after 1/2″ to 2″ of snow accumulates. The rest of Sunday and Monday will be mostly cloudy with temperatures in the 20s. Lows Monday will drop to the teens. A weak system may streak across Kansas Monday afternoon, bringing a dusting of snow. A dusting of snow can make things slick as well.

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TUESDAY-WEDNESDAY: Winter event #3 arrives later Tuesday and will exit Wednesday. This has a decent chance to be the biggest of the three systems with 3″-6″ of snow possible.

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SNOWFALL FORECAST FOR EVENT #2: This is the snowfall forecast for later today through noon Sunday. Amounts will range from around 1/2″ south to 1″-3″ north. The KC area will see 1/2″ to 1 1/2″ of snow.  There will be some freezing drizzle as well.

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SNOWFALL FORECAST EVENT #2 PLUS EVENT #3: Amounts will range from 4″ to 8″ which will bring some locations up to 12″ for a three storm total. The storm for Tuesday and Wednesday has 3″ to 6″ potential. Remember, there is no melting, so we are only adding and not subtracting.

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KCI received 3.8″ of snow officially, bringing the seasons total to 22.6″ which is around 4″ above average and 4″ above the last three winters combined.

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Here are the entries for the Weather2020 Snow Forecasting Game In Progress:

  • Storm #1:  4.2″

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Stay safe and warm and have a great weekend.

Jeff Penner