Update – 11am Sunday
A bit interesting this morning seeing others scramble to catch up to what’s been going on over the last 24 hours. To be fair, this little system has been quite troublesome and at the end of the day, we’re trying to figure out something that isn’t even there yet (if that makes sense). To put it another way: it’s like trying to say what your 6-year-old child’s GPA will be after sophomore year of high school.
In any event, let’s scope out the latest info from the guidance. Up first, the 12z offering from the GFS
Now the latest look from the 12z NAM. And despite some previous comments, this is not suggesting huge amounts of snow for KC.
Here’s a closer look, via the 12z 4km high-resolution NAM
The RPM 12z run is doing something a little interesting…This is the raw output, not cleaned up for TV use.
And we’re able to get a peek at the short-range, hourly models like the RAP now. This is the 15z offering, which only goes through 9z (3am) Monday.
It would seem the RPM and the RAP are actually backing off higher amounts just a bit. When I say “higher” I’m talking the difference of 3″ of snow in KC vs 1.5-2″ of snow in KC.
Let’s not forget the handy meteogram way of looking at the snowfall…
This plot would be valid for KCI and uses a 13:1 snowfall ratio. Simply playing the average off of everything, it would suggest between 2.5 and 3.5″ of snowfall. Dry air is still a factor in this too, so we have to allow for that a little bit.
MY OWN PERSONAL OPINIONS….
I’m posting these model images so you can see the agreement and finer details of the guidance. Typically within 12-18 hours of an event, you’d hope to see some good consistency. The fact that we have some various differences continues to make the overall forecast a challenge. Personally, I do not fancy myself a “model chaser” that waits for every new run and then quickly updates my forecast. Patience, consistency, and responsible thought are all good ideas to keep in mind. As you’ve seen in the last two days, model chasing can lead to some confusing forecasts. My overall thoughts have not wavered too much from when I put out my first snowfall map Friday morning.
Of course, there are times where you simply have to “give up the ghost” and overhaul the entire forecast. I don’t believe I am at that point.
At this stage, I am thinking that I may be upping my previous forecast numbers by about an inch all around. I will make that final decision later on this afternoon once I dig deeper through the guidance of the upper atmosphere and check out the most recent observations at the surface and aloft.
I have always taken pride in my snow forecasting abilities. Keep in mind, I did this job for several years in North Dakota & learned a few tricks (the hard way). While I am not perfect (nobody ever will be), I had a good track record while in ND and in Wichita. This season in KC has been a bit of a challenge due to us not getting an actual system that we can track. Instead, we’re getting these little waves that develop right over top of us. Makes a guy like me grumble a bit! And, as I have read, it makes a few of you grumble too when the snow doesn’t fall.
For now, I still think we should all plan on seeing a little snow starting this afternoon with the bulk of it arriving later tonight into the wee hours of Monday morning.
I will likely start a new running blog post this evening, once the 5pm newscast is finished. Keep checking back and be sure to follow me on Twitter for my instant analysis and free-flowing thoughts!
Update – 11:55pm Saturday
I just looked at the 00z Euro model and while I am not allow to post the output, I can tell you it’s in line with the other 00z guidance. At the same time, the 03z version of the RPM just finished. Here is what it is saying now (this is the raw output):
Oddly enough, this is very, very similar to what the Euro was suggesting. However, the Euro amounts were about half of the RPM’s.
So it is possible we may need to bring the snow more to the North in the forecast map. No matter what, Southern & Southeastern Missouri will still be the areas that see the highest snowfall amounts.
Jeff will be in the office later tonight and on air tomorrow morning with the latest. Keep checking the forecast on our website as well on air as we track this next round of winter weather.
Update – 10:10pm Saturday
Based on recent data and overall “feeling”, I haven’t altered the forecast too much. But we’ll need to stay on our toes in the event the wiggle digs through the area just a tab bit harder. That’s all it will take to tack on an extra inch to snowfall amounts.
For those playing along, here is the latest 00z GFS snow output:
Maybe I am in denial or just chicken, but there is now a consensus for 2-4″ around KC Metro based on all the 00z data (save the Euro). Problem is: I still don’t trust it all the way. Therefore, I’ll stick with what I’m showing in the snowfall forecast. For now. Stay with us for updates.
Update – 8:45pm Saturday
Well, isn’t this something to laugh at. I guess you could say I was half right. New 00z data is rolling in (or trolling in) and check this out. The NAM says we’re back to getting nothing, a la Willy Wonka:
But wait… that’s just through 6pm. Look what happens *after* 6pm, through 6am Monday…
Ahhhh. So, could it be that this thing is just pumping the brakes a little and arriving a little later? If so, that means we may have some trouble Monday morning on the roads.
This would suggest around 2″ of snow for Kansas City, with amounts under 1″ in the gray areas.
Meanwhile, over at the funny farm, the RPM has decided to go “Oprah” on us and just handing out snowfall like it’s going out of style.
Okay, perhaps I am exaggerating a little bit. The RPM does seem to have some agreement with the NAM though, if you look closely enough. And it too says the snow arrives a bit later.
One thing I also noticed is that on the simulated radar product of the NAM, it claims we have rain falling at Noon. I don’t really see how that happens with temps in the low 20s. Unless it’s trying to suggest a little mist/drizzle.
The RPM says it’s snow all day long. Thus, the higher totals. Wow. As you can see, not an easy forecast at all.
At this point, I’ll be curious to see what side of the fence the GFS falls on. And then, around midnight, I’ll be able to look at the detailed Euro output and see what it decides to do. Perhaps all the guidance will finally start to line up. Stay with this post (bookmark it if you must) as I will continue to update this one tonight and into Sunday.
In the meantime, I may do some fine-tuning to the going snow forecast. I’ll post that map here later on, but I may be working on it right up through newscast time.
Original post – 6pm Saturday
It may be tough to find a meteorologist in our area right now that hasn’t thought about screaming out loud in the last 36 hours. The snow forecast for Sunday continues to be a challenge and in some internet geek-speak, it’s like we’re being trolled by the atmosphere.
Before we dive into the snow, let’s not lose sight of the cold air rushing into the area right now. Check out this temperature spread across the region tonight:
It will be cold tonight, with temps in the single digits. Throw in a little East breeze at 10-20 miles per hour, and we’ll have wind chills which slip below zero. If you’re heading out, grab the coat/hat/gloves. Highs on Sunday will only be in the upper teens to low 20s at best.
All right then, now onto this snow business–because there’s no business like snow business, I know.
Let me set the stage a little bit: what we are dealing with is simply just a little wave in the atmosphere. A “wiggle” in the flow. This is not a full-fledged storm system. What the East coast has been dealing with, those are actual systems… storms with a defined core of low pressure and (for the most part) pretty easy to find/track/plan for.
In our case, these little wiggles in the atmosphere are harder to pin down and can often lead to some headache. Not to mention, it causes the models do flip-flop. Perhaps you’ve seen this recently!
Okay, so, where do we stand as of tonight? Almost back to where we were early Friday afternoon. Let’s take a look at the most recent snowfall output from the various model guidance, since that’s what many like to see.
Here is the 12z GFS. Little if anything for KC:
This is the 18z NAM. There is hope, Obi-Wan:
The 18z RPM is going big or going home… or going from nothing to something.
And this is the UKMet model, which is worth keeping tabs on. Interesting little stripe it has along I-70.
I can tell you that the Euro model is a blend of the RPM and the NAM, still suggesting the higher snowfall amounts to be in Southern Missouri. For Kansas City, it is suggesting we see around two to three inches of snowfall. Amounts in Southern MO would be over six inches.
To be honest, I would not be surprised if some of the 00z guidance was to do another flip-flop and go back to saying little to no snow for tomorrow. Trolling!
Based on what I’ve seen today, this is my going snowfall forecast for Sunday.
Just because I have the 2nd shade of blue over KC and it’s the 1-2″ range, does not mean we are promised 2″ of snow. It’s a range. And, the we’ll likely be closer to the 2″ mark the farther South you go in KC.
Like always, this is still subject to change a little bit as new information arrives. Confidence in this overall forecast is growing, but there are still some uncertainties to worry about. Again, this is not a classic “storm system” that would give us a better idea of what it’s going to do. It’s almost like trying to guess which way a rabbit will turn while chasing it.
Personally, I believe that our odds of seeing a dusting to a half inch of snow in Metro KC are pretty good. Now, I want to believe we have good odds of even seeing an inch to an inch and a half. I also have a gut feeling of someone near Metro picking up around two to two and a half.
My only hesitations with putting that into the “official forecast” are this:
-We’ve been robbed before this year, many times
-There’s not a lot of overall moisture for this whole thing to play with
-Little consistency in the model guidance
Perhaps this will better convey my thoughts on the snow, simply in terms of the greater Kansas City area:
Like I wrote in the blog the other day, with our temperatures will be in the upper teens to low 20s Sunday. This could be ideal to generate higher snowfall ratios. That could lead to slightly higher amounts even though the overall moisture is lacking. But cold air is also dry air and if we cannot keep the lower levels of the atmosphere saturated, then we won’t get any snow to the ground. It truly takes a special alignment of variables to produce snowfall here.
We will continue to watch all of this and give updates as it all unfolds. Be sure to check back in on air and online. For right now, you’ll have to excuse me while I go outside and scream…
This is a great little “reminder” via meteorologist Rick Smith. Mr. Smith is the Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) in Norman, Oklahoma. Some excellent points made here. Click to enlarge the picture.
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