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Another Arctic Blast & In Search Of Warmth

Good evening bloggers,

Where is the snow? Right now we are still sitting at just 4 inches of snow for the season.  Kansas City continues to fall farther below average on snowfall. I do think the best chances will arrive when this part of the pattern cycles back through in February. For now, it continues to be a struggle. And, it was 3 below this morning. One year ago today it was 5 below.  Here is the snowfall comparison from last year to this year by January 8th:

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Another Arctic Blast is on the way south right now, and out ahead of it we have warmed up quite nicely today. After a low of -3° temperatures have warmed into the 30s near Kansas City.  And, look at what happened in Jacksonville, FL today:

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Yes, it was snowing in Florida and Floridians were in amazement as they looked out their windows and saw snowflakes today.  A rare weather moment, as this system came west off of the Atlantic Ocean and as the precipitation went over land it briefly changed over to snow as you can see in the blue above.

Back here in Kansas City, another Arctic front will arrive before midnight and temperatures will drop again:

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Just over two weeks ago we are the only ones who issued an Arctic Outbreak Watch, and we are completing that second week right now. Another long range forecast verified using the LRC, and if you are interested it was in our forecast for weeks before we issued this watch.  Here is the graphic we posted in the blog:

Arctic Outbreak Forecast

Earlier this week we made a 12 day forecast that predicted a major retreat of the Arctic air by Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend.  Here is an updated 12 day forecast that I am showing on the air tonight, and maybe we should call it an Arctic Air Retreat Watch?  The bottom line is we are moving out of the cold phase of this cycling weather pattern and moving back into the warm phase. This cold part of the LRC will be returning in February, and perhaps in this third LRC cycle there will be more blocking and possibly a winter storm or two.   There will likely be one last surge of Arctic air early next week before it finally retreats:

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Have a great evening. Let us know if you have any questions, and thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading the Action Weather Blog. I will be going in-depth into the LRC on the Weather2020.com site.  Today I showed clearly how this weekends pattern is directly related to the beginning of this year’s LRC. Pretty cool stuff.

 

Gary

Update on the cold air in place

No mistake about it, you know it’s a little cold out there today. Those wind chills are the worst part of it. Sustained winds around 15 to 25 miles per hour are going to keep wind chill values in the range of -10 to -20 through most of the afternoon. For those in our Northern counties, it’s going to be even colder.
By the hour today, here is what I am thinking for Kansas City.
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But those are just the air temperatures. Wind chills will continue to linger in the subzero range. Here’s a quick wind chill chart I put together.
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Find your temperature across the very top, then the wind speed on the side. Where those two meet, that’s the wind chill value. And, as you can tell from the color coding, there is a range where frostbite can occur on exposed skin in 30 minutes and in as little as 10 minutes.
Obviously, the best thing you can do is limit your time outside and if you do have to venture out, wear layers and cover exposed skin.
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It will be another toe-biting-cold morning for Thursday.
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The winds will be strong again, but there is some good news here. Those winds will be out of the South and by the afternoon, they’ll shift a bit more to the Southwest. This will help to push some “warmer” air into the area.
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Do not get used to it as we’ll have ANOTHER shot of cold air come in on Friday. Yep, it seems we’re in a similar boat as we were about this time last year. Recall we had temperatures near 10 below the first week of January. Obviously, the cold is nothing new, but looking back in the history books, the last several years have not been this cold in January. Either way, it’s Winter in the Central Plains and it gets cold here!

Could be worse too. These are the active alerts across the US this morning:
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The light blue colors indicate Wind Chill Advisories in place. The darker blue is a Wind Chill Warning. Notice the Advisory goes all the way down to Florida… we’re all in this together it seems!

On a side note, I saw this on my way to work today:
SNowMan
Maybe this guy knows something we don’t? But I think he should catch a ride to California; at least there are no wind chill advisories there!
(*Edit: seeing this on the way to work was a joke. Just trying to have fun. Sorry if I confused anyone…)

Try to stay warm and keep your skin covered over the next 18-24 hours. It will get warmer–much warmer even–as we go through the rest of this month.

Gary will have an updated look at the forecast later today starting at 4pm during The Now KC. I think you’ll like what he has to say!
-JD

The Arctic Blast Is Arriving

Good late evening, night, or early morning bloggers,

Here was ther radar as of 8:15 PM. Snow was moving into northwest Missouri and growing. There is a chance of a dusting to under one inch as this band moves across. It is just ahead of the Arctic blast which means the snow will have slightly more moisture content than it would have had if it were coming in behind the front where the dew points are lower. It is like a line of thunderstorms coming our way, but instead it is a band of snow showers:

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The Arctic blast will really get here early in the morning and temperatures will likely stay in the single digits all day long.  It may dip below zero in a few spots, but the winds will return to the south late tomorrow night and some clouds will move in. This will likely stop the temperature drop.

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We are in such as strange weather pattern. A big warming trend is likely by the end of next week. This Arctic air mass will begin moderating over the weekend, but we get one more surge on Friday before that moderation begins. And, we are still tracking a storm for early next week that has produced in the past in this pattern. Let’s see if it comes together.

Let us know if you see some snow.

Gary

An Arctic Blast & Some Light Snow

Good evening bloggers,

The strongest cold front of the season is approaching us this evening.  It is still a few hours away, and there is an area of light snow near the leading edge of this Arctic Blast.  The chance of snow increases and this band will pass through between 10 PM and 2 AM tonight.  I posted this graphic on the Weather2020 site comparing the November Cold Wave to our current Cold Wave. Since I posted this we have dropped our temperatures for Friday with that follow up Arctic front later this week.  A HUGE warm-up is likely within two to three weeks as the pattern cycles back into the warmer phase of this year’s pattern. I think we can all agree that there has been a cold phase and a warm phase to this year’s pattern, which means this cold part of the pattern will come back through in February:

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Here is a forecast I snapped from our Storm Shield Weather App. These numbers are computer generated, and we are forecasting it to be a few degrees colder than what this is showing.

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I will write up a new blog as the Arctic front approaches later this evening.

Thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading the Action Weather Blog.

Gary

The Strongest Front Of The Season Approaches

Good evening bloggers,

It has been a busy Monday back here in the 41 Action News Forecast Center. As JD discussed, our forecast was pretty good on snowfall this past weekend.  We ended up with a dusting to 3 inches as we were expecting. What is going on? We just can’t seem to get a storm to come together near Kansas City this winter. We just haven’t been in the right spot. There may be one or two times that it will come together, but the chances are definitely lower, and this is why we made a forecast of below average snowfall this season.  Now, we are just under 4 inches so far, but we need a lot more if I am going to get my 17 inch winter forecast to verify.  There is a chance of snow Tuesday night into early Wednesday morning as the Arctic front moves through.

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Kansas City may set it’s highest pressure record on Wednesday……. Our highest pressure reading in KC was on 1/5/1924 with a pressure reading of 31.11″.  We may break that record on Wednesday.  Here is an image from the Powercast I am showing on the air at 6 tonight, and I may updated it for the 10 PM newscast. The strongest Arctic front of the season will be approaching at midnight Wednesday with a band of snow moving across.  A dusting to an inch is likely, but the dusting is more likely than the inch.

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We will look closer into this system on Tuesday.  Have a great evening!

Gary

Snowfall results & another shot of cold coming

We’ll start tonight with a look back at the snowfall forecast and what actually happened.
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Here is a map showing how the actual snow amounts turned out.
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Overall, not too bad at all. And going back through previous blog posts, here was a graphic posted on Thursday with my initial gut feeling. You can re-read that entry here.

GrabOldBlog

And one other thing to share with you. Here is my raw forecast worksheet from last Sunday night. While at the time, the Euro model was painting the picture of an epic snow event, the GFSp (the soon-to-be upgraded GFS model) said it would only be a couple inches at best.
RawForecast
My chicken scratch says: “E-Hvy snow S I-70, 3-12!  Gp-Rw then lt snw 0-2″”. What that translates into is: The Euro model painted a band of heavy snow mainly South of I-70 and the amounts in the viewing area ranged from 3″ to 12″. The GFSp model said we’d see rain change to light snow and the snowfall across the viewing area would be 0-2″.

Of course, through the week, we saw the models bounce up and down. Remember too the RPM was consistent on saying we’d see very little. And Gary’s initial thought several days ago was “a dusting to three inches”. Feel free to go back through the blog posts and look at the model charts posted. Neat to see how it all came together and how our team made a very good forecast.

Okay, actual numbers now! Here are the reports, via the National Weather Service. Your backyard ruler may vary slightly.
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On average, many areas saw about a half inch to an inch. Yes, there were some that only picked up a dusting. There is still plenty of winter left to go and we’ll have more chances for snow, I’m sure of it!

Monday brings the return of work and school for many. I encourage you to use a bit of caution as you hit the streets. There will likely be some slick spots due to snow and slush that refreezes overnight.
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The biggest thing is: don’t follow another vehicle too closely; you need time to stop.

When it comes to temperatures this week, hopefully Santa Clause brought you warm clothes. I do not expect us to get above freezing again until Saturday at the earliest. Highs should be in the 20s for Monday & Tuesday, but the morning temperatures will be a bit rough.
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Wind chill readings will be around -10° to 0° tomorrow morning, so dress warmly.

There will be a weak, fast-moving system skirting through the region tomorrow. In geek-speak, it’s a Clipper system (not the basketball team). It will graze the area as it zings through, but it may produce a few flurries Monday into Tuesday.
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The main line of snow will stay in Iowa and Western Illinois. But it’s possible the whole thing sinks a bit more South and brushes the area.
I do not expect this to accumulate for us at all, but it’s not out of the question some areas see flurries.

Wednesday will bring us another strong area of high pressure. Translation: COLD. There will be some “weight” to this high, as this is expected to be a rather strong. Thus, it’s going to be cold for a good portion of the central U.S.
Wed GFS
Wind chill readings to our North could easily be -40°. That would be North as in Minnesota, no Kansas City North! For us, more on the order of -20° to -10°. See, it could always be worse. Right?

When it comes to the system for next weekend, I am not going to dwell on it too much at all right now. Models are trending warmer. The Euro says we’re in the upper 30s on Saturday, but it says we’re dry. The GFSp says we’re right at freezing and wants to dump a few inches of snow. As you know–and have seen this week–a lot can change over the course of several days! Like my mom used to say to me: We’ll get there when we get there.

Our entire weather team is back this week–Kalee enjoyed some vacation time–and is ready to help you prepare. Be sure to stick with us on air and online.

Hope you can stay warm this week!
-JD

Snow is Gone, Arctic Cold is Here

Good Sunday bloggers,

The snow amounts that occurred were almost exactly what we have been forecasting for days.  Our forecasts have been consistent at a dusting to 3″.  2″-3″ occurred across northwest Missouri with St. Joseph reporting 2.5″.  The KC area received 1/2″ to 1″ with a dusting south.  So, the forecast of dusting to 3″ is about as good as you can do.  Our snow is now entering Canada!

We now turn our attention to the cold.  An Arctic high is in Nebraska and headed our way.  We have fallen to 7° with wind chills in the -10s.  These are based on the sustained wind.  When the wind gusts to 20-30 mph, the wind chill drops to around -20°.

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EARLY SUNDAY MORNING WIND CHILLS:

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The sun will be out today, but temperatures will rise only about 10 degrees.

HIGHS SUNDAY:

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Tonight with a clear sky for most of the night and Arctic high pressure overhead, temperatures will tank.  The low may be reached 2-4 AM, before clouds arrives and cap off the temperature free fall.  If clouds hold off, then tomorrow morning may be lower than 2°.

LOWS MONDAY:

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Then an Alberta Clipper (fast-moving system originating in Alberta, moves southeast) system will move across Iowa and Nebraska Monday afternoon and night.  3-6″ of snow is possible in Des Moines.  We will not see any snow, although far northern Missouri may get clipped by the snow band.  Tomorrow afternoon our winds will turn to the south and we will warm to the 20s.  Tomorrow night we will stay in the 20s most of the night, then before dawn a new Arctic blast will come south behind the clipper, dropping is quickly to the low teens.  This will be followed by a second surge Wednesday and Wednesday night. A 1055 mb high will settle near KC.  This may cause a record high pressure in KC and allow us to drop below zero Thursday morning.  The high Wednesday will struggle to 10°!

MONDAY AFTERNOON:

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Have a great day, drive safe and stay warm.

Jeff

System still on track for tonight

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11:20p Update
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As of this writing, the snow continues to fall at a pretty good clip in a few areas, mainly along and North of I-70.
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Here again, notice the darker bands. If those hold together, those would be the areas that see some slightly higher snowfall amounts. There have been some good photos sent to me on Twitter and I made a short video of the snow falling at the studios earlier tonight. See that video here and you can follow me on Twitter to see those photos.

I feel pretty good about the overall snow forecast still.
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I do believe there could still be an isolated report of 4″ in a couple locales in the darker shade of blue. I have my “plus two” rule when it comes to snow: there is always an area, somewhere, for some reason, that gets about 2 inches more.

Once more I want to stress how cautious you should be if you’re on the roads tonight. Several accidents in parts of Central & Eastern Kansas already.

One other thing: THE COLD! Oh man, the cold.  The winds are picking up and the temps are dropping. Wind chills are going to sting a bit.
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Sunshine should return from West to East on Sunday but it is not going to get warm at all. And we’ll keep the wind through the first half of the day. Bundle up if you’ll be headed out.

Jeff is in early Sunday morning and will have a look at radar leftovers and snowfall amounts. Our cut-ins begin at 7am and then 41 Action News Weekend Today starts at 8am. I’m back in for our 5p & 10p newscasts Sunday.

Stay warm!
-JD

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10:30p Update
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We had some pretty good snow at our studio earlier. I posted a video of it on my Twitter account. Things are easing up now in the Metro, but we’re not done yet…
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The darker bands near Topeka are slated to push East and I really think things are still on track for that to arrive around midnight.

Latest guidance still indicating about an inch for Kansas City when all is said and done. There could be a couple of pockets here and there with 1.5″ to 2″, depending on the banding setup.

The NFL game is wrapping up and we’ll be on the air soon with more. We have some reporters out with live shots that you’ll want to see. Snow looks good in a few areas.
Those who have not seen anything yet, hang on. There is still time as that next batch moves through.

Hope you all have an amazing evening and thanks for checking out this blog!
-JD
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9:00p Update
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I can see snow falling on our Skyview camera that points to the Plaza tonight….
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But when I step out our side door, it hits my suit coat as rain. So were are >>this<< close to a changeover. The latest radar shows it’s trying.
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The snow should continue to push in as the night goes on.

Also making its way to the area: the wind. I took a snapshot of the wind speeds at 8p.
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I’m willing to bet things are a lot strong around 10p.
Keep in mind that cold air is getting set to invade as well.
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To paraphrase David Bowe: get ready for some ch-ch-ch-changes.

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8:30p Update
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The rain & snow continues to move East. Radar algorithm is trying to depict a changeover to snow in the Metro, but reports from those on the ground say it’s still a mix of rain and snow in some areas.
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The whole system continues to spin counterclockwise and move East. This means we still have a window to collect snow.
I peeked at the newest runs of the RPM & the HRRR models. They are still suggesting the heavier snow–if you will–moves through around midnight. Overall, I believe the forecast snow amounts I posted earlier are on track. It may pan out that the higher snowfall values are a bit more to the NW than I depicted them. Still, I think the overall theme is in good shape.

The 00z RPM is shown below and gives a simulation of how the radar may look at 11p tonight.
RPM Radar

You can see heavier snow being shown in far Northeast Kansas. That would continue to move to the East as the night goes on.

I still expect Kansas City to only pick up an inch to an inch and a half at best. The only way we pick up MORE than that is if a heavier band passes right over us. Right now, I don’t see that happening. Flip-side, should the rain to snow changeover not happen soon enough, it’s quite possible all we get is a glorified dusting. Again, this has never appeared to be a major snowstorm, so there should not be any disappointment in snowfall amounts for the Metro.

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PREVIOUS ENTRY – 5:30p
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As many have been watching, the main feature we’ve been following for the last few days is now moving into the area. I will admit, there was a lack of overall rain early this morning compared to what I was expecting. That said, my initial thoughts did not include high amounts of rain. Moreover, the main thing many are concerned about is the snowfall. That has been pegged for Saturday evening into Saturday night for a few days now.

You may have heard me say on the air a few times Thursday & Friday that’d need to watch for the dry slot of this system to move in and shutdown any kind of precip for Saturday afternoon. My thought was that we’d see some morning showers, then a dry afternoon with snow developing & moving in for the evening time frame. Well, check out the water vapor from about 2pm…
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The red area indicates very dry air and it was right over the area this afternoon.

Now, the main feature is pushing this direction and that will bring moisture along for the ride.
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Let’s check out the radar as of 5:30p. You can see how things match up with the water vapor:
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I feel that we’ll see light rain and drizzle move into the greater Metro area around 7p or so tonight (that could mix with some  wet snowflakes). Then, any rain should change over to snow around between the 8-10pm hours as the bigger swath of snow moves in. The latest HRRR short-range, high-resolution model picks up on this very well, showing a heavier band of snow right at 9pm.
HRRR 8p

Based on all the short-range snowfall guidance I’ve seen today (RAP, HRRR, RPM), we’re still on track with the overall snow forecast I talked about during the midday news on Friday. I personally do not see Kansas City picking up more than an inch to an inch and a half. I do still feel there will be a thin band of slighter higher snowfall just to the North & West of the area. So, here is the current snowfall forecast:
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There will likely be some pockets of slightly higher snowfall embedded in each zone, that’s a given.  It all that depends on the “banding” and overall strength of the smaller-scale aspect to the system. You can see some bands already showing up on radar right now…
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In Wichita tonight, a band moved over and dropped two inches of snow in just an hour. So we need to keep this in mind, because there will likely be one or two areas that pick up some snowfall on the higher end of the scale. But to step back a bit, the idea here is that we’ll see a few inches of snow out of this. It will not be a “major snow storm” per se, nor a situation to hunker down and start lighting your books on fire to survive.

This also goes to show that just because a system comes up out of the Desert Southwest, doesn’t mean we’re promised to get a big snowstorm. Never promise anything when it comes to weather!

For those curious, here are the three short-range models and their snowfall outputs, ending at 6am Sunday:

RAP Snowfall output

RAP Snowfall output

HRRR Snowfall output

HRRR Snowfall output

RPM Snowfall output

RPM Snowfall output

You can clearly see the trend to put the slightly higher band right through the Northeast tip of Kansas.
In my forecast, I have shifted this just a bit South, simply based on radar trends and a nagging feeling in my gut.

One thing I still want to stress: Please be careful if you’ll be out on the roads tonight. Slick spots could appear quickly, especially when that rain changes over to snow.
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I have a feeling we may be talking about a few accidents on the news later tonight.

The winds will pick up as the snow moves in as well. Add that to the incoming cold air and it’s going to be pretty raw by the morning. Make sure you’re ready!

We have an NFL playoff football game on TV tonight, so our 10pm newscasts will be delayed; it’s possible we’re not on the air until 11pm.
I will update this blog post tonight as needed, so keep checking back in. You can also watch our web forecast videos on KSHB.com and get the free KSHB app as well.

Stay warm and be safe tonight,
-JD

Winter Weather Advisory and Arctic Blast

Good Saturday bloggers,

There are going to be many weather changes the next 36 hours.  We are tracking 2 main weather items.  #1 is a storm system now near Amarillo, TX and #2 is an Arctic blast now roaring through the northern Plains.

Lets deal with number one first.  As of 7 AM this storm system is over the Texas panhandle.  It will take a good track just south of KC to have us maximize the snow amounts from the storm.  It is not a big storm and will be moving quickly, so amounts will be a dusting to 3″.

7 AM Satellite and Radar:  The upper level storm system will be tracking south of KC, putting us in the comma head this evening.

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Ahead of the storm moisture and disturbances are being pulled north.  This is creating widespread rain and drizzle, mostly southeast of I-35.  This is fortunate as in these areas temperatures are above, freezing no ice.  West of I-35 temperatures are 30-32 and there is some drizzle.  So, a few slick spots may be found from Lawrence to Emporia to Wichita and eventually to near Leavenworth this morning.

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Here is a snowfall forecast map Gary made Friday afternoon.  We are not changing the forecast, based on the new data.  The heavier stripe is still subject to shift 20-30 miles south or north.

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Here is a road condition time line forecast we made.  If you have to run errands or have a place to go, the roads will be fine, just wet until 4-6 PM.

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Now to the second weather issue, the Arctic blast.  It is now surging south through the northern Plains and will arrive here after 11 PM.  So, any slush/water left untreated will freeze hard by midnight to 1 AM.  The snow will end rapidly after midnight as the wind and cold take over.  Wind chills by 7 AM Sunday will be -20° to -10°, ouch!

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JD Rudd will have an update later.

Enjoy the snow and be safe.

Jeff

Weekend Rain, Snow, & Cold

Good evening bloggers,

Weather Time-Line:

  • Next Few Hours:  A few rain showers and temperatures in the middle to upper 30s.
  • 10 PM – 6 AM:  A band of rain forming and moving in from the south. Temperatures will likely be just above freezing which would eliminate any icing potential. But, if it is just slightly colder there may be some icing of untreated surfaces.
  • 6 AM – Noon Saturday:  Rain ending, or tapering off to a drizzle with a high around 35°
  • Noon – 6 PM Saturday:  We will be monitoring the upper level storm to see if anything gets organized to our southwest.  Some rain and snow will be developing later in the day
  • 6 PM  – Midnight Saturday:  Snow likely with a dusting to 2″ possible. There is a good chance of a band getting more than that, and we will try to pick this area out in our snow forecast that will be posted soon.
  • Midnight – 7 AM Sunday:  Snow tapering off with cold air blasting in

The latest data is coming out and we will go over the details of this forecast on 41 Action News on this FRIDAY NIGHT IN THE BIG TOWN. It is the first Friday Night of 2015!  And, we have our first storm of 2015 approaching. It looks pretty organized on satellite right now, and it is the kind of storm that should produce a few inches of snow. But, something is just not quite coming together with this system.  It is forecast to take a perfect track for our are to receive snow.  So, what is wrong? Take a look at the little curl of clouds in Nebraska. There is a storm aloft spinning by to our north right now, and it pushes a few important features, including some of our moisture off to the east tonight. The atmosphere likely won’t quite recover as the storm comes out of the southwest.  If that northern system were just a bit weaker, then I would have high confidence that bands of heavy snow would form around a developing comma head Saturday evening.  Unfortunately that system seems to be a bit stronger, and not weaker. So, we may struggle to get an organized comma head Saturday night.  It is something to keep monitoring, however, as right now that southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico storm looks fairly healthy.

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The latest NAM model has come out with around 0.15″ liquid equivalent for Saturday between 3 PM and 3 AM, when it is most likely going to be in the form of snow.  That would be a 1 to 2 inch snowfall. Another factor will be the temperatures at the surface.  It will likely be just above freezing as the precipitation begins to fall in this second round of precipitation.  So, it may start as rain, or a mixture before changing to snow which would cut into totals. The Arctic front is due to arrive a few hours later. If that could just blast in harder, then we could have a different scenario as well tomorrow night, but right now the timing is for that to blast in after the snow is just about over.

Here you go! It took a long time to figure this out, but at this moment we are forecasting the most likely spot for the heaviest snowfall is just northwest of downtown. But, keep your expectations low:

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Gary