Good Saturday bloggers,

This is Jeff Penner doing the blog as Gary is taking a much deserved morning off. He is planning on doing an updated blog later this afternoon or evening.

We have a major storm system that will be moving into the middle part of the USA later today.  It will not exit until Monday night.  We have had our eyes on this storm system between Christmas and New Years for weeks.  There is much to go over, let’s get started.

Here are the current watches and warning.  There is a Blizzard warning for the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles.  This may not be great news for humans and cattle, but it is great news for the winter wheat crop.  There is a Winter Storm Watch across central and eastern Kansas to central Oklahoma.  There are Winter Storm Warning and advisories across Nebraska, northwest Iowa and South Dakota, but these are for a lead storm system now in those areas.

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Wow!  Look at this temperature gradient on the morning after Christmas.  It is 72 in Dallas and 14 in Denver.  Yes, a major storm is getting it’s act together.

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Lets go through the latest data and time this storm out as best as we can.  This is subject to change based on new data.

SATURDAY 3 PM: This is the day for travel and errands.  The storm is not cranked up yet.  There will be heavy rain from central Oklahoma to eastern Missouri, the I-44 corridor.  The rest of the region will be calm.

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SATURDAY NIGHT: Rain, heavy at times will spread north into eastern Kansas and Missouri. Temperatures will be mostly above freezing.  Snow, freezing rain and sleet will be increasing across southwest Kansas. It will remain dry across Nebraska and Iowa.

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SUNDAY MORNING: The rain from tonight moves off to the east, so that most locations north of I-70 will be mainly dry.  Temperatures will be just below freezing northwest of I-35, so we will have to watch for some minor icing before the overnight rain ends and areas of black ice from remaining water.  The main storm is now moving out into west Texas and is getting ready to spread the precipitation north.

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SUNDAY PM/EVENING: The main storm begins it’s northeast track and here comes the huge area of precipitation.  Rain, heavy at times, is likely across eastern Kansas and western Missouri.  We will have to watch the temperatures like a hawk.  If they stay 31-32 or warmer, roads will be mostly wet, with some ice on trees.  If the temperatures drop to 29-32, then we could have an ice storm on our hands.  We lean with the warmer scenario.  A snowstorm is increasing over southwest Kansas with a mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain in central Kansas.

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SUNDAY NIGHT-MONDAY MORNING:  The storm heads north and heavy rain moves through eastern Kansas and western Missouri.  There is a chance that Sunday night enough warm air heads north to keep it all rain into southeast Nebraska and southwest Iowa.  Again, every degrees is critical.  A snowstorm will be raging across western Kansas with freezing rain and sleet along I-80.  What a mess.

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MONDAY PM/NIGHT: The main storm heads north and the precipitation ends along the I-70 corridor.  The I-80 corridor will be dealing with the freezing rain, sleet and snow.  Will KC see its first accumulating snow?  The chance is certainly there.  It depends heavily on the track of the storm.  We still could see a dusting to 2″ if the upper low tracks near or just southeast of KC.  If it tracks a bit further southeast, then amounts will increase.  We will not know this answer until later Sunday.

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The amounts of rain and snow are two incredible stories with this system.  First the rainfall potential.  Look at this, now keep in mind KC averages 1.53″ for the entire month of December.  2″-3″ of rain is possible along I-70 with 3″-5″, close to 6″ possible south and east.  June averages about 4.50″ of rain, so yes this is rare and odd.

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The second story is how much snow will occur.  The chance for one to two feet of snow is there for western Kansas!  Eastern Kansas and western Missouri has the chance for a dusting to 2-3″ of snow.  This will be highly dependent on the track.  We will have to take this one day at a time.

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Here the potential tracks of the main upper low from the GFS and NAM.

GFS MONDAY NOON: The upper low is tracking across southwest Missouri.  This track would mean accumulating snow for KC.  The GFS has been trending west the last few days of model runs.

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NAM MONDAY NOON:  This is from the 12z.  The NAM has been consistent on a further west track and slower.  This has the upper low at noon northeast of Oklahoma City, but it is moving north-northeast.  This would be too far west for KC to see more than a dusting to maybe an 1″.  Now, all of this being said.  It is a strong storm and every mile the track shifts west or east will be critical.  Realistically, we will not know the exact track until Sunday night or Monday.

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I hope you had a Merry Christmas and have a happy and safe New Year.

Gary will update the blog later today.

Jeff Penner