Major Winter Storm: Many Forecast Problems

/Major Winter Storm: Many Forecast Problems

Major Winter Storm: Many Forecast Problems

Good morning Weather2020 bloggers,

Screen Shot 2015-12-27 at 6.51.48 AM

A major winter storm is now developing and it is quite impressive. It is taking a track that would usually produce a foot of snow near Kansas Cit, however it is the 2015-2016 season version of a storm system and there is warmer air than what usually exists around a storm such as this. Where it snows it will be a lot. If you are in the transition zone, then sleet and freezing rain will cause significant problems.

Weather Forecast Time-Line For Kansas City:

  • Now to 7 PM tonight: Dry for the Chiefs game, but cold and windy!
  • 7 PM to 7 AM: Heavy rain, freezing rain, and sleet move in. Most of the precipitation is likely to be freezing rain or sleet. The snow line will be way out to the west and northwest. Some significant icing and sleet accumulation is likely. If it’s sleet there could be 1 to 3 inches of just sleet which would coat every surface. If it’s freezing rain, then there could be enough ice to cause power outages and other problems.
  • 7 AM to Noon Monday: Sleet or freezing rain continues that will gradually change to snow
  • Noon to 7 PM Monday: The mixture likely changes to snow with accumulations from 1 to 5″ possible depending on when it changes over, and this will come on top of sleet and freezing rain

I would like you to look at this surface map from this morning at 8:33 AM. There was an 87 degree contrast from eleven below in northwest Nebraska to 76 degrees at just after sunrise to the southeast. Wow is all I can say about this!

1

We now can establish that this system has tremendous fuel to work with.

4The track is almost perfect. In any other year, if you told me it was near freezing and that an upper low this strong was taking a track like this, I would say did you get a foot of snow or more? But, this is an unusual year with El Niño at near record highs right now.  The low is forecast to track from near the Mexico border northeast to near Kirksville, MO by Monday night.

Warm air is being drawn in from the south and southeast.  This next map shows the 850 mb map, which is showing the conditions at around 5,000 feet above us.  When the temperatures at this level drop to below 0°C (32°F) it usually snows in KC if the surface temperature is near freezing. But, again, not this year and likely not this storm:

2

Again, if you showed me the two maps above, then I would say “how much snow did you get”. Instead we have a long waiting game before any snow falls in KC. This surface map shows a lot:

5

I hope I am not getting too complex today. This is not an easy one to explain.  Thickness is a measuring of a layer of the atmosphere  from 1000 mb to 500 mb, and when the layer is 5400 meters thick (a 540 thickness), then that layer is usually all below freezing and it snows in places like Kansas City. That critical thickness is higher for higher elevations like over western Kansas where they just need a 546 thickness for snow. As you can see on this map, our thickness, as of 9 AM Monday is forecast to be near 552 which is way to warm. This means that there is a layer around 7,000 to 10,000 feet up where the precipitation is forming that is above freezing. This means that the precipitation type will either be freezing rain, rain, or sleet in this area.

6

Thunderstorms with sleet or snow are possible.  It could be a frustratingly long wait for that first big snowflake. It’s a fascinating storm. I hope this blog made sense. This is not an easy storm to describe. Have a great day, and I will leave you with this video! Thank you for participating in the LRC Forecast Experience Blog and let us know if you have any questions.

Gary

2017-01-16T07:05:49+00:00 December 27th, 2015|General|149 Comments

149 Comments

  1. Waldo Weather December 27, 2015 at 8:42 am - Reply

    CAN’T WAIT!!!!

  2. Ross December 27, 2015 at 9:03 am - Reply

    Travel question: should I travel back from Quad Cities to KC today or would Tuesday be safe?

    • Rockdoc December 27, 2015 at 9:19 am - Reply

      Hi Ross, in looking at the 06z NAM southern Iowa is in the track for ice followed by light snow. Today the area between the Quads and KC look to be fairly dry. By Tuesday there may be considerable ice and sleet between there and here. Road conditions may not be good. I don’t know which way you drive (I-80 to I-35 ??), nor how long, 5-6 hours? Can’t tell you what to do, but if it were me and can’t stay till Wednesday then I’d drive today.

  3. f00dl3 December 27, 2015 at 9:04 am - Reply

    Everything should be fine in KC northwards for the next 6 hours from what I gather.

  4. Bob December 27, 2015 at 9:07 am - Reply

    The 12z NAM is pathetic for snow totals here.

  5. AK December 27, 2015 at 9:07 am - Reply

    Getting ready to head out to Wilson Kansas. When is all of this supposed to happen and is it going to happen? Seems the KSHB weather team likes to go against the NWS in dueling style. Why can’t anybody get this right?

  6. f00dl3 December 27, 2015 at 9:11 am - Reply

    Look at the atmosphere column right now KOCJ / Johnson County Exec soundings.

    It’s pretty even give or take 1 to 2 degrees all the way up to where it gets colder. I don’t think ice is going to be a problem – we’re either going to get all rain or all snow. Possibly a bit of sleet if we do straggle a 1 degree window where it’s 33 at the surface but 28 between us and the 3000 ft layer then 33 at 3000 ft – but it’s below freezing right above that shallow layer.

    Unless the storm changes this as the dynamics get closer.

    • Slylar December 27, 2015 at 9:22 am - Reply

      You should be looking at the forecasted soundings, not the current one. As the low moves north it’s going to bring warmer air with it even if we continue to have cold air moving in at the surface, creating a less uniform thermal profile.

  7. Morgan December 27, 2015 at 9:11 am - Reply

    NAM shows hardly anything. It hasn’t budged much.

  8. Alex December 27, 2015 at 9:16 am - Reply

    What a nightmare of a forecast. NAM still trying to lay down a major FRZ RA event across a wide area, GFS continuing to lay down 6+” snow from KC northward. If anything the GFS has moved the cold air even further SE in the 6Z run. Will see if 12Z GFS and Canadian continue to show that more SE track for the low.

    Looking at raw NWS low forecast tracks, it appears this morning the models are favoring less of the NAM’s straight shot to the North and more of the Euro/GFS/CMC northeasterly track after entering Arkansas/Missouri.

    The Weather Prediction Center of the NWS is going with SREF/Euro model blends currently. SREF would put no snow in KC but points just to the west would see several inches. From 9Z SREF run it looks like KC would see mostly rain! That’s a little strange. It also predicts ice pellets over frzra so take from that what you will. Can’t talk much about the Euro since it’s a slightly more hidden model to the public. Can only see low resolution pressure tracks really… It appears to be the “mean” solution for the track of the low. Would guess that gives KC and points northward a taste of snow, sleet, and freezing rain for the event.

    I don’t even dare put numbers on any of this. Someone’s gonna see 8+” of snow in the viewing area. Someone’s gonna have all rain. Likely many will have >0.25″ ice (hopefully less of this…)

    Maybe some clarity will enter the forecast this afternoon and evening.

  9. Morgan December 27, 2015 at 9:38 am - Reply

    So little to no snow is what I’m gathering from the blog so far. Another marginal event on tap for KC. The point about the thickness is very true unfortunately.

    • Heat Miser December 27, 2015 at 10:05 am - Reply

      LoL..I don’t know how you could read that blog and think this is a marginal event…the roads could get really really nasty. Read it again.

      • HEAT MISER December 27, 2015 at 10:08 am - Reply

        Let me help:

        7 PM to 7 AM: Heavy rain, freezing rain, and sleet move in. Most of the precipitation is likely to be freezing rain or sleet. The snow line will be way out to the west and northwest. Some significant icing and sleet accumulation is likely. If it’s sleet there could be 1 to 3 inches of just sleet which would coat every surface. If it’s freezing rain, then there could be enough ice to cause power outages and other problems.
        7 AM to Noon Monday: Sleet or freezing rain continues that will gradually change to snow
        Noon to 7 PM Monday: The mixture likely changes to snow with accumulations from 1 to 5″ possible depending on when it changes over, and this will come on top of sleet and freezing rain

  10. MikeL December 27, 2015 at 9:40 am - Reply

    Makes sense Gary. I noticed on the 12z NAM it was wrapping warm air above freezing back in at the 700mb level while it looked as though everything below that was staying below freezing (in Topeka). I’m really expecting mainly sleet, and maybe some snow or rain here. I’m just not seeing too much ice with marginal surface temps. Something is always not quite right with our storms to produce snow it seems.

  11. Auri December 27, 2015 at 9:45 am - Reply

    Gary,

    In the timeline for KC you say that “Some significant icing and sleet accumulation is likely”. What do you consider significant? 1/10 in, 1 inch? Sorry, I’m just trying to get a better handle on what I’m going to be dealing with on my drive t o work tomorrow.. Thank you

    • Gary December 27, 2015 at 9:52 am - Reply

      Auri,

      Somewhere in that range of icing. It depends on if it’s sleet or liquid. If it’s more sleet, as this NAM model indicates, then there will be little accumulation on powerlines, etc. We just have to see what type it becomes.

      • Auri December 27, 2015 at 10:16 am - Reply

        Thank you, Gary. I appreciate your time. (Even more so since you’re on vacation)

  12. stl78 December 27, 2015 at 9:46 am - Reply

    I dont get it Alice. Everyone on here has a preference and are entitled to their opinion. However, some just prefer to get a rise out of others! Lack of maturity imo. Im normally tired of snow by now as I generally work on the Canadian border(outdoors btw), but even up there snow has been scarce.

    • Heat Miser December 27, 2015 at 10:59 am - Reply

      I’ve figured it out. If there is someone who comes on here just to get a rise out of some folks, every time you see their name you just to don’t read their entry. So simple yet so effective. It’s like a little kid in a store having a tantrum trying to get attention…if he gets no attention he will usually stop. In the case of the blog, even if he doesn’t stop, who cares since nobody is reading or responding to what he writes. LoL..works well.

  13. Bill in Lawrence December 27, 2015 at 9:47 am - Reply

    Gary:

    Good chilly breezy morning to you sir!!!! Not sure why I am posting this as your blog answers everything!!!! But what the hey!!!! 🙂

    Obviously there are so many factors still in play that anything can and will happen but I would say based upon on the 12Z NAM and 0Z GFS last night we are looking at our biggest winter storm since February 2014. The caveat of course is that a 2 inch snow storm with temps in the 20’s would qualify as our biggest winter event since February 2014 so this storm really doesn’t have to do much to qualify!!!! 

    I am currently at 29 degrees with a stiff NNE wind; the front appears to be stalled just north of Little Rock Arkansas. Looking at the radar, it appears that the low is beginning to lift out as the precip. shield is about to enter Southern Kansas. I think it is going to be interesting to follow the surface charts today and see what happens to that front-that I think will be the track of the upper level low. It will also be interesting to follow the wind patterns today and obviously the cold air. The radar is really interesting as you can for sure see the sharp west/east cut off of the precip. shield.

    Regarding the models the NAM soundings has Topeka surface between 28-31 from this morning through the event…and mostly the entire column is below freezing accept for 22-24 hours where there is quite the warm nudge at around 850-700 MB. I would guess there will be a period of sleet/freezing but then after hour 24 Topeka should transition to all snow….for my area…I would say we will have that warm nudge between 22-26 hours. I also think that the NAM is a bit further east with the track of the upper level low and the surface low….

    Will be interesting to see what the GFS shows…..I think the GFS will stick to its track and maybe even a tad east….considering where the front is located and looking at the radar….it seems the low is taking a track similar to the GFS…..I think?? One thing I have noticed is that the precip. shield is advancing northward quickly which falls in line with the quicker solution the GFS has been showing the past few runs compared to the NAM’s 0Z picnic it took in Tulsa….the 12Z NAM was a bit quicker.

    Here it goes…will be an interesting day….of course as always, KC can lose a winter storm better than any city in the world!!!!! 

    Have a great day everybody..

    Bill in Lawrence

  14. Alice December 27, 2015 at 10:08 am - Reply

    Gary,
    If there is an inch of sleet at kshb, is that the same as snow ? Will the snowflake contest end ?

    • Heat Miser December 27, 2015 at 10:48 am - Reply

      My guess is no, since sleet is not snow.

      • Alice December 27, 2015 at 11:33 am - Reply

        Heat,
        That’s what I thought too.
        But I asked because of Gary’s reply to McCabe58 on last night’s blog…..(that reply was at 8:28 a.m. this morning) …..
        “The sleet could add up, and the snowflake contest may end on 1″ of sleet first. How much sleet could fall before a changeover.”

  15. Heat Miser December 27, 2015 at 10:10 am - Reply

    Did Gary say if he will be coming home early for this major winter storm?

  16. Bill in Lawrence December 27, 2015 at 10:11 am - Reply

    Hello again everyone….

    If I am reading this correctly…the difference between the tracks and strength on the GFS and NAM to me is still quite significant and interesting. The 12Z GFS is much faster….further east….and not nearly as strong as the NAM…..I’m still sticking with the GFS as it has stuck to this general idea for 2-3 days now….will be interesting to see thew soundings from this run….

    Back to surface observations!!!

    Have a great day..

    Bill in Lawrence

    • Clint December 27, 2015 at 10:17 am - Reply

      I agree Bill can’t remember the last time we had this much of a model spread this close to the main event

    • Alex December 27, 2015 at 10:17 am - Reply

      The RAP is starting to get interesting. It’s laying a heavy snow (>1″/hr heavy) line down forming sometime around 8PM near the KC metro and then slowly sliding north as there’s a shift to freezing rain during the late night/early morning hours. This brief- but intense- snow event before warm air advection ruins the lower atmosphere could be an interesting addition to the storm.

  17. Rockdoc December 27, 2015 at 10:12 am - Reply

    Gary, great video clip. Haven’t heard thunder snow for a couple of years so that would be fun. Sure do hope it’s mostly snow, but if not then mostly sleet rather than ice. 2002 deja vu?

    Some Sunday morning musings overy coffee. On the 06z run, looks like NAM surface low shifted a little to the east and is slightly more to the north compared to the GFS. The GFS is at 994mb while the NAM is 998mb and is not as tightly wound – more of a large kidney shape.

    The NAM ULL appears to lag behind the GFS ULL by 3 hours. At 21z Mon the NAM ULL is over Joplin while the GFS is over Columbia. At 00z Tuesday the NAM is over Columbia while the GFS is over the MO/IA/IL area in NE MO. The NAM also has a deeper low of ~537mb while the GFS is ~540mb.

    NAM 4km shows that by 00z Tue, total accumulation of freezing rain south of the river is ~0.7 and north ~0.5 inches. KC area has little snow with NAM while on GFS we are in the 5-8 inch zone. GFS also shows more sleet.

    Time to head out for some supplies. Still a toss up. Since I don’t have full access to Euro, and what is available shows the ULL/SL in north central MO by 00z Tue it seems to be a triangulation between the other 2. Oh heck, split the difference and call it good. Later… Rock.

  18. Bill in Lawrence December 27, 2015 at 10:17 am - Reply

    Sorry…one last random thought I promise….

    No matter if the NAM or GFS or something in between verify….both of them imho are showing the biggest winter event we have seen in this areas since February 2014. Obviously this is KC so if there is a way to miss a winter storm we will for sure find it….but if either of these models verify this will be the most significant winter storm we have seen in quite some time……just my thoughts…

    Have a great day everybody…

    Bill in Lawrence

  19. Rockdoc December 27, 2015 at 10:30 am - Reply

    Gary, I must have been writing while you posted the additional info. Great write up and explanation on thickness. It clarifies some stuff for me! Hope you’re having fun in Vegas!!! We’ll out and about while I have time. Rockdoc.

    • Gary December 27, 2015 at 10:54 am - Reply

      Your welcome Rock,

      As we go through this season we will likely have many other examples to enhance our learning experience. This where I love this blog experience, because it allows all of us a chance to learn something new. Just writing up that explanation is a learning experience. It can snow at higher thicknesses, so let’s see how this really sets up in the morning. It’s almost here.

      Gary

      • SnowDays December 27, 2015 at 11:01 am - Reply

        Gary,

        As a teacher, it’s so interesting to me to hear you say that! Because one of the ways we as humans learn the most is by explaining our knowledge to others. It makes complete sense then that you would learn from the blog just as much as we novices do!

        Even though we won’t be getting a snow day out of this, I’m still so excited for this storm!! Thanks for writing/explaining to us while you’re on vacation.

  20. Jack December 27, 2015 at 10:35 am - Reply

    It looks like the 12z GFS seems to give us all sleet basically from 6 oclock tonight and onward.. with a small window of freezing.. which finally is an agreement for the most part with the NAM. So, as Gary said, we can finally be confident that it is going to sleet!! and maybe some freezing rain.. it will be quite interesting to see what form it will be in when it actually happens because if just one layer is above freezing and we are sitting at 28 degrees… we could see a huge ice storm. But, if it would just change over to snow quick enough, our snow totals would drastically go up. It will be exciting to watch!

  21. Waldo Weather December 27, 2015 at 11:52 am - Reply

    No new comments, no good news.

  22. Alice December 27, 2015 at 11:57 am - Reply

    I sure hope Terry is ok. I am afraid something has happened.

    Praying this storm gives us sleet and not freezing rain ! If the winds are strong tomorrow there goes the power in my neighborhood. It happens every time there is any kind of ice build up on the power lines, and strong wind. Every time. Even though the electric co (Westar energy) went around 2 yrs ago and cut branches hanging over power lines. Trees were all lop-sided after that !

  23. Patrick December 27, 2015 at 11:57 am - Reply

    Gary, how far east will the freeze line go before the change back over to all rain heading to St. Louis at 04:00 Monday!!

  24. McCabe58 December 27, 2015 at 11:57 am - Reply

    I was about to say.. Am I the only one who refreshes the page like 15 times in a hour to make sure there aren’t new comments? Haha.. I wish we knew if it’s going to be more of freezing rain or sleet when the precip starts.

    • Waldo Weather December 27, 2015 at 12:00 pm - Reply

      I do the same.

      • Rroxanne Williamson December 27, 2015 at 12:06 pm - Reply

        Nope, I’m sitting here with my finger on the refresh button too.

  25. Heat Miser December 27, 2015 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    Terry, where are you????????!!!!!?????? We miss you buddy! 🙁

    • Alice December 27, 2015 at 1:27 pm - Reply

      Heat,
      Terry had a facebook page, but it is gone. I sure hope he is ok.

      • Bob December 27, 2015 at 2:14 pm - Reply

        I hope he’s alright! We need his enthusiasm.

      • Heat Miser December 27, 2015 at 2:44 pm - Reply

        Really? That doesn’t sound good.

  26. Dale December 27, 2015 at 12:06 pm - Reply

    Lmao. Sleet storm huh??? This should be a snow maker, oh well.

    Just sleet baby!!!!

  27. thomas December 27, 2015 at 12:07 pm - Reply
  28. Morgan December 27, 2015 at 12:19 pm - Reply

    EURO is definitely SE this run. Colder too for areas. It can make all the difference.

  29. Bill in Lawrence December 27, 2015 at 12:27 pm - Reply

    Happy Saturday afternoon everyone!!

    First signs of virga are showing up on the radar over Topeka and the 12Z soundings have the entire column below freezing. The GFS soundings keeps Topeka mostly all below freezing….maybe one hour there is a war nudge at the 700 level but nothing like on the NAM….that makes sense of course with the further south and weaker GFS solution…

    Looking at the 18Z surface map the front has sagged a bit further south than what Gary had posted above….Hot (Hot Springs??) is now at 55 degrees with a NE wind and just south of there is at 75….so the front has moved a bit further south today. Looking at the winds….Topeka and here have direct north winds….the true NE winds are not until you get to Columbia. Combine this with the radar image in Arkansas I wonder if the low may not even be a bit further south and east than on the 12Z GFS…..maybe a Texakana to Saint Louis track… I am probably totally off on this assessment but it seems like the front is hanging pretty tough in south central Arkansas right now.

    These are just observations….will be interesting to watch the radar and winds over the next few hours….and Wichita was reporting ice at 18Z…..

    Bill in Lawrence

    • Jack December 27, 2015 at 12:40 pm - Reply

      Do not question yourself Bill! You are always spot on and your comments are always great to read!

  30. MMike December 27, 2015 at 12:35 pm - Reply

    Morgan,

    What model do you think stayed the same for the last 2-3 days? Most consistent??

    I feel the GFS didn’t blink. Euro had pretty much the same consistency…Maybe a bit of change this most recent run.

    I’m sure the outcome will still have a few tricks.

    • Morgan December 27, 2015 at 1:20 pm - Reply

      I actually think the EURO and GFS have been most consistent over the last two days or so. Pretty much neck and neck with EURO being a bit west and a bit stronger. It did shift east on the 12z run which bodes well for frozen precip in our area. I think the low will track north ARK to STL. Should be a fun one to track.

  31. Jack December 27, 2015 at 12:37 pm - Reply

    Euro sure brings 10+ very close to the KC metro… if we get in the snow quick enough the totals are surely going to pile up.. 1 degree will make the difference. Let it snow!!!!!

  32. Jack December 27, 2015 at 12:44 pm - Reply

    Is it me or has the low just sat in southwest Texas and not moved at all… You can really see the new comma head forming around it.. lots of snow down there right now.
    http://www.intellicast.com/National/Radar/Current.aspx?animate=true

    • Waldo Weather December 27, 2015 at 12:53 pm - Reply

      I thought the same thing.

  33. MikeL December 27, 2015 at 1:09 pm - Reply

    Hey guys, could this be a positive sign of the eastward shift??? Could be! Dodge City updated forecast discussion:

    ISSUED AT 1056 AM CST SUN DEC 27 2015

    Went ahead and cancelled the Winter Weather Advisory and Blizzard
    Warnings for today and tonight. New models showing the axis of
    heavy snow has shifted east, mainly east of Dodge City.

    • Jack December 27, 2015 at 1:15 pm - Reply

      Possibly, but the GFS has never predicted that much snow for Dodge City recently, it was only the NAM that was predicting that.

      • MikeL December 27, 2015 at 1:26 pm - Reply

        Yeah, I’m guessing they were relying mainly on the Euro which shifted east this morning on the 12z run.

  34. Clint December 27, 2015 at 1:36 pm - Reply

    18z rap trending east. Looks good for accumulating snow along and east of 65 hwy. 6 to 9 for KC area

  35. Jack December 27, 2015 at 1:49 pm - Reply

    18z nam rolling out.. this will be one of the last model runs to accurately look at.. then eyes will go to the radar.

    • Waldo Weather December 27, 2015 at 1:57 pm - Reply

      Keep us posted! Thanks!

  36. Scott December 27, 2015 at 2:05 pm - Reply

    That looks like quite a sleet storm!

  37. Jack December 27, 2015 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    The latest nam still gives us all ice pellets.. about 10 hours or so of it. By the time it gets cold enough to snow.. and according to the nam that is at 3 or 4 oclock in the afternoon on Monday. It gives 2.2-2.5 inches of liquid which would all be ice pellets. In other words, the nam gives us a huge sleet storm.

  38. Mr. Pete December 27, 2015 at 2:14 pm - Reply

    I just don’t think it will get below freezing tonight here in PVKS…33 and rain

    • Jack December 27, 2015 at 2:21 pm - Reply

      Something that everyone is confident in is that it is going to sleet!! Not just rain.

  39. Morgan December 27, 2015 at 2:16 pm - Reply

    NAM would be very depressing. An ugly sleet storm is not what anyone should want but so typical of storms like this here.

  40. Alice December 27, 2015 at 2:24 pm - Reply

    I just saw this on another site, and found it interesting/baffling…….

    “we really have no data-stream during a storm’s movement. Well we do…TWICE PER DAY at 6AM and 6PM. Oh and we only have that data for about 120 different places…IN THE COUNTRY. To be fair we will get occasional aircraft weather reports of some critical information…but for those of us in the media these reports are tough to come by.
    The bottom line is in an ever changing atmosphere with a strong storm, we get VERY little, to no timely data.”

    • Jack December 27, 2015 at 2:28 pm - Reply

      I just read that blog post too. It was a very good write up and he really described what he thinks is going to happen… he believes on behalf of his station (which i believe is the worst one) that it is going to sleet a ton over night and not much snow.. so basically he is going with the nam.. Gary are you leaning in the direction of nam with all sleet.. or gfs with sleet and snow?? Will you update when GFS comes out??

    • Heat Miser December 27, 2015 at 2:28 pm - Reply

      Yeah, and while he thinks there will be a lot of sleet, he also said he wouldn’t be surprised if his forecast blows up in his face an we get a snowstorm. Too many unknowns…makes it more fun to track I suppose.

  41. McCabe58 December 27, 2015 at 2:28 pm - Reply

    Looks like we’re going to be missed by a lot of the precip coming from the south…

    • Jack December 27, 2015 at 2:30 pm - Reply

      Why do you say this?? No need to worry storm has not even got here yet.. it is still in southwest Texas.

  42. Gary H December 27, 2015 at 2:34 pm - Reply

    Gary, are you traveling back to KC today?

  43. Rockdoc December 27, 2015 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    Radar image from Intellicast shows thin band of snow and ice above the rain. Maybe 2 counties south of JoCo. Temp here in Olathe is currently 33 F. Finishing up my Chili at Wendy’s before I head out for last stop and then back to PV. Mr. Pete, did you get some firewood just in case?

  44. Dale December 27, 2015 at 2:52 pm - Reply

    Biggest sleet storm of the year.

    Here’s to a good soaking rain!

  45. Mr. Pete December 27, 2015 at 2:55 pm - Reply

    Cold rain….

    • Jack December 27, 2015 at 3:06 pm - Reply

      SLEET

  46. Tim December 27, 2015 at 3:12 pm - Reply

    Hey everyone! Looking at the recent short-term RAP and HRRR’s models… pretty consistent at pulling a band of heavy snow over us this evening. Showing initially anywhere from 2″ to 6″ of snow accumulation before transitioning to sleet/ice. My question is if this is indeed what happens– wouldn’t this effect the surface temperature environment to be under 32F?

  47. Tim December 27, 2015 at 3:13 pm - Reply

    Hey everyone! Looking at the recent short term RAP and HRRR’s models. They look pretty consistent at pulling a band of heavy snow over us this evening. Showing initially anywhere from 2 to 6 inches of snow accumulation before transitioning to sleet and ice. My question is if this is indeed what happens, wouldn’t this effect the surface temperature environment to be under 32F?

  48. Tim December 27, 2015 at 3:14 pm - Reply

    RAP and HRRRs still consistent at bringing 2 to 6″ of snow on the onset starting early this evening…

    • Tim December 27, 2015 at 3:16 pm - Reply

      HRRR http://www.pivotalweather.com/model.php?m=HRRR&p=acc10snow&rh=2015122719&fh=15&r=c&dpdt=

      this hours is still rolling out but looking the same

      • Jack December 27, 2015 at 3:20 pm - Reply

        That seems off.. that is valid at 4 a.m tonight and it is not supposed to change over to snow til later.. seems off.

        • Tim December 27, 2015 at 3:28 pm - Reply

          Jack it isn’t… HRRR and RAP have shown all day with this starting as snow then transitioning to sleet and ice in the morning hours. These models only go out 15 or 18 hours. Typically at this point you start throwing out the standard NAM, GFS, EURO, CANADIAN when you within 24 hours. Not saying this is what will happen especially with the margin for error on temperature, but this has been the methodology.

        • Tim December 27, 2015 at 3:29 pm - Reply

          Just FYI.. latest radar is now showing snow on the most northern edge.

          • Jack December 27, 2015 at 3:43 pm - Reply

            Oh, I did not know those models had been showing that.. These 18z model will probably be the last ones to seriously look at.. I usually do not look at the rap and other short term ones.. I tend to just go to the radar. !8z gfs rolling out now…

  49. McCabe58 December 27, 2015 at 3:35 pm - Reply

    The precip also looks to be dying right along the Kansas/Missouri boarder 🙁 We’ll probably get dry slotted by this storm like we always seem to do

  50. f00dl3 December 27, 2015 at 3:41 pm - Reply
    • Jack December 27, 2015 at 3:46 pm - Reply

      I see.. the 800, 750, and 700 layers are all above freezing.. any precip would be sleet or freezing rain.. I would think freezing rain at this point because I don’t think it would have enough time to refreeze.

      • f00dl3 December 27, 2015 at 3:58 pm - Reply

        Actually more likely sleet. Deep cold air at the surface especially 1900 ft where it’s 23F.

        With 2.5 liquid QPF and a 3:1 sleet to snow ratio, that could be 7.5″ of sleet. That’s pretty unheard of if I’m not mistaken?

  51. Bill in Lawrence December 27, 2015 at 3:42 pm - Reply

    Hello again everyone….what a storm to track!!! been quite a while!!!! 🙂

    Looking at the latest surface charts the front has sagged even a bit further south….Poplar Bluff Arkansas is now at 62 with a stiff NE breeze…the rain shield is moving right along that front…when you put in motion it begins to lift north and then stops and just heads north east…I wonder if that is an indication that the low itself is taking more of a direct NE track and will not really have a north/north east track….I really do wonder if the 0Z runs will take the low on even a bit further south and east compared to the 12Z…..

    The radar seems to show that the low is getting cranked up in central Texas and I think you can see the comma head forming.

    We are currently around 29 degrees with a stiff north….not north east…wind. I think that is also an indicator that the low is taking more of a GFS track….

    Lots of things to watch….I will say again….we look to get a decent winter event out of this….I mean 4 inches of sleet with strong winds and maybe some thunder beats anything from last year…..yet…it is KC….if there is a way to miss this all together….we will find it!!!! 🙂

    Bill in Lawrence

    • Rodney December 27, 2015 at 5:41 pm - Reply

      Bill: I really enjoy reading your thoughts. So based on your latest thinking any chance Columbia, MO gets any significant winter precipitation? I keep seeing trends further east & know that the low would need to probably ride up I-44 before central MO would see any winter component. Your thoughts. Thanks

      • Gary December 27, 2015 at 5:57 pm - Reply

        Rodney,

        You will likely be in the slightly warmer air, so it will mostly be liquid in your area. There is a very low chance of any significant winter precipitation in Columbia, MO from this storm.

        Gary

  52. Morgan December 27, 2015 at 3:48 pm - Reply

    Yep basically no snow on the GFS. Looks like we will be stuck with an annoying sleet and ice storm. Have fun St. Joe.

  53. Jack December 27, 2015 at 3:51 pm - Reply

    18z GFS has very sharp cut off line through metro area have north west side get 3+, and southeast side get mostly sleet. It sure is going to be a tough forecast…

  54. Bob December 27, 2015 at 3:58 pm - Reply

    I think the GFS just realized the warm air aloft. It moved the snow West, cutting KC in half.

    • Heat Miser December 27, 2015 at 4:05 pm - Reply

      What does it show for Lawrence?

  55. Morgan December 27, 2015 at 4:02 pm - Reply

    Yup NWS saying less than an inch with a minimal icing threat as warm air wins. Really shouldn’t have expected anything different.

    • Weatherfreaker December 27, 2015 at 4:10 pm - Reply

      Morgan is that for whole KC metro? Now we just get rain and a little sleet? Or is that Lawrence?

      • Morgan December 27, 2015 at 4:11 pm - Reply

        This is for most of the viewing area. Mainly a sleet storm around here anyway according to literally all model guidance.

        • Alice December 27, 2015 at 4:30 pm - Reply

          Viewing area is 75 mile radius…..isn’t it ? (Or does anyone know ? )

  56. Alex December 27, 2015 at 4:12 pm - Reply

    Well it looks like we’re gonna get nailed here in St. Joseph at this point… I’ll post some links to data I think looks interesting right now.

    12Z Soundings have a full column of freezing temperatures in KC: http://www.spc.noaa.gov/exper/soundings/15122712_OBS/

    Could this signal an all snow start before the warm nose of the low digs north? Still waiting on the 18Z soundings; NWS is a bit slow getting those skew Ts published in the storm prediction center.

    Next point: The RAP is leaning WAY on the snow side of things for KC and points to the North and West. LOTS of snow.

    21Z RAP (Valid at 4PM, this is total snow through 9AM tomorrow; I always thought the RAP was always a little low on snowfall totals too. Take from that what you will) http://www.instantweathermaps.com/RAP-php/showmap-conussfc.php?run=2015122721&time=PER&var=ASNOWI&hour=018

    If you have a premium account on instantweathermaps, take a look at the loop of snowfall rates too. Several hours with large bands in excess of 2″/hr snowfall… CRAZY! Will be interesting to see if the last several RAP runs will verify with this snow. Certainly the QPF will be there!

    http://www.instantweathermaps.com/RAP-php/showmap-conussfc.php?run=2015122721&time=INSTANT&var=PTYPE&hour=012

    Sfc Precip Types according to RAP will be very tight and very dependent on the penetration of the warm nose at 750-850 mb at this point. A single degree shift in a 50mb thick layer could change precip types and substantially affect totals and impacts.

    And the 18Z NWS Storm Prediction Center final forecasts have made some big changes from the last several publications. Shift to the SE (better for KC) and more QPF. Still a good chance for >0.1″ of FZRA but a good chance for lots of folks to see >4″ snow as well. Wouldn’t be surprising for a good band to set up along the 4 state region of >10″ snow.

    NWS SPC Final Forecasts for 18Z: http://www.wpc.ncep.noaa.gov/wwd/day1_composite.gif

  57. f00dl3 December 27, 2015 at 4:20 pm - Reply

    And what’s to say that the warm air surging in won’t keep us above freezing. 7.5″ of sleet with 2.5″ of QPF would be quite historical. There’s a reason why it’s rare.

  58. Alex December 27, 2015 at 4:22 pm - Reply

    18Z GFS is weird… Look at differences in QPF between GFS and NAM @ 18Z.

    GFS: http://www.instantweathermaps.com/GFS-php/showmap-conussfc.php?run=2015122718&time=PER&var=APCPI&hour=084

    NAM: http://www.instantweathermaps.com/NAM-php/showmap-conussfc.php?run=2015122718&time=PER&var=APCPI&hour=084

    Where did that come from? That’s a half an inch decrease in QPF for the metro area since 6Z and 12Z on the GFS.

  59. Morgan December 27, 2015 at 4:23 pm - Reply

    We’re already sitting at 34. I just don’t see how it won’t be too warm when the low and associated moisture surge north. Sleet is best case scenario.

    • Alex December 27, 2015 at 4:30 pm - Reply

      The airport is at 31 and St. Joseph is at 30. Downtown areas are known to run 2-5 degrees warmer than the surrounding area… Use KCI as a guideline for temperatures outside of the city center.

      Fortunately the metro isn’t going to make the warm nose any warmer. The nose will just be a bit flatter on the skew t because it will cool less near the surface.

      • Morgan December 27, 2015 at 4:38 pm - Reply

        I live close to Waldo. That’s definitely in the city proper if you ask me. Sure places north and out in the burbs are cooler though.

  60. Tim December 27, 2015 at 4:28 pm - Reply

    I’m really unsure where you guys are getting your 18z GFS from who say it shows no snow in the KC area. Three different weather forecast model sites still show accumulating snow for the entire event showing 6-8″ here in KC. Even instant weather maps shows 6″+. Again what actually happens may be different.

  61. Tim December 27, 2015 at 4:30 pm - Reply

    I’m really unsure where you guys are getting your 18z GFS from who say it shows no snow in the KC area. All of the websites I am looking at still show 6-8″ here in KC. Again final results may end up different.

  62. Alice December 27, 2015 at 4:35 pm - Reply

    Gary not chiming in here since morning…..maybe he is on his way back to KC ?
    (Which would mean he thinks we are going to get a lot of snow ! )

    • heat miser December 27, 2015 at 4:39 pm - Reply

      I think he would have said if he was coming back…my opinion.

  63. Tim December 27, 2015 at 4:47 pm - Reply

    Funny how when the weather models and model websites dont meet personal predictions of those on this blog all of the sudden they arent good models or good model websites lol!!

  64. Waldo Weather December 27, 2015 at 4:47 pm - Reply

    Been watching the radar all day… Ready for it to hit!

  65. McCabe58 December 27, 2015 at 4:48 pm - Reply

    I thought with us being this close to the storm that the models can be thrown out altogether?..

    • Alex December 27, 2015 at 4:58 pm - Reply

      Realistically we’re still several hours out and the low hasn’t made a definitive move yet. Most models are in agreement by this time period and so we can look to current weather to get an idea of what’s happening but this storm is a real trickster!

      Probably the 18Z was the last model that mattered although I’m sure we’ll all look at 0Z too… The 0Z sounding will be SOOOOO important to look at though. Very excited to see what the column is looking like. We only get good soundings every 12 hours… Very limited data to work with.

  66. Baseball Mike December 27, 2015 at 4:49 pm - Reply

    Good evening-our NWS changed their snow total for Topeka west with higher amounts just a short time ago-here in Berryton they put us in 4-6 with 6-8 inches just 10 miles to our west that is the first change I have seen all day–also the clouds here have lowered showing a thicket stratus-in addition I am feeling a sharper bite on the wind meaning a little closer and more moisture coming in-we are at 27 currently
    Michael/Berryton/Topeka

  67. McCabe58 December 27, 2015 at 4:50 pm - Reply

    Also, looking at the radar, we’re going to be waiting quite some time before any form of precip begins to fall.

  68. Bill in Lawrence December 27, 2015 at 4:52 pm - Reply

    Interesting to see that the 21Z RAP has the surface low about 60 miles NE of where the 12Z NAM had it located….it is much closer to the 12Z GFS. I may be looking at this all wrong but it looks like this is going to take the more south and east track. I think it is important to note that the 18Z model runs do not have any new soundings put into them.

    It will be interesting to see what the 0Z runs show but it is probably more pertinent now to watch the radar and surface charts….

    What a storm to follow…

    • Alex December 27, 2015 at 5:02 pm - Reply

      Agreed Bill. 0Z NAM and perhaps runs through 0Z of RAP will be interesting to watch but I’m more concerned with a 0Z sounding (12Z sounding in KC was below 0C throughout the column !!!) and then will be interested in radar returns. The discrepancies in QPF between NAM and GFS are still troubling to me. GFS shows a weak, fast low. NAM shows a slow, northwest, intense low. RAP seems to have a mix of both. More SE track on the low but not quite as fast as GFS and better QPF.

  69. Mr. Pete December 27, 2015 at 4:59 pm - Reply

    I don’t think that moisture will ever get here! Also, Rock if you could see my back yard then you would know that I would never need to buy any firewood. My back yard is a forest!!!!

    • Rockdoc December 27, 2015 at 7:08 pm - Reply

      Oh, lucky you:) I found good hardwood and “real” logs in bundles at Home Depot off of Metcalf. They were almost gone when I stopped by to buy more about 1 o’clock. I have about 1/3-1/4 cord stocked. My back is giving out hauling it upstairs though.

  70. McCabe58 December 27, 2015 at 5:13 pm - Reply

    I wish we could get an update from an actual meteorologist. Followed the blog for a long time now and some of you fellow bloggers do a good job at interpreting the models, but it still would be nice for Gary or one of the other crew members to chime in an update. Hopefully Gary is on a plane back here!

  71. f00dl3 December 27, 2015 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    Precip may not start until after 3 AM at this rate. The low is just stalled out down there.

    • Dan December 27, 2015 at 5:32 pm - Reply

      Will probably be about a 12 hr. – 14 hr. event depending on what time it actually starts. Channel 41 Powercast is saying between 9:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. Funny how the low just stalled out and there was an invisible wall stalling it.

  72. f00dl3 December 27, 2015 at 5:29 pm - Reply

    What if it just tracks due east and does not do a northward turn? None of the models are showing that, but it’s not budging right now. If that happens we will get nothing.

  73. Blue Flash December 27, 2015 at 5:41 pm - Reply
  74. Waldo Weather December 27, 2015 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    JD updated the 41 blog… But nothing from Gary here…

  75. heat miser December 27, 2015 at 6:02 pm - Reply

    Hey Gary, how about an update?

    • Gary December 27, 2015 at 6:06 pm - Reply

      I can do one for you guys and gals! Let me organize my thoughts! This is so unusual!

      Gary

      • Waldo Weather December 27, 2015 at 6:08 pm - Reply

        THANK YOU!!!

      • Auri December 27, 2015 at 6:22 pm - Reply

        Thank you!

      • Rockdoc December 27, 2015 at 7:12 pm - Reply

        Hope you’ve been winning on the tables!!! Nice of you to check in on us kids. Leave the kids alone for awhile and look what they get into! LOL…..

    • Alice December 27, 2015 at 6:30 pm - Reply

      Heat,
      Thanks for asking Gary for an update.

  76. Clint December 27, 2015 at 6:02 pm - Reply

    What is causing the RAP model to blast western missouri with snow

    • Gary December 27, 2015 at 6:06 pm - Reply

      Clint,

      It’s wrong! There is a warm layer above freezing that is west and north of KC that must be overcome. If you look at, what I think you are looking at on the RUC model, it just doesn’t look right with the area of sleet in the middle.

      Gary

      • Clint December 27, 2015 at 6:08 pm - Reply

        Well tarter sauce but thanks for the answering

      • Rockdoc December 27, 2015 at 7:27 pm - Reply

        Saw the same thing. It’s flipped! Did some change the coding on the model to try and handle the complexities?

  77. Bill in Lawrence December 27, 2015 at 6:31 pm - Reply

    Just a random thought before Gary explains what is really happening!!! 🙂

    Looking at the radar and the water vapor imagery it appears the low is on the move. The first small bands of precip are moving towards Topeka and Lawerence from the south east….kind of like Rush’s Cygnus X-1!!!! 🙂

    Will be interesting to track the low on satellite imagery and see if it actually does track through Arkansas or through Oklahoma into southern Missouri. My very unprofessional opinion based on the wind….radar….and piston of the front is that it will cross into Arkansas and track NE west of Springfield..similar to GFS. Again a truly unprofessional opinion!!!!

    Really it is time now too just watch the radar and satellite….look at the 0Z soundings and maybe a look at the Upper Level Low track on the 0Z models….other than that….it may best to just look out the window!!!! 🙂

    Currently I’m at around 31 degrees…..will be an interesting night ahead!!

    Bill in Lawrence

  78. L.B December 27, 2015 at 6:32 pm - Reply

    flurries here south of gardner

  79. f00dl3 December 27, 2015 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    Gary – JD seems pretty sold on freezing rain…
    http://media2.kshb.com/weatherimages/2010_7_day_forecast.jpg

    100% chance and Freezing Rain – no mention of sleet or snow.

    • Heat Miser December 27, 2015 at 6:35 pm - Reply

      Not true, he mention a dusting to 2 inches for KC on the tail end.

  80. L.B December 27, 2015 at 6:35 pm - Reply

    very light but it is snow, not grapple

  81. Mr. Pete December 27, 2015 at 6:36 pm - Reply

    Gary do you still see any scenarios wher this whole thing is still a cold rain event? It’s 33 outside here and holding steady.

  82. L.B December 27, 2015 at 6:41 pm - Reply

    I have 31 on my jeep therm. Little snow flakes here and there.

  83. Alice December 27, 2015 at 6:47 pm - Reply

    New blog is up

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