A Northern Plains & Upper Midwest Winter Storm

/A Northern Plains & Upper Midwest Winter Storm

A Northern Plains & Upper Midwest Winter Storm

Good morning bloggers,

Kansas City Weather Time-Line:

  • Today:  Windy and unseasonably warm through 2 PM. Then, the wind will shift to the northwest with temperatures dropping later this afternoon. High:  68°


The weather pattern is fascinating and also seemingly frustrating for the weather enthusiasts around Kansas City.  If you have been monitoring the computer models and waiting for something exciting to show up, then you are likely quite frustrated.  Oh, it is exciting today way up to the  north and we will begin with that, but farther south it is dry, getting drier, and there seems to be no major storm systems in sight.

Screen Shot 2017-12-04 at 7.17.07 AM

This current storm tracking into the plains is right on schedule.  The LRC is coming even more into focus as we move through this first week of December. It now appears that the cycle length may very well be closer to 42-49 days (centered on 45.5 days), which was our first assumption way back in October.  In my 30 years of experience in tracking and finding this big piece of the atmospheric puzzle, it has usually taken until around December 10th or so before we can finally narrow in on the cycle length. This storm looks awfully similar to one from 42 1/2 days before Tuesday night. Take a look:

Screen Shot 2017-12-04 at 7.30.51 AM

If you are new to the LRC, then let me introduce it to you.  According to the LRC:

  • A unique pattern sets up in the fall between October 1st and November 30th
  • Long term long-wave troughs and ridges become established (anchor troughs and ridges).  These large scale features are where storm systems will be reaching their peak strength most often, and the ridges are where they will reach their weakest strength most often. If you are near a one of the anchor troughs, then you have a much better chance of having an above average number of precipitation producing storm systems.
  • The pattern is cycling, and a cycle length becomes established by around the first half of December. This cycle length then is set, and consistent from the rest of fall, winter, spring, and through the next summer until another unique pattern sets up the next October

We have had a unique pattern, one that has never happened before, set up in the past few weeks. We make a lot of assumptions, but it is likely now set. The LRC itself is almost flawless. The accuracy of the cycling pattern is nearly 100%. The challenge for the weather forecaster is to make forecasts in the future from one day to up to almost 300 days from now and to get them accurately predicted. If you can get 60 to 70% of your forecasts predicted accurately, then this would be just incredible. This is what we strive for at Weather2020, LLC.  We have been increasingly accurate in the past few years, but 60 to 70% also means a 30 to 40% error rate.

Just look at our first true comparison from our first cycle to the beginning of the second cycle. These two maps are 42 and a half days apart. Just a week ago it appeared to be 49 days.  We will confirm the cycle length in the next three weeks. For now what does this mean? In KC, it is very dry. Our winter forecast is for it to be dry, but also for this pattern to produce some snow, 21.5″ in my forecast for the winter season.

Today’s Surface Map, from 7:43 AM central time:


A strong cold front is approaching from the northwest.  The chance of rain with a few thunderstorms increases after the front passes by KC.  So, the chance of measurable rain is around 20% for a very brief window early this afternoon as the front passes by.

What happens next will be monitored closely.  Will it snow later this week? Kansas City has not had one snowflake yet on the south side of the city. KCI Airport did have snow on October 31st. But, for the rest of us, we are still waiting.

Have a great day, and thank you for participating and sharing in the Action Weather Blog experience. Go over to Weather2020.com and click on the blog over there to join in the conversation.


2017-12-05T07:55:31+00:00December 4th, 2017|General|68 Comments


  1. Lary Gezak December 4, 2017 at 8:31 am - Reply


  2. Clint December 4, 2017 at 8:32 am - Reply

    Gary if you were entering the snow flake contest today what day would you pick now with the LRC coming into more focus.

    • Gary December 4, 2017 at 8:39 am - Reply

      March 17th! Just kidding. There are slim chances showing up on the latest (midnight) GFS model in the next ten days. There are other systems in the second half of December that could do it as well. But, right now the frustrations are mounting. La Niña is coming in weaker, not moderate. The AO and NAO indexes have trended to neutral, not deep negative like they were forecast to be by some of the models. The 17 days of storm systems has just passed by dry. The next time those come through in January should prove more interesting than we just experienced. I am just thinking out loud here, as the trends have not gone into a favorable position for KC to have any excitement.


      • Snow Miser December 4, 2017 at 10:32 am - Reply

        Does this mean your 21 inch forecast is already suspect?

  3. f00dl3 December 4, 2017 at 8:39 am - Reply

    Well the entire 2nd half of the first cycle and first half of the second cycle appears to be the panic period. I wonder if the 2nd half of the 2nd cycle will be more interesting since the 2nd half of the first cycle was dull?

  4. terry December 4, 2017 at 8:47 am - Reply

    Gary We are going outta town to Branson Missouri On the 15th December And coming back December 17th. What’s your thinking on the weather ?

  5. Three7s December 4, 2017 at 8:54 am - Reply

    RIP winter 2017-2018

    • Jason December 4, 2017 at 9:14 am - Reply


    • Heat Miser December 4, 2017 at 10:11 am - Reply

      lOl..oh stop the drama.

      • DanT December 4, 2017 at 11:02 am - Reply

        If it refuses to snow can we just keep it warm?

    • Bluetooth December 4, 2017 at 7:05 pm - Reply

      The end of winter…say it aint so….

  6. terry December 4, 2017 at 8:58 am - Reply

    Gary has a LRC pattern That you thought would be stormy part of LRC pattern was Dry ? The part of that was to be Dry in LRC pattern . Have They ever flip flop where the Track part of the pappern was actually stormier ?

  7. Clint December 4, 2017 at 8:59 am - Reply

    Gary another blogger who believes in the LRC mentioned that this current part of the pattern fits well with the October 6th,7th part of the pattern any chance we are in a 30 harmonic cycle of the current LRC?

  8. Jason December 4, 2017 at 9:15 am - Reply

    This Winter is trending the same direction as the Chiefs season. Down, down, down.

    • f00dl3 December 4, 2017 at 9:25 am - Reply

      Oh it started out so exciting in October!

      • Richard December 4, 2017 at 7:11 pm - Reply


    • Bluetooth December 4, 2017 at 7:07 pm - Reply

      Jason, there was a lot of premature optimism….

  9. Urbanity December 4, 2017 at 9:30 am - Reply

    I contend the weather pattern isn’t entirely unique from the previous year, the precipitation dates in Oct and Nov were the same in 2016 as they were in 2017, air temps have been cooler but the ability of the atmosphere to produce precipitation is again lacking. When I speak of weather pattern I’m talking storm systems affecting a regional area. We have had and will continue to have significant ridging from SE California eastward to Texas up through Kansas, this has not changed from last year. Winter typically presents with a large H over the SW, but intermittent disruptions of the pattern that breaks down the H over the SW has not been seen now for 3 years. The micro pattern of where storms go is still different than the overall dominant pattern, which to me is reflected in consistent dryness during the late fall and winter months.

    • REAL HUMEDUDE December 4, 2017 at 9:41 am - Reply

      Keith- the weather never changes much out your way, and its usually dry out there which explains why there aren’t any major ( or minor ) rivers from your point out to west Kansas. The weather changes elsewhere, but you are going to have a dry winter 8/10 years, and a drier year on average 6/10 years out there. Its not something that just started lately, this is the climate in central KS. Its dry out there, most of the time. 20% of the time you will luck into an active pattern, but that leaves 80% of years that will be boring such as the past few.

      • Urbanity December 4, 2017 at 10:02 am - Reply

        Not correct Hume, and I’m not just talking here, take Manhattan, Topeka, KC, Denver, Flagstaff, etc..all in the same boat. We typically get more snow per year out hear than KC. A drier winter than other seasons is typical, but that doesn’t mean no snow and no weather systems…..no “Panhandle Hooks” for several years.

      • Troy December 4, 2017 at 10:20 am - Reply

        It is a bit drier in Central KS on average but this is very dry and I am concerned a drought might set in at least through April if I am reading this right. The problem seems to me that while we are at times being influenced by a large trough, that trough is in the wrong spot. We need the base in the 4 corners region to allow gulf moisture to interact with storms ejecting NE. Now the last two winters have had some of that but its been too warm for snow and we got rain. Both Dec 15 and Jan 17 were the wettest in 50 years at my location. This year we are getting nothing at all as we are on the Western edge of the trough when it deepens and the flow comes from the NNW instead of SW. Hopefully when the moisture returns in May and June we will get some fronts to pass through and give us some storms. One thing I don’t understand for sure is whether the first 10 days of Oct are part of this LRC or last years?? It was wet here for those 10 days and then just shut off. I hope at least some of that pattern returns at some point.

        • Urbanity December 4, 2017 at 3:37 pm - Reply

          Well said Troy, I agree with you and also wonder about the first 10 days of October…it doesn’t seem that pattern has come back around since then and we are at 60 days out.

    • Three7s December 4, 2017 at 9:45 am - Reply

      Not quite, don’t you remember how stormy California was last year? Not even close to the same pattern.

      • Urbanity December 4, 2017 at 9:56 am - Reply

        Northern Cali

  10. REAL HUMEDUDE December 4, 2017 at 9:35 am - Reply

    Cycle 3 will be a lot more like cycle 1 was, every other cycle people write it down cause that’s the missing link. I caught 20+ bass yesterday in an hour at my Pit, the Super moon paired with warmed weather really had them seeking one last meal before cold weather settles in. I was doing well with a crankbait, my buddy did ok with a jig. Goodbye fishing, maybe see you at the January thaw?

    • Troy December 4, 2017 at 10:22 am - Reply

      I am hoping for some ice fishing weather. Last year I only got about 1 good week to do it before it got too warm. That’s the shortest season we’ve had up here in quite a while.

  11. Jsquibble December 4, 2017 at 9:39 am - Reply

    On the maps you showed above that matches today’s date show the waves/storms a lot father north than the previous cycle. Isn’t it suppose to be further south and stronger with the seasonal changes and stronger jet stream?

    • Clint December 4, 2017 at 10:39 am - Reply

      I thought so to. I think the cycle length is very much still in question

      • Clint December 4, 2017 at 10:40 am - Reply

        Is it maybe around 58 days or so?

  12. Steve December 4, 2017 at 9:43 am - Reply

    When can you get the full data on Tropical Tidbits? Just now pulled it up on the GFS and only shows 42 hrs out. Thanks

    • Lary Gezak December 4, 2017 at 9:54 am - Reply

      12z is still rolling out. Will be fully released around 10:50

  13. Brad December 4, 2017 at 10:35 am - Reply

    Slight risk for severe weather has just been issued for central Missouri, well east of Kansas CIty

  14. f00dl3 December 4, 2017 at 10:45 am - Reply

    What’s really mind blowing if you look back to 9/13 – 9/20 time frame the sequence of storms to the west looks identical to the model forecasts for this Arctic surge. Just offset much further west.

  15. Snow Miser December 4, 2017 at 10:58 am - Reply

    I think I’ve found where all our snow is going:

    35 inches in north wales and eastern England?

    • DanT December 4, 2017 at 11:04 am - Reply

      I like the Europe LRC better…

    • numb3rsguy December 4, 2017 at 1:05 pm - Reply

      Geez, Europe is getting pounded right now. Snow all the way down Italy and some in Central Spain. Lets get some of that to shift this way!

  16. Bill December 4, 2017 at 11:14 am - Reply

    Bring on the sun and 70 degree days for all of winter! #earlyspring

  17. Craig December 4, 2017 at 12:36 pm - Reply

    Hi, Gary.
    Can you please take a second and explain for all of us what is missing today?
    A strong front is slicing into 70-degree, moist air but as of now there’s no rain with it. However, as you explain, all the rain will only develop later today and after the front has passed KC.
    Why is this? It can’t be for lack of forcing. Is there a cap for now?
    Would love to get a quick layman’s explanation.
    Thanks in advance.

    • REAL HUMEDUDE December 4, 2017 at 1:26 pm - Reply

      Read NWS discussion, the front and the shortwave are disjointed, once they catch up to each other that’s when the forcing will be strong enough to initiate convection. As usual, something is “missing” aka wrong spot.

    • Urbanity December 4, 2017 at 1:44 pm - Reply

      Craig, I’ve often pondered the theory behind colliding air masses, we all remember hearing that growing up that when cold collides with warm you get vertical instability, moisture is often the result. That doesn’t really seem to hold water…no pun intended.

  18. sedsinkc December 4, 2017 at 1:04 pm - Reply

    I’m sooo excited! There’s a little shower on the west side of KC metro! Wowzers! Jeepers! :/

  19. Urbanity December 4, 2017 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    My prediction on Gary’s blog way back when for the first inch of snowfall was Jan 1st around 2am……I’m thinking that’s right on target.

  20. REAL HUMEDUDE December 4, 2017 at 1:54 pm - Reply

    Showers are popping fast, and strengthening ralidly. I’m hoping for a quick downpour at the farm to help settle the dust for awhile, I’ve got a shot for next hour and then it will pass with haste

    • REAL HUMEDUDE December 4, 2017 at 3:39 pm - Reply

      Got a very strong line segment at the farm, close to 1/2″ in 10 minutes. Not bad for a December thunderstorm I thought I’d miss!
      The winter wheat is doing great locally the warm weather and sufficient subsoil mlisture has it pretty shaggy, even better with this 1/2″

  21. Bobbie December 4, 2017 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    This front will light up come this spring

    • Bluetooth December 4, 2017 at 7:27 pm - Reply

      Right—light up aisle 8 where the garden hoses are sold…..

  22. Snowflake December 4, 2017 at 3:27 pm - Reply

    Gary —

    Out of curiosity — you mention above that it appears that the cycle length may be around 42-49 days and that was your first assumption in October…

    If your cycle theory states the new pattern starts in October, how could you possibly come up with a cycle length in October before one cycle is even close to done?

    • Snow Miser December 4, 2017 at 4:12 pm - Reply

      He didn’t. He just said above he can’t determine a cycle length until early December:

      “In my 30 years of experience in tracking and finding this big piece of the atmospheric puzzle, it has usually taken until around December 10th or so before we can finally narrow in on the cycle length”

    • Gary December 4, 2017 at 5:15 pm - Reply

      If you go back to that blog entry, you can see how I came up with this cycle length. I am still not 100% there, but close. I used a harmonic of 15 days that seemed apparent, and it seems to have worked.

      Now, on this seemingly horrible pattern KC is once again in, my goodness. It is so dry. We will discuss this tomorrow.


      • Richard December 4, 2017 at 6:56 pm - Reply

        “Seemingly” horrible pattern ? So you must be seeing something, right ?

        But at 5pm on kshb you said “dry dry dry.” !!
        Now here you are on a comment saying “it is wo dry.”
        That is what a few of us have been getting FLACK, from others, for saying.
        We say dry and get flack. You say dry, and get a pass.
        That is why I said I was just following you, the leader of the pack

        • Bluetooth December 4, 2017 at 7:23 pm - Reply

          Richard, I think Gary had the best of intentions when he made his winter snowfall prediction. As Gary has said, the NAO and the AO are trending neutral to positive. La Nina is turning into La Nada. It certainly is dry, which no on can deny. 21 inches of snow under these circumstances is pure fantasy and a drought going into the spring is a strong possibility. The implications going forward for farmers is bleak if these conditions continue.

          • Richard December 4, 2017 at 7:55 pm - Reply

            He really should hold off on his snowfall prediction until mid Dec. like the cycle length can’t be judged until then.
            But I know the viewing public, ratings, and competitors make a compelling reason to come up with the prediction sooner than he feels comforble with.

            But, my above point was mainly to point out that those of us who want to say “it’s DRY” should not have our feet held to the fire for saying it, when Gary says it too.

            • Bluetooth December 4, 2017 at 9:08 pm - Reply

              I agree wholeheartedly Richard…..we should be able to call it as we see it.

  23. Michael Garner December 4, 2017 at 4:48 pm - Reply

    The winter atmosphere has just never been able to fully recover since that last great winter storm in Feb ‘14. Just takes time and patience, eventually that storm will cycle back through….it’s just a very long cycle of like almost 4 years. Come February 2018 that storm has to come back thru, right? Haha

    • Bluetooth December 4, 2017 at 7:24 pm - Reply

      That’s funny….what shall we call the 4 year cycle…the Garner Recurring Cycle (GRC)???

  24. Lary Gezak December 4, 2017 at 5:37 pm - Reply

    I have long theorized — as Gary’s twin brother — that there is an invisible “dome” around KC. Precip seems to develop to our west, skip us, and then redevelop t the east. This is a serious theory. I am calling it the “GRC – Gezak’s Reoccurring Cycle” You heard it here first, bloggers.

    The dome theory — the GRC.

    • Richard December 4, 2017 at 7:00 pm - Reply

      It is not your theory, you didn’t come up with it.

      It is fact for many winters.

    • Bluetooth December 4, 2017 at 7:25 pm - Reply

      The LGRC??

  25. Brian December 4, 2017 at 8:15 pm - Reply

    The lbgtq cycle?

    • Richard December 4, 2017 at 8:28 pm - Reply

      Wtf ??

    • Bobbie December 4, 2017 at 9:11 pm - Reply

      LOL too funny!

  26. KS Jones December 4, 2017 at 8:49 pm - Reply

    This November was the driest recorded in New Orleans in roughly 70 years. . . October and November are typically the driest months of the year in New Orleans, which, otherwise, is about as damp and as rainy a city as you can find. Average rainfall in November is about 4.49 inches. . . This November only 0.06 of an inch of rain was recorded . . . The recent run of dry weather is an about-face from the summer, which was officially the rainiest on record in New Orleans. 

  27. Emaw December 4, 2017 at 8:58 pm - Reply

    Dome theory, aka “Tonganoxie Split” coined by Dan Henry back in the 70’s. I think there’s something to this.

  28. MikeL December 5, 2017 at 6:33 am - Reply

    Remember when everyone was saying this winter couldn’t be worse than the last three? Well, guess what….

    • Anonymous December 5, 2017 at 7:39 am - Reply

      Well it not going to be like the last three winters. It’s not even winter yet !

      • MikeL December 5, 2017 at 7:57 am - Reply

        We are already in meteorological winter – started Dec 1.

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