The Dry Pattern Continues

/The Dry Pattern Continues

The Dry Pattern Continues

Good Wednesday bloggers,

Here is a look at the rainfall since August 1st.  It was quite wet during the summer, remember the flooding? It remained wet through October 22nd, three weeks into the new LRC weather pattern, as we had 4.87″ for October. Since October 22nd it has really been dry with KCI seeing 0.27″ since then, with many locations around the region having seen less than that.

We are not alone in this dryness as Gary showed on Tuesday with the 30 day percentage of average rainfall across the USA. The dryness extends from coast to coast and border to border. The state that has seen the most precipitation as compared to average is Idaho.

So, in our winter forecast we went for around to slightly above average snowfall. Have we made a mistake? Should we change it? Before I answer those questions, let’s look back one year ago. Last winter, at the end of November, we issued our winter forecast, calling for a warm winter with below average snowfall. December came in 1.4° degrees below average with a low of -9° on the 18th. We had 2.3″ of snow for December with the GFS and especially the EURO about this time last year showing endless cold and tens of inches of snow for our area.  It looked like we made a huge mistake. We were being asked if we were going to change the winter forecast, but we stuck with our original thoughts and we know what happened the rest of the winter, not much and even less than we forecast.

So, here we sit one year later, sitting on a forecast of around 20″ of snow. I went 19″ of snow, while Gary went 21.5″ of snow and we can’t buy a drop or a snowflake. Although we may see a drop and a snowflake this evening, more on that below. Last year was not the only example of us issuing a winter forecast and December acting the opposite. So, the answer to the questions above, is no. We must stick with our original thinking.  This first cycle of the LRC is having our storm systems, not only shifted well east, but dysfunctional.  Remember, October had 4.87″ of rain, most during the new LRC, this counts for something. Also, just looking at the pattern from October 10-November 15 there is almost no way we end up with less than 10″ of snow.  Now, all this being said, let’s see what we are saying  at the end of this month into early January.

Now, let’s get into the forecast the next few days. The snowflake contest may end from northern Georgia to the Florida panhandle to New Orleans!

WEDNESDAY: A cold front is racing south and will move through this evening with clouds, wind and a sprinkle or flurry. There is Arctic air behind this front, but that will be directed to the northeast of our area.

THURSDAY MORNING: Lows tomorrow morning will be 15°-20° with wind chills in the single digits.

THURSDAY AFTERNOON: It will be sunny, breezy and cold with highs in the low 30s.  While, we are sunny and dry, a wet storm system will be forming in the Gulf of Mexico.

FRIDAY MORNING: We will be cold and calm with clouds moving in ahead of the next mostly dry front.  Yes, those are snowflakes in south Texas and even to New Orleans! The rain is extensive across the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast USA coast.

FRIDAY AFTERNOON: We will be near 40° with a partly to mostly cloudy sky, while the southeast is having a rather wet winter storm. The GFS and Euro do not have much snow, but the NAM and Canadian model go nuts for snow from New Orleans to Atlanta! Wow!

FRIDAY NIGHT: This data has the snowstorm from New Orleans to Atlanta! Huh? Crazy! If it is a few degrees warmer, then this is mostly cold rain, something fascinating to track as we twiddle our thumbs around here.

SATURDAY: The big southeast storm system is heading up the east coast as a snow system crosses the Great Lakes. We sit sunny, dry and cold after another dry cold front moves by Friday night. It will likely warm to the 50s Sunday ahead of the next front Monday.

Have a great rest of your day and night.

Jeff Penner

2017-12-07T07:43:13+00:00December 6th, 2017|General|46 Comments


  1. Bobbie December 6, 2017 at 12:33 pm - Reply

    RIP Winter 2017-2018 lol

  2. Urbanity December 6, 2017 at 1:12 pm - Reply

    Maybe the active pattern will shift into our area during the coldest months.

  3. REAL HUMEDUDE December 6, 2017 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    Cool, warmer, front, cold. Cool , warmer, front, cold.Repeat until Spring time

  4. Snow Miser December 6, 2017 at 1:22 pm - Reply

    It’s a sad state of affairs when New Orleans is getting more snow than Kansas City.

  5. Weatherby Tom December 6, 2017 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    Whatever happened to all the maps of snowstorms 10 days out? I miss those, even if they were fantasy…

  6. REAL HUMEDUDE December 6, 2017 at 1:28 pm - Reply

    Not to be negative, but last winter Jeff was quoted saying “how are we even going to get 10″ snow when there aren’t any storms to speak of crossing the country” , or something to that effect.
    That appeared to be correct over the winter,but that spring we got ULL after ULL blasting our area with tons of rain. Where were these systems before Spring? It’s as if they didn’t exist until the Spring cycles came through which would be contradictory to LRC theory. What happened there?

    • Troy Newman December 6, 2017 at 4:13 pm - Reply

      I agree that summer didn’t turn out quite as forecast but there were some storms last winter and a few were pretty dynamic. On Christmas Day we had the only Severe Thunderstorm I ever remember in Dec up here. It had enough wind to blow over about 6 center pivots. We also had the ice storm that dumped a Jan record 2.5″ of rain here as well as broke down a lot of tree branches once the wind started blowing. I think the ridge got so strong and far North at times that some of these systems actually slipped South of it. If you look where the drought was most severe it was in North Dakota were it was hotter in June and July than KS at times. I can see the LRC setup until summer and then I am not so sure how to read it. The main jet is so far North and the weather features by then are so subtle that NWS often can’t really see them more than a few hours before they happen.

  7. DanT December 6, 2017 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    It will be interesting to see if this pattern of very little moisture during the winter months and above avg. moisture in the spring/ summer months continues. Starting to become more of a climate pattern of dry winters and wet summers all occurring within the LRC. . Time will tell.

    • Heat Miser December 6, 2017 at 5:51 pm - Reply

      Holy cow, that was a novel! :-O

  8. Bill in Lawrence December 6, 2017 at 1:32 pm - Reply

    Gary and Jeff:
    Happy Wednesday to you sirs and to all of the 20/20 Bloggers.

    Just a few random points on this early March type of day. Before I go any further, I would like to throw out a huge caveat-I am a history teacher and do not have the science acumen as many posters on this site such as foodl3, Rockdoc and Seds. so what follows should for sure be taken with a huge grain of salt. Also, I know many will not agree with me which great-as William Hurt said in the Big Chill…just trying to keep the conversation lively!!

    My first point is regarding the LRC. I am fully convinced of the LRC and this should come as no surprise. I have seen enough evidence presented over the past 10 years to convince me. More importantly, I am also convinced that it is indeed a very strong forecasting tool. Have the forecasts been perfect? Of course not-last summer is a great example of that and Gary and Jeff would be the first to admit that it is still a work very much in progress. However, Gary and the team have made some very strong forecasts that have gone against the model guidance but they knew based on the LRC; for our local area they were able to forecast several rain events this summer before the models locked onto where the heaviest bands would set up. I will still reiterate that this is a work in progress and there will always be missed forecasts. There are so many players (for lack of a better term) active in each LRC that trying to account for each one of them in every cycle will always be difficult. Looking at the map that Gary posted of the storm that just passed, all the features are there. However, in cycle 2, the ridge was a bit more inland and more in a north/south axis which then forced featured 2 to be furthew3r north which then allowed the storm coming across the lower 48 to be much further north. All the players were there and really close to the same locations but there were subtle differences. In the end, we are very fortunate…we are privy to the evolution of this hypothesis which gives us the successes and challenges; this is evolving for Gary and Jeff as well and we get to go for the ride. That to me is pretty cool. Now, not everyone is going to agree with theories and maybe even the evidence shown and that is okay. I do not believe that Gary and Jeff want an echo chamber here-a respectful place yes…echo chamber no. However, I do think it behooves us to realize/consider that this is a hypothesis that is still evolving and that there will of course be bumps and setbacks along the road. Again, I just feel fortunate that Gary has provided this blog which gives us a front row seat to their work.

    There have been several posts that discuss the possibility of these past 4 years signaling a switch into a new climate regime of more arid and drier. First of all, I do know that the climate changes and will always change-I am not a climate change denier. I mean come on…just a short 10,000 years ago Chicago was encased in ice, most of Cleopatra’s Palace is now under water and Ravenna was like Venice. So the climate has of course changed and in about 10,000 years will look nothing like today even if humans had never evolved on this planet. One can believe in climate change, be an environmentalist/be open to a new fuel source and even believe humans have an impact on climate in some fashion but not believe in the Michael Mann-Bill Nye-Gavin Schmidt-Al Gore et al climate change where C02 is the main control knob-it is possible believe it or not. That said, the possibility of us transitioning into different climate regime is of course a possibility. There are papers that posit that western Kansas endured a 100 year drought in the 1300’s that turned the SW corner of the state into a true desert. I would imagine that would also have large effect on precipitation in this area especially in the winter months and looking at the collapse of several NA civilizations in that time frame gives credence to this. However, 4 years does not a climate shift make in my humble opinion. Also, how do we truly know what the real climate of this area is really like? We only have at best 100 years of true records maybe another 50 years of diaries and articles, some oral histories passed down over generations and a field of climate data with ice cores etc. that is still in its infancy stage. For all we truly know, maybe winters here are normally (over a span of hundreds/thousands of years) dry and mildish. That would actually make more sense when you consider how moisture starved we are in winter and that we only have one cold air source and 5 warm air sources. Most of us on this blog remember the 70’s, the winter of 1992-1993, a few winters in the 80’s and of course the 3 out of 4 blockbuster winters we had from 2009-2014….we may be a bit skewed in what winter is supposed to be like. I know..I know…my grandpa wrote about this etc…well, from 1850-1930 if you had even a cold snap like we had last December, that is going to leave a mark in your collective memory more than the 10-12 days of temps in the 40’s and 50’s with lows in the 20’s and 30’s. Whatever the case, I do not think 4 years is enough time to show a change in a climate regime. (I’m not even sure if 50-60 years is enough…)

    Finally regarding this year’s LRC. Again, I am sticking with my 13-15 for Lawrence with 2 nights at least below 0. While this may seem like I am grasping at straws or “wish casting” that is not the case. To me, there is enough evidence of storms and fronts to produce that much and yes enough evidence to even go with Gary’s 21 for KC. Obviously the fly in the ointment is that SW ridge which as of now, looks much more dominant and strong than last year’s ridge. If that ridge can retrograde further west or even into Mexico as it did in November, which could allow some fun. AS with winter, that ridge for sure needs to be accounted for in any summer forecast. If it moves east at all into Oklahoma then game over man game over…whatever the case, let the dice fly high….we’ll see come April 2nd one way or the other.

    Again, just a history teacher here so take all of this with a huge grain of salt. I also realize there are many points to this post that many will disagree with or think are flat out wrong or just wonder if I will ever shut up…that’s great…that is what a blog is for. Just know that if I do not get back in a timely fashion it is due to finals that begin tomorrow and some projects I have in the fire.

    Have a great Wednesday everyone

    Bill in Washington Creek Valley in Lawrence

    • Jason December 6, 2017 at 3:01 pm - Reply

      Excellent post.

    • Troy Newman December 6, 2017 at 4:28 pm - Reply

      That is about as sensible of a position on climate as I have seen posted anywhere and I think more people share your view but its always the extreme opinions we seem to hear. Unfortunately politics and climate got thrown together and that is usually bad news for common sense. I do think a lot of people are just unaware of what the weather is capable of and seem so shocked when extreme weather events occur. Sadly those who wish to advance their agenda use this to their advantage. It makes it hard for us that care about the environment but also about common sense and good science as you feel forced to pick a side and don’t totally agree with either one.

    • sedsinkc December 6, 2017 at 5:13 pm - Reply

      Bill, good post. You make some valid observations. Climate is complex. There are a number of influences. Certainly, natural climate fluctuations occur all the time. What has happened in the past 150 years ago is mankind has increased atmospheric contents of gases that act to change the energy balance between incoming and outgoing heat radiation. The physics is clear and undeniable. Absent of other factors, the added greenhouse gases will warm the planet. While other natural fluctuations are still occurring and always will, man has imposed on that natural variability an unmistakable warming signal. It is seen in the form of shrinking glaciers and slowly warming oceans. There will always be extreme weather events, as there have been in the past. Climate is the average of all the weather, and the climate is warming. It’s obvious to anyone that winters here in KC are getting milder, to give a local example. This is true in many places, a product of a significant warming in the Arctic in general. Our lowest average high temp in winter is now 38 degrees. When I moved here in 1994, it was 34.
      I saw you made a comment about Cleopatra’s palace being underwater. That is more related to subsidence of the soft mud sediments of the Nile delta on which Alexandria is built, than global sea level rise. The same effect is causing much of Louisiana to slowly sink into the Gulf of Mexico, as most of Louisiana is located on Mississippi River delta muds. Slowly rising sea levels makes this effect worse.

    • JoeK December 6, 2017 at 5:47 pm - Reply


      Excellent post as usual. You and I share the exact same opinion regarding climate change. I have repeatedly stated that we only have accurate records for the past century. As for science, it is the pursuit of the truth, not necessarily the truth itself meaning, it is constantly evolving. We continue to grow in our knowledge so when I hear anybody say, “we know what will happen in 5, 10 or 50 years” I simply laugh. I come from a family of science/engineering and my son majored in Physics and Environmental Science and guess what, his professor agreed with us as well, but said many in the science community have to be very careful about how they articulate their opinions, isn’t that strange? At any rate, I too, am sticking with my 20-24 inches for this season. Something tells me that cycle 3 will be very exciting for us in the KC area

  9. stl78 December 6, 2017 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    Well written bill! I hope for u snow lovers the flakes to your nw hold together. Light snow showers here in se mn. Im ready for this wind to die down already

  10. Snowflake December 6, 2017 at 2:02 pm - Reply

    Jeff – If early October saw several inches of rain in the first cycle of this LRC, where was that rain in the start of the second cycle this month?

    • Snow Miser December 6, 2017 at 2:03 pm - Reply

      If the cycle is about 45 days, as Gary has said, that wouldn’t arrive until mid-December or thereabouts.

      • Snow Miser December 6, 2017 at 2:04 pm - Reply

        Oops that should be mid-November, and then again late December.

        • Snowflake December 6, 2017 at 4:26 pm - Reply

          Where was all early October rain the next cycle through; in mid-late November?

  11. KS Jones December 6, 2017 at 2:06 pm - Reply

    Should get a trace of moisture if this holds together

    • Troy Newman December 6, 2017 at 4:02 pm - Reply

      ITS SNOWING!! He had a good flurry through here that lasted about 4-5 minutes. It was pretty to look at anyway.

  12. numb3rsguy December 6, 2017 at 2:18 pm - Reply

    I remember as a kid being fascinated by snow during the winter. Every kid loves looking out the window and seeing snow flying. I didn’t watch the weather forecast, and the internet was not available; I just waited for it to snow and if it did, it did, and if it didn’t, it didn’t, and I had no clue how much was going to fall. Now as an adult, I check this weather blog 4 times a day, i have several other weather blogs i read, I watch every new model run I am awake for, and i have become somewhat addicted to news as it comes out in real time. We can go from “look at the huge storm in 10 days!” to “the climate is changing and it’ll never snow again in KC” in a matter of 6 hours when the new models come out. My point in saying this is the following: No matter whether i was a kid, or an obsessed adult, winter still takes the same 90 days to pass through as it did when i was a kid, and despite the presence or absence of snowfall, what was going to happen, happened.

    I am excited about the LRC and the potential it brings for forecasting the weather, and i know my weather interest will only die when i do, but for the time being, i need to learn to chill out (winter pun intended) and not freak out so much and just enjoy the weather we are having, be it warm and dry, or cold and snowy.

  13. NoBeachHere December 6, 2017 at 2:46 pm - Reply

    This is a question for you numbers guy, seds and a few others with higher educations.

    We know in the Atlantic, there is the Gulf Stream and a few other continuous currents.
    I would assume the Pacific does as well.
    Since the massive earthquakes off the coast of Japan, 2011?, how much disruption to the usual current may of occurred?
    And to what extent did it possibly affect NH weather ?

    How long before the current has established itself again?

    To be clear, I’m not asking about global warming stuff or none of that, just specifically my questions above.

    • numb3rsguy December 6, 2017 at 3:00 pm - Reply

      Oddly enough, the current in the Atlantic that keeps Europe relatively warm for it’s latitude was discovered by Benjamin Franklin in the 1700’s. He was actually commissioned by the crown to find a faster trade route across the Atlantic to the colonies. He found that the current off the coast of New England at a specific latitude could carry ships across the ocean faster than at others. It wasn’t until modern times (20th century) that we fully mapped the current and understood how it works. It is sometimes called “the great conveyor belt”. Indeed, like the Atlantic, the Pacific ocean also has circulating currents throughout. I am not aware of any research that suggests that the current was disrupted by the 2011 Japanese earthquake, but that doesn’t mean such studies haven’t been conducted. To my knowledge, the two main drivers for the Atlantic conveyor belt are water temperature and salinity. I am not sure how the pacific currents effect the weather in New Hampshire, if at all. Interesting question though. Sorry I couldn’t be more of a help.

      • NoBeachHere December 6, 2017 at 4:17 pm - Reply

        Thank You, when I put NH, I meant Northern Hemisphere, my bad lol

        • numb3rsguy December 7, 2017 at 7:38 am - Reply

          Northern Hemisphere would make more sense than New Hampshire. I thought that was a very specific question, but it turns out my answer is still the same, lol.

    • Anonymous December 6, 2017 at 4:42 pm - Reply

      NoBeach, the massive earthquake off the coast of Japan in 2011 had no discernible effect on global oceanic circulation. The oceanic circulation is driven mostly by water temperature/salinity contrasts, ocean floor geomorphology to some extent, and prevailing winds. Earthquake activity is ephemeral, lasting literally seconds to a few minutes, for any single earthquake. The earthquake changed the sea floor, uplifting one part by some 30 feet (this motion caused the tsunami), but this change is not enough to alter currents. Here’s a basic tutorial on global ocean current patterns.

  14. MMike December 6, 2017 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    I know the perception is that winter is always dry compared to average every year. However, since 2001-2002 winter and the 15 winters in total to date, we have had more average to above average precip. winters then below average winters. 9 wetter and 6 drier then average….

    So, the discussion which seems to be a constant on here that winter is always dry is not true.

    BTW, we only average around 4 inches of moisture for Dec. Jan. and Feb. (not much) Dry stretches are quite common around here for the period of Nov. to April. Now, the current one is a bit ridiculous.

    It will change, 100% chance of a white X-mas. Good times are ahead. Winter just started..everyone relax. Look for snow between the 15th and 25th!!! Get the shovels and snow blowers ready, you will need them soon.

    Oh…and the Chiefs are about to go on a tear…4-0 to finish the season…DIVISION WINNERS

    • sedsinkc December 6, 2017 at 4:55 pm - Reply

      Mmike, why would you want the Chiefs to win the division to be slaughtered in the playoffs? I’d prefer they tank and get a higher draft pick, along with new coaches. I’m a Dallas fan and have already written off this season. The Chiefs are terrible and don’t deserve to make the playoffs.

      • Heat Miser December 6, 2017 at 5:54 pm - Reply

        Agreed…they arent good enough to be in the playoffs, and if they snuck in they wouldnt last long. Don’t get hoping a bad team sneaks into the playoff.

  15. MMike December 6, 2017 at 2:59 pm - Reply

    Latest NAM still pounding the SE part of the US with accumulating snow….NO FAIR!!

    • REAL HUMEDUDE December 6, 2017 at 4:59 pm - Reply

      Mmike, you are drinking or high if you think these Chiefs have anything left in the tank. They have quit, already checked out for the season so don’t expect any fireworks over final 4 games, just more butt-kickings. We have lost to the Giants and Jets, 2 of the worst teams in football. Our defense is Absolutly terrible and I mean embarrassing ,and that’s what wins championships.

  16. Rockdoc December 6, 2017 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    If you want to find out more about the global conveyor belt, here is a link to the PBS NOVA program that covers this topic as well as several others. For what it’s worth, I don’t believe that the earthquake in Japan affected the global conveyor belt current. I have not seen any scientific data or reporting on this to date. The tsunami that followed afterwards did interfere with currents near the coast by forming whirlpools.

    What we do know is that with warming ocean water and the amount of fresh water entering the oceans via melting of the Arctic, Greenland and Antarctica, that these two effects will have more of an impact on the conveyor belt. It is thought that it could slow it down the conveyor belt current and potentially trigger a global disaster in which earth would be covered in ice – a giant ice ball.

  17. sedsinkc December 6, 2017 at 4:43 pm - Reply

    NoBeach, the massive earthquake off the coast of Japan in 2011 had no discernible effect on global oceanic circulation. The oceanic circulation is driven mostly by water temperature/salinity contrasts, ocean floor geomorphology to some extent, and prevailing winds. Earthquake activity is ephemeral, lasting literally seconds to a few minutes, for any single earthquake. The earthquake changed the sea floor, uplifting one part by some 30 feet (this motion caused the tsunami), but this change is not enough to alter currents. Here is a basic tutorial on global ocean current patterns.

  18. sedsinkc December 6, 2017 at 4:51 pm - Reply

    Reports of snow dustings in northern Missouri. Snow lovers, perhaps prepare to maybe see some flakes in KC this evening if the snow showers can hold up. They may dissipate after sunset though.

    • Gary December 6, 2017 at 5:12 pm - Reply

      These snow showers must be pretty significant to produce the dusting. They may weaken after sunset.


      • Heat Miser December 6, 2017 at 5:55 pm - Reply

        they have weather treated the roads here in Lawrence, I cant imagine why? Weird.

        • KS Jones December 6, 2017 at 8:25 pm - Reply

          Probably in cahoots with the car dealers on S. Iowa St.

  19. David December 6, 2017 at 5:41 pm - Reply

    There is a dusting of snow at Kirksville!

  20. KS Jones December 6, 2017 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    December 6, 2017

    If you saw a bright light streaking across the sky Tuesday night, you weren’t alone.

    NASA says they got about 60 reports of a fireball at around 6:30pm.  And their own cameras confirm it.

    According to NASA the meteor was first seen at around 48 miles above the Gulf of Mexico and about 45 miles west of Naples.

    Did you see it?  If so, post a video or photo using the hashtag #SendTo10.

  21. TerryPolo December 6, 2017 at 6:50 pm - Reply

    Dusting of snow in Polo Mo. Nice to see some finally even if it’s just a little

  22. Alex Pickman December 6, 2017 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    Second dubs ting of snow of the season here in Stewartsville, just east of St. Joe. Brief shower, but big, heavy snowflakes

    • Alex Pickman December 6, 2017 at 6:55 pm - Reply


  23. Skylar December 6, 2017 at 7:15 pm - Reply

    Just had a light snow shower by the convention center here in KC!

  24. Emaw December 6, 2017 at 7:39 pm - Reply

    Great post, I’m on the same page with you quite often (except when it comes to wanting snow) but I’d be hard pressed to articulate as well. We need more educators like you. Great posts tonight all around!

  25. Kstater December 6, 2017 at 8:44 pm - Reply

    The 18Z GFS better be wrong because it shows quit literally nothing over the next 384 hours.

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