Good morning bloggers,
Sunday was a rather fun day to track the weather. An area of snow tracked in from the northwest on Sunday morning. By 5 AM, Jeff Penner and I discussed the likely track of this system right over KC. It was like an MCS (Meso-scale Convective System), or complex of thunderstorms. The snow came down heavily reducing visibilities to 1/8th of a mile or less at times.
This is the radar image from 7:12 AM. At this moment, the NWS had only a 10% chance of snow. Jeff changed our forecast to a 60% chance of snow by 5:30 AM. By 8 AM Jeff changed the forecast to 100% chance of snow with an inch possible. The NWS increased their chance to 30%. Here is why some forecasters don’t change the forecast fast enough in a “nowcasting” situation like yesterday. They forget the rules of forecasting the weather. Well, they are my rules:
* Rule #1: Always look outside because you never know
* Rule #2: Look at radar and satellite and the current conditions to see if anything is developing that the computer models do not see
* Rule #3: Look at the computer models
* Rule #4: Always make up your own mind
If you would have really paid close attention to that area of snow northwest of KC, then you could tell it was increasing and not decreasing. Then, looking outside you could see some rather fascinating clouds as the sun was rising, these ripples in the clouds which said to me it was heading this way. The same kinds of look to the clouds happens when an MCS is approaching. And, the computer models? The computer models were useless and there is a time to stop looking at them, and this was one of those times. The models had NOTHING; well the Canadian model from the night before had this modeled the best, so there was one.
The NWS somehow also only measured 0.5″ despite a 15 to 1 ratio in snow to liquid calculation. They had 0.08″ liquid, but somehow only ended up with a half inch of snow:
Just to the south, across the southern metro area, Gerard Jebaily, our weekend evening meteorologist and storm chaser, measured just under 2.5″ of snow, so a few areas had this much in a very short period of time. I had 2″ at my place.
So what is next? The struggle may continue to add to our seasonal total, the whopping 5.4″ at KCI airport. Why? Remember, I have been consistent in the past five days in discussing how just the slightest change would make a huge difference in this next storm system. As great as Sunday was for some of us weather enthusiasts, I am concerned. Take a look:
The model forecast on the left shows the GFS model from 8 runs ago, and the one on the right shows the GFS model run from last nights 6z (midnight) model run. They look similar right? Well, not to me at all. There is the slightest difference in the strength of the wave coming out into the plains. 8 model runs ago, a much better defined wave was modeled to emerge out over the Oklahoma Panhandle. In the second map, you can see the wave much more phased. This ever so slight difference makes a huge difference in whether or not some areas see any snowfall accumulation at all (right), or up to 7 inches of snow with the solution on the left. Some models are even weaker than this latest version and have almost no snow over the entire KC metro. So, how are we supposed to forecast the weather when such a subtle difference can have such huge impacts? Good question? Well, we are doing our best.
And, we haven’t even started talking about today’s disturbance? There is a storm system tracking across the plains today:
This map above shows the snowfall forecast ending at midnight tonight, and the map below shows the snowfall forecast ending at midnight tomorrow night:
So, we have two storms to track in the next 36 hours. And, it is still rather uncertain how much snow will fall, if any, from this combination. Again, just a slightly stronger solution on tomorrows storm, and we will have a significant accumulation of snow, and a bit weaker…….then poof. Let’s discuss this further in the comments section over on Weather2020.com. Have a great day and thank you for spending a few minutes of your day sharing in this Action Weather Blog experience featuring Weather2020 and the LRC.