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The Gary Lezak Weather Blog

Finally, Kansas City Will Have Its First Snowflakes

Good late morning Weather2020 bloggers,

Here in Kansas City it is seemingly so hard to get it to snow. Take a look at the radar from Topeka at 10:15 AM:


The hole is filling in fast and this means that the snow is finally making it all the way to the ground. A dusting to 1/2″ is possible. Let us know what you experience out there, and you can read the previous blog for the trend in the weather pattern.

Have a great morning. I am going to head on out there with Sunny and Breezy and search for my first snowflake of the 2016-2017 winter.


To Snow Or Not To Snow?

Good morning bloggers,

I just did a Facebook live on my fan page (Gary’s Facebook) and you could see the snow falling at sunrise around eight to ten thousand feet above Kansas City. As we discussed on the air last night and in the blog, we have a very dry layer near the surface up to around 5,000 feet up that needs to saturate before the snowflakes reach the ground. How does this saturation occur? It will happen as a result of enough snow falling and moistening up the layer from higher up down to the ground. This happens at times, but it can be challenging. If the storm were stronger, then the rising motion in the clouds would be stronger and more snow would be generated thus causing this moistening up of the layer. So, we have a challenge just to see our first snowflake of the season.


This radar map, taken at 8 AM this morning, shows the radar hole over KC. It is actually snowing overhead, as discussed above. The hole isn’t filling in yet. The latest NAM model does show some measurable snow developing soon, but it should have already happened according to this model.  So, the waiting on the snow game is on.

The Developing Weather Pattern


The Arctic Oscillation has been averaging in the negative this season, and I am expecting it to continue to do so throughout this winter. It will likely dip deep negative at one point, and when it does this pattern would get energized and Kansas City could benefit in the form of snow and cold, if that’s what you want. When will that happen? We are going to try to pick that out soon.  The AO is currently rising into the positive and will be there a few days and this is just as the cold air is heading south.  It is likely bad timing for the KC area, but it is producing some snow in other parts of the nation. When the AO is positive, Arctic air most likely would stay to the north, whereas if it is deeper negative Arctic air is more likely to surge south.

A big ridge has formed over the northern Pacific and Alaska region:


Look at this 48 hour Canadian Model forecast valid Thursday night, one hour before the Kansas City Chiefs host the Oakland Raiders.  There is a big upper high with a strength of 559 dm (5,590 meters).  This means that the 500 mb level is 5,590 meters above sea level near the North Pole, north of Alaska. This is way up there and it it influencing the pattern. We should love to see one of these form near Greenland instead of over Alaska. But, instead we have low heights over eastern Canada to Greenland for now. These upper highs, when they form, will most likely drift west, within the Polar easterlies. Below them the jet stream gets energized. These highs also help in creating the Arctic air masses to the north and east of where they are located.

This is really adding a twist into this current pattern. It is all part of the overall cycling pattern, however. Now, what will this mean? That’s a great question.  Right now, it is going to help a deep 522 upper low form off the Seattle coast.  The flow over the United States is fairly flat and this is one reason why today’s storm is so weak.

There are some more changes in progress and we will discuss these as we move later in the week. Yes, another storm showed up in around nine or ten days. We believe that storm could be related more directly to one that cycled through around the third week of October, but we are not 100% convinced yet. The LRC is still coming into focus. This usually happens by the second week of December, which we are moving into now. Be patient just a bit longer. This pattern is a tough one to crack, but we will crack the code and find the organization to the chaos within the next week or so.

Have a great day. I am finishing up this blog at just before 9 AM today and the sky is cloudy. There isn’t one snowflake coming down. I haven’t seen one this season yet. If you were to believe the NAM model it would already be snowing in KC, but it is just not reaching the ground yet.


A Rather Wild 15-Day Ride Of Weather Begins

Good morning Weather2020 bloggers,

We are now beginning a rather wild ride of ups and downs with very few storm systems in the heartland. There will be a few areas impacted across the United States including today where there is a blizzard warning over the northern plains.


8 to 15 inches of snow are expected with 40 mph winds across the northern plains today. Last week we discussed how this storm would likely be faster and farther north than what the models were showing when they had huge snowstorms in our area.  And, this is exactly what has happened, unfortunately for our weather excitement. The main storm is across the USA/Canada border as we thought it would be this week. The Kansas City area will once again have to struggle to have even snowflakes at all tomorrow. I posted this graphic last night:


Nothing has changed and now even the wettest model outputs have had less than 1/2″ in our area.  Do you know how hard it is to predict a dusting to 1/2″ “snowstorm”?  It is very difficult, but it still may happen.

Video Of The Day:

In this video I am showing some blocking forming over Alaska and this will likely influence the pattern. In looking at the past few model runs I literally counted seven rather significant changes in the next 15 days. There are 3 to 4 strong cold fronts ranging from one potential Arctic blast to weaker cold shots.  In between these cold blasts were some warm-ups. The biggest warming trend happens as this blocking breaks down around 15 days out and a big warm up spreads across the lower 48. This wild ride is about to begin.  What does it mean for Kansas City? There are storm systems that mostly pass by to our north, or that fall apart as they move in, but one of these could still look a bit stronger so we have to keep monitoring the pattern closely.

New Data:

The new data is not producing much snow at all. This storm system, the upper level disturbance, was forecast by the European Model to be a deep and strong upper low. Again, we did use our initial knowledge of the LRC to strongly suggest that this storm is more likely to be faster and much farther north. This is what has happened. The southern extension of the storm is just this fast moving disturbance with the main storm over southern Canada:



There was an area of snow just a few hours earlier on this model, but my goodness even this area falls apart as it moves by. The 30% chance of not even one snowflake is still alive. If there is no low level moisture there may be no snow. The low level moisture will be created by the developing snow as the dry and colder air is just taking over.

Have a great Tuesday! It’s RAIDER week here in Kansas City with first place on the line. It will be a cold Thursday night, but dry with just a breeze of around 10 to 15 mph during the early evening Thursday before the wind goes calm overnight.  Go Chiefs!


New Data

Good evening bloggers,

The new data has come in and the NAM has some snow, while the GFS has maybe a few flakes blowing in the road.  As discussed a week ago, the LRC favored a faster moving and weaker storm system. Unfortunately this is what is happening.  Take a look at this graphic I just made for our newscasts:


I am showing a graphic that shows the potential for snowfall accumulations. As I see it now, the chance of 1/2″ is about the same as the chance of no snow at all.  But, there is a chance. Let’s keep monitoring this closely. The models do not have a very identifiable upper level disturbance, and until I see one, like what showed up a few days ago, I will keep these chances low.

Have a great evening, and thank you for participating in the LRC Forecast Experience.


A Big Cold Change This Week

Good morning Weather2020 bloggers,

Well, here we are on Monday morning. It was beginning to look as if we would have a pretty good chance of at least a little bit of snow. Even though the chance is not over yet, the trend is not our snow lovers friend at this moment.

Yesterday I posted what the latest models showed, at how I interpreted them. Here are my latest thoughts on the models:

  • GFS Model: This model has a weakening band of snow approaching eastern Kansas City. There is a 1″ or less band along and south of I-70
  • Canadian Model: This model is more like the NAM model, below, with a dusting to 1″ around KC
  • European Model: This model has had the largest snowfall forecast for the area for a week now. It has gone from around a 28″ forecast snowfall total near KC down to the current 1″ forecast. Yes, this model now barely has a dusting to just over an inch near Kansas City on Wednesday on the latest run.
  • NAM Model: This model has a thinning band of snow that makes it to Kansas City Wednesday.  It is literally around a three county wide band of accumulating snow of around a dusting to 1″. It targets the south side of the KC metro area.

Gary’s Forecast:

My forecast for Kansas City right now (2 days before the storm):

There is stil a wave of energy that will zip across, most likely south of KC. Along and just north of this fast moving system there will likely be a band of snow and KC could still be the target. Unfortunately for snow enthusiasts out there this system has trended weaker and faster. We still have to monitor the trends closely and see how it sets up.

Expect some snowflakes to fall over most of our area on Wednesday. The chance of accumulation depends on the track of the fast moving and phasing disturbance. I have seen disturbances like this still produce up to a 2″ band of snow, so we have to monitor it closely.  Right now expect anywhere from flurries up to 2″. The higher amounts are most likely south of KC.


This map above shows the disturbance we are tracking. Look at the track of this wave on this next map:


The track seems to be good for KC. The problem is the strength of the wave. Notice on the first map that there is a little separation between the line in South Dakota and the line in Colorado where the wave is, and then on the second map the separation is fading away. Will this hold together long enough, this is the question that may not be answered until Wednesday.  Here we are again with trying to forecast a very small snow event.  Here it the snowfall forecast from this same GFS model:


So, here we are with a big forecast challenge. The easier forecast challenge is the cold air and timing of the cold front. The front will be arriving tonight. The first cold surge arrives Tuesday, and the second and stronger cold blast will arrive after the wave that we just talked about passes by Wednesday.

There is a risk of severe thunderstorms today:


Have a great day. How about those KC Chiefs. The next huge game is Thursday night in KC. It will be a cold night, but a dry night for the game.


Model Trends On Storm #2

Good morning bloggers,

It’s snowing in Kirksville, MO this morning.  The lead storm, we will call storm #1, has produced some wide spread rain and some snow to the north that was quite beneficial as it has been so dry.  Storm #2 is being monitored closely on the models, but it still doesn’t exist yet. Let’s discuss that storm in just a minute. Let’s begin with the radar from around 7 AM:


A band of heavy rain is moving across as the the 1000-500 mb thickness drops to 540. This likely means that there is sleet and snow mixed in just above the ground around 1,000 feet up. If we had a 3,000 foot mountain, then it would likely be covered in snow this morning, but we don’t have any of those in eastern Kansas and western Missouri.


On the national radar we can see this system going by, but you can’t really see the upper level low in Mexico.

Storm #2

Storm #2 currently is a stream of energy over the northeastern Pacific Ocean. Take a look at this 500 mb map valid at noon today:


There are three of many features that we are tracking. The first one is the wave of energy that is now passing over the Kansas/Missouri state line. Ahead of this wave we had rising motion and enough moisture to produce an organized band of rain and snow. The snow occurred just north of the Kansas City viewing area which goes to the Iowa border.  It was rain farther to the south.  Behind this wave will be strongly sinking air which will shut off the precipitation and likely clear the clouds away. There is another storm, however, over Mexico that is helping produce rain over the southern states. This system will get kicked out by the energy from storm #2. Look at what happens to this energy by Wednesday morning:


It is always great for anything in our lives to have hope. Some will say hope is all you have, but I think it is just one philosophical thought. Let’s keep the door open for something interesting to happen on Wednesday.  Let’s keep our snow hopes alive. As you look at this map above, let me explain what it shows. I am pointing to the strong wave of energy tracking across southeastern Colorado and into western Kansas at 6 AM Wednesday.  There is very important separation in the flow still and this means that storm is still “alive” and capable of producing the conditions for an organized area of snow.

The European Model went back to the snowier solution overnight, and the GFS model held it together long enough to produce this:


What is fascinating to me?  I have seen waves like this before, and if they truly do hold together, then a band of heavy snow around 75 miles wide is possible along its path.  The models are targeting the area near Kansas City this morning, so we will be paying close attention to this. This is a very different scenario to what the models showed around five days ago. Five days ago the models tried to form a major winter storm and a big upper low.  Now we are down to this one pretty decent chance, but the area of snow will be fairly narrow and possibly weakening as the flow aloft finally phases. Will we see the snow before the phasing happens? This is a tough forecast to make.

  • GFS Model:  This model holds the wave together long enough for me to get a bit excited about this for snow enthusiasts.  The GFS has 0.25″ liquid near Kansas City, centered on the south side. This provides the potential of a dusting to 4″ snowfall across our viewing area. 
  • Canadian Model: This model shows a dusting to 2″ from around Kansas City southward
  • European Model: The new model run is not out until 12:45 PM, so this is the old run:   This model has that thin band of heavy snow that holds together all the into western Missouri. The amounts vary from 1″ to 6″ in this thin band that does clip the KC metro area on its north side.
  • NAM Model:  This model is interesting this morning. It goes out to 84 hours and this takes us through 6 PM Wednesday.  This model started strengthening that southern wave and created separation around 60 hours to 66 hours out.  It then holds the wave together but the cold air overwhelms the lower atmosphere limiting amounts of snow as it approached Kansas City. This model has 1/2″ to 1″ near KC, a dusting north, and 5″ a few  counties to the south!

Gary’s Forecast:  I believe there is enough evidence in that I am willing to forecast a dusting to 4″ in the KC viewing area.  The target, as I see it now, appears to be around Paola, KS. Now, this is as of this morning. We have three more days to track this and the target will likely move. If the storm is a bit stronger, then the target shifts north into the south side of the KC metro area. If it is a bit weaker, then it would shift farther south to near Nevada, MO.

My forecast for Kansas City right now (3 days before the storm):

  •  A dusting to 1″ north of Kansas City
  • A dusting to 2″ in the KC metro area
  • 1″ to 4″ from the south KC metro area to Pittsburg, KS

Have a great day. Go Chiefs!