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The Gary Lezak Weather Blog

Another Storm Targets Boston

Good Sunday morning,

The last band of snow near Kansas City is tracking just southeast of the metro area early this morning.  KCI Airport ended up receiving an official total of 1.3″ out of this storm. I just measured 2.6″ on the south side of Overland Park. How much snow did you receive?

This storm is now heading northeast and targeting Providence, RI, and Boston, MA.  Providence is expecting 4-8 inches of snow and Boston has a forecast of around 3-7 inches of snow in their forecast which will push their seasonal total to close to 110 inches.

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Here are the advisories across the continental United States today.  Another winter storm is likely going to be an efficient snow maker around mid-week.  Here is the European model forecast for the band off snow which may again approach 10 inches from parts of Arkansas northeast to West Virginia.

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This new band of snow will be associated with the main upper level wave of energy that comes out of the western states Tuesday night and Wednesday. There is also a lead disturbance that may produce rain and thunderstorms from near the KS/MO state line and then extending north and east early on Tuesday.

Have a great day and we will look ahead tomorrow.  If you have a chance, watch the KC Pet Telethon benefitting the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City tonight from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM.  Stormy the Weather dog will be in her 15th telethon, and Breezy will come out and do tricks.

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Gary

Largest snow of the season on the south side of KC

Good late evening Weather2020 bloggers,

A band of snow was growing right over the city at 9:40 PM.  Here is a look at the band that is heaviest off to the east and northeast of KC. This will likely produce an additional inch of snow west of the state line with an additional 1 to 2 inches east of the state line in the next six hours before it tapers off to flurries.  As of 9:40 PM I had 2.0″ on the south side of the KC metro area, which is now going over and into the highest snowfall total so far this season at my house:

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It would be awesome to see an area of snow like this to our west heading our way, but instead we have to be on the edge, which fits this entire season. It will likely shut down soon, so let’s enjoy it while it is happening.

We will look ahead in the morning. Have a great night and thank you for sharing in this LRC Forecast Experience Blog.

Gary

Snow Will Affect A Large Area Today

Good morning Weather2020 bloggers,

There is a storm system forming over the southwest and a stream of weak disturbances are going to  head northeast out over the plains today.  These will help create areas of snow from Kansas and Missouri south into Oklahoma and Arkansas. This will then extend east northeast from Illinois to New York.

A large area of snow is moving east to northeast this morning:

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It appears that Kansas City will be on the northern edge of the accumulating snowstorm.  Our forecast continues to be in the 1 to 4 inch range for the Kansas City viewing area, but areas south and east of Kansas City have the best chance of a bit more.  Here are the snowfall outputs from the 06z model runs of the GFS and NAM:

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Kansas City is in the 3-4 inch band on the GFS model, with 6 inches a couple of counties to the south, but as you can see below, the NAM model has only 1 to 2 inches of snow over most of the Kansas City viewing area. The NAM continues to not model any snow on Sunday, while the GFS has the heaviest band of snow near KC on Sunday morning:

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Let’s track this area of snow today.  Snow is approaching Kansas City this morning. Let us know what you experience.  I will write up a new blog later today!

Gary

Snow, Sleet, Rain, Thunderstorms: Next Five Days

Good morning Weather2020 bloggers,

The next five days have some forecast challenges with some big temperature swings.  The huge warming trend will arrive within seven to ten days, but before that happens we have a few winter storm systems to forecast.  Where have they been getting blasted by winter storms, besides Boston? Boulder, CO. My friend Matt Kelsch took this picture just outside Boulder yesterday. Wow!

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Kansas City is once again in, perhaps, the toughest location to forecast the weather this weekend.  There are forecasts out there for some higher snowfall totals and as this is a possibility let’s look at the first warning sign that could cut into the higher totals.  A few of the models, the GFS and European being a couple of them, have some of the heavier precipitation lining up on Sunday near I-70 as you can see below. One huge factor is that 540 thickness line. That blue dotted line is the 540 thickness line which, for most locations in the United States, is the most likely snow/rain changeover line:

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This blue dashed line actually is forecast by most of the models to drift north of Kansas City, and on this noon Sunday forecast map it is located north of St. Joseph, MO.  It doesn’t mean for certain that the rain/snow line will shift that far north, but it is something to pay attention to. Depending on the atmospheric temperature profile it could be cold enough to snow a bit farther south, however this season that 540 line has worked well. So, if you are south of that line the precipitation may very well completely change over to sleet, freezing rain, or rain.  If it does not change over, then Kansas City could be in for a lot of snow.  And, the latest GFS model placed the blue dashed line farther south, which would make it all snow in KC.

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Kansas City has had 12.9″ of snow so far this season.  How much are we going to add to this total?  The new data is trickling in now.  I will fill in how I interpret the models as they come in today, so check back in from time to time. The NAM model will be out within a few minutes. The GFS model will be out by 10 AM. The Canadian model will be out by 10:30 AM, and the European model will be out by around 12:30 PM.  There are other products that come out that many of you likely look at, the model output algorithms. I am not going to post those numbers as they have been way off all season long. I am just going to post my interpretation of the models, and if that rain/snow line is north of us I will cut those totals down. It likely will be a huge factor that has already come into play in other storm systems this season, especially on the south side of the KC metro area.

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This graphic shows the large precipitation area developing early Saturday. The red is sleet, the yellow indicates freezing rain.  While some of the models have had some heavier amounts of precipitation in their model outputs, the NAM model has only had around 0.30″ liquid equivalent over a broad area. This model has yet to show any more than that. Let’s see what it shows and I will discuss it below.

Model Forecasts for snow in KC:

  • NAM Model:  This model has come out with, once again, a lower total. Every single model run has around 0.30″ near KC for the entire event, and this morning showed a similar solution. In my analysis it would likely result in a 1-3 inch snow Saturday into Saturday evening, and potential additional 1-3 inch snow on Sunday morning. So, this model roughly has 2 to 5 inches across the KC viewing area.  The NAM model had that 540 thickness line south of KC the entire time.
  • GFS Model:  The GFS model was colder on this run, and it was still wet enough to consider upping our snowfall forecast.  This model has a weak warm advection zone in the first part of the storm Saturday, and then a stronger lifting zone for a few hours on Sunday. The total precipitation output from this model is around 0.50″ to 0.75″ liquid which would easily result in 5 to 9 inch snowfall accumulations.
  • Canadian Model:  This model is just trickling in with the first wave of snow at around 1 to 2 inches.  I am still waiting on the data to move into Sunday.
  • European Model:  The Euro came down to what the NAM model has been showing consistently, and it now is in the 1 to 4 inch range across the KC viewing area.

My forecast for KC:  I am going to just barely go up from 1 to 4 inches to 2 to 4 inches. Here is a graphic that JD Rudd showed last night on 41 Action News:

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Could there be more, like many of you are seeing from other sources. Sure there may be, and when we see strong enough evidence to up our forecast totals, then we will do it at that time. For now, it appears like we will have a 2 to 4 inch storm with a few isolated locations receiving an additional 1 to 2 inches on top of that. We will try to pick out those heavier spots as we get a bit closer to this event.

The Monday Night/Tuesday Storm:

The main storm system will be kicking out of the southwestern states by early in the week.  This will be a wet storm from near Kansas City and extending east and northeast all the way to Boston.  For Boston there will be a warm-up ahead of the storm and some of their deep snow pack may begin melting, and add onto that a rain storm with heavy rain potential and there will be a significant flooding potential.  This storm is in the part of the LRC that produced a wet storm on October 12th in LRC Cycle 1.  We are in a 47.5 day cycle, and guess what, October 12th is 142 days before March 2-3, or a 47.3 day cycle!

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This Tuesday storm system will be drawing up some rich Gulf of Mexico air and we will look deeper into this set-up as we get close to the end of the weekend. There will be thunderstorms, rain, sleet, freezing rain, and snow around this winter/spring storm system, and then the final Arctic Blast of the cold wave will be heading southeast in the wake of this storm.

Have a great Friday and thank you for participating in the LRC Forecast Experience Blog.

Gary

The Cold Part Of This Year’s Cycling Pattern

Good morning Weather2020 bloggers,

Another cold blast of Arctic air is spreading south and east this morning.  The stage will be set for a winter storm to produce various types of precipitation from Saturday into mid-next week.  We are currently in the cold phase of this year’s pattern and it has around one week of legs left before it runs out of of steam.  A huge switch back into the warm phase of this year’s patter is going to happen during the next ten days.  This first map shows the surface forecast from last night’s GFS valid on March 8, 2015:

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The above surface map doesn’t just show the massive retreat of the Arctic air that has dominated this third cold phase of the cycling pattern, it also is showing such a huge warm-up that record high temperatures would be possible before the 10th of March.

Comparing the three cold waves of this year’s Cycling Pattern:

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The first cold wave lasted 17 days from November 11th to November 27th. Remember, we are in a roughly 47 day cycle, give or take a few days.  47 days after November 11th is December 28th. The second cold wave began right around the 28th or really by early on December 29th as Arctic air moved in. 47 days after December 28th is February 15th, and like clock work  the third cold wave begin on February 14th.  If your perception of this cold wave is that it has been lasting longer, it really hasn’t.  We have around one week to go before this third cold wave finishes.  And, if you project 47 days forward, then we know that this part of the pattern will cycle back through around April 2nd to 4th, and again around May 2oth. There has been a lead storm system at the beginning of each cold phase, and this would likely be a severe weather outbreak producer either during that first week of April if it’s warm enough ahead of the cold wave, or for certain during that May 17th to 23rd week.

Some of you have likely used our knowledge of the LRC to make friendly wagers.  Here is an email from a viewer who made a bet with a friend of his. I showed it on the air last week.

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Kansas City’s best chance of snow this season appears to be arriving Saturday into Sunday, but there are still a few warning signs and we can discuss this below.

Weather Discussion On Saturday’s Storm:

The new data is rolling in and it has warning signs all over the place for snow enthusiasts.  The NAM model has barely 1/4″ liquid for the entire duration of the “storm”, and I put storm in quotes once again as this is really more of a warm advection zone precipitation event. the main storm, when it finally comes out will pull a significant amount of warm air northward, and I will discuss all of this here.

Let’s begin with the pattern that is setting up aloft. Kansas City is going to be caught in between the northern branch and the southern branch of the jet stream.  On this GFS model we are firmly in the southern branch of the Jet on Sunday morning.  There is a stream of vorticity, but there is no strong upper level wave. I know we have discussed this in many of our potential storm systems this season, and it has to be brought up again.  The only X anywhere close to KC is in northwest Nebraska on this model run.  As you can see below, it is certainly a set-up that often brings precipitation, but it could be concentrated in a narrow band by Sunday morning, if there is any organization at all to it.

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Where is the storm? It is positively tilted and over California. If you think we are frustrated, think about the people that live in the Lake Tahoe area. It just won’t snow there. And, this storm is not oriented right for them, and it may create problems for us.  The latest GFS and NAM models are showing the rain/snow line lifting north by late Sunday.  This model does have around 1/2″ liquid on the south side of the KC metro area. The blue shad is 0.50″ to 0.75″:

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The NAM model does not have much on Sunday, and as a result the totals are a lot less as you can see below:

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The bottom line: I am still confident in the 1″ to 4″ forecast.  Have fun imagining higher amounts, but there are warning signs and we have been through this before.

Look at what happens less than two days later:

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The southwestern storm will come out disorganized in the upper levels and somewhat organized at the surface. A surface low is forecast to intensify and lift north to near the Nebraska/Kansas border. It’s closer to being a spring thunderstorm event rather than any winter storm in our area on Monday night and Tuesday. Look at the high dew points that are forecast to surge up here.

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This dew point surge is likely, and if this forecast above comes close to verifying the low temperature Tuesday morning will be in the 50s.  I have spent a lot of time on this blog. And, it’s still quite frustrating. I really want to make this exciting for all of you, but in KC it is a challenging pattern to have a lot of fun with. Let’s see if it looks a bit differently on the next few model runs, and thank you for sharing in this LRC Forecast Experience.

Gary

A Wet Weekend Storm, A Wednesday Storm, & Northern Hemisphere Snow!

Good morning Weather2020 bloggers,

Welcome to the LRC Forecast Experience.  There are storm systems moving across the United States today, one of which is producing snow near Dallas, TX this morning, and this is on top of some ice from earlier in the week.  A second system is forming over Nebraska and Iowa and tracking southeast into northern Missouri later today.  A larger and wetter storm will be evolving over the weekend and we will discuss that storm in just a second, but let’s begin today by looking at the deep snow pack from Russia and Siberia crossing the North Pole deep into the United States:

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We are currently in the cold phase of this year’s LRC, but we are about to come out of it even though it may take another week or a bit longer for the Arctic Air to finally retreat northward as it has in each previous LRC cycle.

The Texas storm is zipping along and it will be a wet system tracking across the deep south with a line of thunderstorms approaching Florida.  Some snow is likely on the northern edge of this precipitation shield.

Farther northwest take a look at the smaller scale storm that doesn’t have a lot of moisture to work with:

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Doesn’t that simulated radar look like a line of thunderstorms moving into Kansas City at 6 PM tonight. It will certainly be a fun day for the weather enthusiast to watch this develop.  And, look at where it tracks six hours later:

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It will become cold enough for the rain to change to snow near Kansas City, just as it is coming to an end.  Farther northeast a few inches of snow are likely over northeastern Missouri, while at the same time the much more functional storm will be moving across the southeastern United States coast line.

The Weekend Storm

I will attempt an explanation of how and why it is going to snow this weekend, but could it also be, “Here we go again!” One fact about this season in the Kansas City area is that almost every storm system that has appeared to look like, “this is the one”, ends up falling apart at the last second. Even today’s storm looked like it would be an easy three inches of snow in Kansas City, and it appears that it will just barely miss the immediate KC metro and hit areas just to the northeast.  So, does it surprise you at how this weekend storm appears to be setting up?  It was actually looking good as I was writing this around midnight.  Will it still look increasingly good, for snow lovers, when I am on the air at 10 PM tonight? I don’t want to sound sarcastic, but we have been through so much. Maybe this is our turn?

The Set-up:

Let’s begin with today, because today is actually very important in how the weekend will begin setting up. There is a clipper-like system moving into Nebraska and Iowa right now.  By noon today, or 18z as you can see on this map, a surface low is forecast to develop over southeastern Nebraska. This will place Kansas City deep into the warm sector of this small system and it may jump into the lower 50s by mid-afternoon ahead of the strong Arctic front:

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After this system goes by tonight, the Arctic blast will take over. Just above the surface is this level we like to look at called the 850 mb level, or around 5,000 feet up.  You can see the forecast for this level valid at 9 PM tonight. A mid-level front will be moving through. The brown area on the western edge of the map is showing locations that are actually above 5,000 feet, so that is the surface out west.  And, the dotted lines are temperature lines, every 2.5°C.  There is quite a temperature contrast developing and pushing south.

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On this next map you can see what has happened by Saturday morning.  The temperature contrast is now located over Texas and Oklahoma, and the flow is coming straight out of the Gulf of Mexico.  This is a developing warm-advection pattern and moisture appears that it will be quite extensive and it is flowing into Kansas as of Saturday morning:

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Tying all of this together is this 500 mb forecast map. A storm is forming over the southwestern states. We have actually had patterns like this earlier in the season, but perhaps this late February and early March version is actually going to maintain that southern branch long enough with a series of waves likely intensifying that warm-advection pattern which will lead to bands of snow in this deep cold air mass.  The concern is that we have seen this before and it hasn’t quite materialized for Kansas City, but could it this time?

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The models have continued their trends and evolution with this storm system. The trend is for a wave to dig down the west coast just a bit early next week. This would create a better chance that warmer air would be pulled farther north and result in the precipitation type near Kansas City to change to rain, freezing rain, or sleet as the main storm shears out and phases into the flow. This phasing, which has happened with most of our storm systems will likely limit the chance of a major winter storm.

And, the data that came out this morning on tonight’s storm has also taken the weakest possible solution route. If this trend is right, then we will only see a quick and thin band of showers rapidly moving by between 6 and 10 PM, and then it’s out of here.

Kansas City Weather Forecast:

  • Today:  Increasing clouds with a high near 50°.
  • Tonight (6 PM-10 PM): A quick band of showers possibly changing to snow with little if any accumulation. Temperatures dropping to 32°
  • Tonight (After 10 PM):  Snow quickly ending and windy. Northwest winds 20-40 mph.  Low:  12°
  • Thursday-Friday: Very cold
  • Saturday-Sunday: Cloudy with a 90% chance of snow. Accumulations of 1-4″ possible.  High: 27°

Have a great Wednesday. Let’s have fun tracking today’s weather across the United States!

Gary