Tracking Today’s Storm & The Bigger Picture

/Tracking Today’s Storm & The Bigger Picture

Tracking Today’s Storm & The Bigger Picture

Good morning bloggers,

A storm system is tracking across southern Kansas this morning. This is the upper level storm that I am talking about and you can clearly see this on the infrared satellite picture this morning. Take a look:


The upper level low was near Dodge City, KS early this morning and this system will be tracking to near or just south of downtown Kansas City this afternoon.  Here is a look at the 500 mb flow valid at 4 PM today:


As this system approaches some areas of rain and drizzle will be increasing and some heavier showers are likely along the path and near the path of the upper level low.  After this system moves by the weather pattern continues to evolve.  The cycling pattern is right now moving through the first cycle of this years pattern and it is still evolving. There are some important factors to consider. Let’s take a look at two of the influences that will be very important to monitor and track from week to week as winter approaches.

Influences On The Cycling Pattern:


Between now and Saturday a rather big vortex forms over northern Canada. There is no blocking at all and this is showing up on the AO and NAO indexes right now:



AO stands for Arctic Oscillation and NAO stands for North Atlantic Oscillation. When the AO and NAO are in the positive this will almost always indicate that there will be limited blocking to no blocking aloft and this can be a major influence on whether cold air can develop over the Arctic region and surge south. In an AO positive winter the chance of major Arctic air masses blasting deep to the south is much lower than during an AO and NAO negative winter.  As you can see, the AO and NAO are trending positive and it shows up on the forecast 500 mb map valid on Saturday shown above.


This is a graphic we discussed in the past few winter forecasts.  We must continue to monitor these indexes. An early season positive sign is not a good factor, but it is VERY EARLY in the season and we will  be monitoring this daily and keeping you updated.

Where is ENSO going? ENSO stands for El Niño/Southern Oscillation.  The recent forecasts over the past few weeks have been for a La Niña to develop and it very well may, but in the past two weeks the Niño 4 and 3.4 regions have warmed up.  The 3.4 region, that is located near the central tropical Pacific Ocean, is the region most used to indicate whether or not it will be a La Niña or El Niño. This area has warmed from -.6°C to zero degrees Celsius in the past two weeks. This is a strong trend to neutral conditions, but most of the models still show a trend back to colder.

Screen Shot 2017-10-10 at 7.11.21 AM

As you can see there is a lot to consider as we put together our winter forecast in the next six weeks. We must be patient.  The pattern is just now beginning to set up.  We will continue this discussion as we learn a lot more in the next few weeks.

What do these early indicators mean?

  • An AO positive and NAO positive point in the warm winter direction.  But will they stay positive?
  • A neutral ENSO is neither here nor there on winter temperatures
  • The cycling pattern is the most important factor to consider and we are just learning more in the next two to three critical weeks

Kansas City Weather Time-Line:

  • Today: An increasing chance of rain with a nearly 100% chance rain begins falling by noon in most areas. Rain was already increasing at 8 AM as this storm system approached from the southwest. There will be a pretty nice breeze from the west and northwest at 10-20 mph. Temperatures in the 40s with wind chills in the 30s
  • Tonight: Cloudy with rain ending early. Low: 42°
  • Wednesday:  Cloudy with some afternoon sunshine trying to break out. High:  59°

Have a great day and thank you for sharing in this Action Weather Blog experience featuring Weather2020 and the cycling pattern.


2017-10-11T08:56:26+00:00October 10th, 2017|General|37 Comments


  1. Urbanity October 10, 2017 at 8:32 am - Reply

    Is someone on earth controlling the weather? Previously there was no indication the CTPC would be warming, especially by more than one half of a Celsius degree. Now it will take a monumental effort for even a moderate LaNina to form.

    If you draw a line on your chart for AO and NAO it looks like a slight downward trend, I can see those two feature dipping well into the negative during the next two months as it appears that for every rise there has been a nice fall and the AO especially has been trending downward since June. I can see the potential for a major major cold air storm developing out of this sometime in November.

  2. Three7s October 10, 2017 at 8:47 am - Reply

    If the AO does indeed stay positive throughout winter, which always seems to be the case, the KC metro area could make history. Dating back into the 1800s, KCI has NEVER measured less than 10 inches during a span of 3 consecutive years in a row. If that happens again this year, it will be the first time in well over 100 years, at least. Something to watch for.

    • Joe October 10, 2017 at 9:41 am - Reply

      All streaks must come to an end…

    • KS Jones October 10, 2017 at 11:10 am - Reply

      Speaking of history — I’m guessing we had a negative AO on February 23, 1945 when the Japanese Balloon Bomb got snagged in a tree a mile or so east of here. The link below shows the photograph taken by a former neighbor who discovered it, and it shows some nice snow drifts on the bluff tops. This was the only known balloon bomb to have landed in Kansas. It took only three days for the jet stream to carry these weapons across the Pacific Ocean.

      In the 1920s, Japanese meteorologist Wasaburo Oishi conducted a series of experiments with pilot balloons launched from various locations in Japan. His accurate recordings from Tsukuba, northeast of Tokyo, led him to conclude that there were persistent, high-altitude winds blowing from the west, at least during the winter and spring in Japan. . . When the military gained control of his aerological observatory in the 1930s, Oishi’s data was instrumental in planning the balloon bomb program . . . This high-altitude, high-speed conveyor belt could be used to send bombs and terror to America . . . In many ways, it was the first intercontinental weapons system . . . About 7 to 10 percent of the 9,300 bombs sent toward North America are believed to have survived the transpacific crossing and about 300 are confirmed to have landed . . . Dozens or hundreds of balloon bombs could still lie undiscovered in Canada and the U.S. In October 2014, two loggers stumbled across the remains of one of the balloon’s payloads in a remote wooded area in the Monashee Mountains of British Columbia.

      • KS Jones October 10, 2017 at 11:22 am - Reply

        Here’s a link showing a larger picture of the balloon bomb snagged in a tree east of here.

        • Richard October 10, 2017 at 11:39 am - Reply

          Silent. Not seen at night.
          Never heard of those. How many were used and how many people died from them in North America.
          And how did Japan track them. I am having hard time reading lately. Will try to find more later.
          Thanks KS jones

        • REAL HUMEDUDE October 10, 2017 at 11:43 am - Reply


          • KS Jones October 10, 2017 at 1:15 pm - Reply

            When Ed North saw the balloon bobbing up and down over the hilltop that morning, he grabbed his camera and took that picture. The photo was taken looking northwest. The wind on the previous day had been from the northwest (as the snow drifts indicate), but it switched to the southwest during the night, so it is possible the balloon might have even drifted over Fort Riley.
            After discovering the balloon, Ed North gathered some neighbors together and they yanked the balloon out of the tree and tied it to a fence post. He took a picture of that event as well, and it shows three men wrestling with the ropes while one man’s wife and his three small children watch them. They were lucky.
             When they discovered the payload they notified the county sheriff, and he in turn contacted the military. The military shot the balloon full of holes, folded it up and hauled it away. They also confiscated Ed North’s camera and film. He didn’t get them back until the war with Japan was nearly over. The US government tried to keep the balloon landings out of the press so the Japanese wouldn’t know their scheme was working.

            Marysville Advocate
            August 23, 1945
            Ed North thought Jap balloon on farm would make a good stack cover
            Ed North was a little disappointed when the Army took away the big Japanese balloon he found on his farm a chilly morning last February– he sort of wanted it for a hay stack cover.
            When I saw it up close I thought “what a good stack cover that would make” he related last Thursday.
            He also admitted that if he had known then what he knows now about the Japanese balloon, he wouldn’t have yanked it around the way he did.
            The only fatalities were those near Klamath Falls.
            “In May 1945, a pastor from Bly, Oregon, led his wife and a group of children on a day trip near Klamath Falls. They were all looking forward to hours of fishing and picnicking in fine weather. Everyone got out of the car while the Rev. Archie Mitchell was parking along a remote logging road and unloading the fishing tackle. Suddenly, he heard his wife, Elsie, who was five months pregnant, call out: “Look at what we’ve found! It looks like some kind of balloon.”

  3. Frankie October 10, 2017 at 9:09 am - Reply

    If you look at the long term AO index it looks to be dipping negative at the very end of the forecast, around the 20-25. There is still hope for the winter. One model shows major blocking with troughs repeatedly hitting us, and the next shows no blocking at all. We are overdue for a big winter…

  4. Richard October 10, 2017 at 9:15 am - Reply

    So Gary is hinting at another underperforming winter.

    I’m out of here.

    • Anonymous October 10, 2017 at 9:30 am - Reply

      He is? That’s not what I heard.

      • Joe October 10, 2017 at 10:28 am - Reply

        Read between the lines

      • Richard October 10, 2017 at 11:44 am - Reply

        Yeah. Gary says a lot without saying much. Very small hints that actually say more than the whole of his posts.
        He does not commit or admit it though until the cycles repeat. I have learned that much about Lezak just in the year I have been on here.

      • Anonymous October 10, 2017 at 2:25 pm - Reply

        Mild and dry. Time to deal with it

        • Terry October 10, 2017 at 7:29 pm - Reply

          Okay lol Not

  5. Bill October 10, 2017 at 9:19 am - Reply

    Just saying that for people who do not like winter, like myself, this positive AO is exciting (and not a bad thing per the editorializing indicated in this article). Bring on the winter of golf!

  6. Rockdoc October 10, 2017 at 9:38 am - Reply

    Gary, I’m due to fly back from Colorado and will arrive about 4pm. Given the upper level low forecast to be right over KC do you think the storms would be strong? I’m thinking flight could be delayed. Thoughts on heavy rain/high winds. Thanks!

    • Gary October 10, 2017 at 10:21 am - Reply

      The system isn’t strong enough to be too concerned. There will likely be a bumpy decent into KC. You will be fine, and welcome home.


      • Rockdoc October 10, 2017 at 1:08 pm - Reply

        Thank You Gary. I thought it might be bumpy coming down based on winds, but more concerned about heavy rains and doing the do-loop around KC before we could land. Again, thank you😊 Now I can tell the person picking me I should be there.

  7. Michael Garner October 10, 2017 at 10:06 am - Reply

    Well for cold, snow, winter fans, like me, this was a depressing blog. No not real depression and yes I know it’s just a forecast for now but yet it seems since our 4-6 week stretch from August till almost mid September there has been a constant ridge? If not a ridge then something that is keeping us way above average on temps. Guess time will tell.

  8. REAL HUMEDUDE October 10, 2017 at 10:15 am - Reply

    I’m not sold on blocking = lots of snow or no blocking = no snow. I’m a novice, but I can see all sorts of potential for this year. Blocking is just one factor that can lead to interesting KC weather, but isn’t a requirement in my mind. Just like last Summer was going to be hot, there’s lots of room on how to Interpret these features and it’s not even close to a perfect science

  9. Kathy October 10, 2017 at 10:20 am - Reply

    I made the mistake of reading the comments before the blog today. I did not read a depressing blog like some of you, only one which kind of said “this could happen or that could happen, but we need to wait and see how it all plays out.” We may not know until we know, kind of like our dry summer which never happened. Before we jump on the depression bandwagon, let’s see how the pattern evolves.

    • joe October 10, 2017 at 2:38 pm - Reply

      Well said Kathy 😀

  10. Frankie October 10, 2017 at 10:24 am - Reply

    Look at this picture from the CPC. The top index dips negative at the end of the forecast

  11. Mike October 10, 2017 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    Way to early to throw in the towel for Winter. It is only October 10th. Plenty of time.

  12. Urbanity October 10, 2017 at 2:16 pm - Reply

    NOAA placed a severe weather hazard outlook for Central – NE KS on 10/14. Seems so unlikely/unpredictable this far out I am surprised they have done this. Aside from the severe weather prediction on the 14th, the NOAA is definitely bullish on dry and warm across the plains, and most of the country, for the next 14 days.

  13. Choppy October 10, 2017 at 2:53 pm - Reply

    I’m still waiting on this 100% chance of rain today. Loaded up the mowers this morning after thinking today was gonna be a washout. Haven’t stopped mowing yet.

    • Jason October 10, 2017 at 3:02 pm - Reply

      Yup and they are all trying to make a forecast several months out, might work on 12 hours first.

    • Richard October 10, 2017 at 3:07 pm - Reply

      Just had a downpour in Olathe with loud thunder and a couple of big cracks of lightning, which
      surprised me since it is only in the 40’s !

  14. Mike October 10, 2017 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    Raining hard in Lenexa and OP. Even heard some thunder. Maybe in the next cycle we can have some Thunder Snow.

  15. Michael Garner October 10, 2017 at 3:28 pm - Reply

    Pretty impressive rains here in Leavenworth to include some thunder and a lighting bolt or two about an hour ago (the lighting bolt and thunder).

    • Gary October 10, 2017 at 4:13 pm - Reply

      The upper level low came right over the southeast side of Kansas City this afternoon. This could have been a 1 to 3 inch snowstorm for KC today, something to think about. I am not sure if we realize how rare a 1 to 3 inch snowstorm has been in the past three winters.


      • f00dl3 October 10, 2017 at 4:42 pm - Reply

        Not only that but the temperature profiles being as cool relative to the general pattern today and the fact we had low, cool dense overcast, I could easily see this being an all day snow event if it takes a similar track. We have been locked in the cold air as the cold air continues to seep in, and we had no warm air over-running this cold airmass.

      • Michael Garner October 10, 2017 at 5:35 pm - Reply

        That what I was wondering too but didn’t want to say anything, you know don’t qink it

  16. KS Jones October 10, 2017 at 3:28 pm - Reply

    The air temperature was only 39° here (25 miles north of Manhattan) from 9 AM to 11:15 AM, and the NWS predicts it will hit 33° tonight.
    Then the forecast says our high temperature will be 79° and our low will be 56° Friday.
    Got 0.15″ of rain this AM.

  17. Three7s October 10, 2017 at 4:14 pm - Reply

    I don’t remember any rain like this last October, and certainly not this cold, even if it is brief. We’ll find out how much the AO matters this year, I believe.

  18. Blake October 10, 2017 at 4:23 pm - Reply

    The last two storms have been amazing. Virtually no rain in our portion of the northland.

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