Real Storm Systems & Fantasy Storm Systems

/Real Storm Systems & Fantasy Storm Systems

Real Storm Systems & Fantasy Storm Systems

Good Morning Bloggers,

A major winter storm is intensifying over the northeastern United States this morning. The forecast is tricky for the big cities. New York City had rain near Brooklyn this morning with snow just a few miles to the west. The rain/snow line is near the city and there could be a wide range of snowfall amounts in a fairly short distance. Just like back here in Kansas City, forecasting the exact amount of snowfall is not impossible, but a very difficult task and getting it exactly right for each location is likely impossible. So, there will be some people who think the weather forecasters can’t get it right and there will be some people who think we hit it spot on.  As we have discussed many times, when it comes to forecasting the exact amount of precipitation or even close to an exact amount, it should not be an expectation for our accuracy.  This goes for forecasting rainfall amounts, snow amounts, and ice amounts.  If we were forecasting rain, and it rains the forecast is considered accurate. Let’s say I say 1/2″ to 1″ of rain may fall with 2″ possible. This would be like saying 5″ to 10″ of snow with 20″ possible.  If the person was expecting 5″ and then 20″ falls, they would say “What?”, and consider that forecast was blown, even though it would be in the forecast. When it comes to rain, if 2″ of rain falls, and other areas only get 1/2″ of rain, which happens near Kansas City all of the time.  The expectation for forecasting snow and ice are just way too high. Way, way too high.

Now, with that said, this is the challenge for New York City this morning. It is a real storm system; a rather powerful storm system and it fits the LRC about as perfectly as any storm has this season. If you look back 47-48 days ago in January I can show you an almost identical pattern, but we are getting different results. There is a blocking high this time. Take a look at the pattern this morning:

The Real Storm & Then The Fantasy Storm


This map above shows the 500 mb flow valid at 7 PM eastern time tonight.  If you look real closely, then you can see the intense smaller scale storm system at this 500 mb level, around 18,000 feet above us, near New York City.  It is very negatively tilted, tilted from west to east, and very intense. Thundersnow is likely in a few spots near the coast today. Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel is likely thundersnow chasing today.

The Block: Look at the ridge to the due north of this double barrel storm system. The block that formed over the past ten days is still there and affecting the weather pattern. Look at what happens next:


This map above shows a weekend storm, not quite put together like that eastern storm, but it is still fairly decent in strength and in two pieces. The lead storm is rather small scale near the Arkansas/Oklahoma/Missouri border. And, the blocking high is still influencing the pattern. Take a look at the forecast surface map Saturday evening:


This is close to producing a severe weather outbreak, but conditions likely just fall short. But, there will still be some strong thunderstorms possible near this developing surface low this weekend as it tracks towards the southeastern United States. Kansas City is on the edge of this system and I will go over the details on 41 Action News tonight.

Okay, are you ready for a massive fantasy storm? Take a look at this:


This is a forecast map valid around right when spring begins.  A major block is forecast to form on this model. It is also forming at a time when the big vortex forms over Canada, which is due to form, based on the cycling pattern hypothesis that was published in a peer review this week.  Those upper highs are strong and would have a major influence, but are they real? Is this just a fantasy storm? Well, I want to show it for conversation today. Can you imagine?  Take a look at the reflection at the surface:


What is this? Well, it is a 20″ blizzard and near Kansas City. My winter forecast snowfall total would verify in an instant. Again, can you imagine? Well, we know what will likely happen, but let’s monitor this last gasp of winter closely.

So, here is reality. It is cold this morning. Bundle up! I have quite the day planned. My promotions team is following me from blogging to Sports Radio 810, to a school visit with Sunny where I talk with 500 kids today, then off to work to look deeper into this pattern on the 4, 5, 6, and 10 PM newscast, to bedlam basketball this evening when the Sooners take on the Cowboys, onto the 10 PM newscast, then on my way to Raleigh, NC at 6 AM tomorrow for a big business meeting for Weather2020, then back to KC on Friday morning,  picking up Sunny, heading to Gladstone Elementary, then to work, then the Pet Telethon on Sunday where I am host for the 18th year, then to Cancun on Monday. WHEW!  Life is exciting.  Thursdays blog may be late!

Have a great day and thank you for sharing in this Action Weather Blog experience featuring Weather2020 and the LRC. Click on the blog at to join in the conversation. So, who believes in the fantasy storm?


2018-03-08T19:40:51+00:00March 7th, 2018|General|42 Comments


  1. Stl78(winon,mn) March 7, 2018 at 7:27 am - Reply

    Oh gary gary gary… 24 in prdiction would b close as well but im sure it will either disappear or hit north. Either way, trackin systems is whats most fun to me anyhow. Dropped to 7 degrees here in pepin wi with freezing fog😢

  2. NoBeachHere March 7, 2018 at 7:52 am - Reply

    Well, I know it’s 14 days out but I said way back in January that March would be the best chance lol. It’s a forecast and I’m speculating fantasy, same time, for some reason, I expected this to be the case this year.
    Not tooting my own horn but there is just something of a pattern here with theses 2 teleconnectors in the transition months. I think I’ll chase the carrot on this one. As one blogger has stated before, I may eat crow but this forecast storm just seems to verify. Taste of spring, then winter, taste of spring, then blizzard, then spring and on to summer, welcome KC.

  3. Three7s March 7, 2018 at 7:59 am - Reply

    If this fantasy storm hit, this would completely verify what f00d3l was talking about before. An overall bad pattern with one fluke storm that gets mixed in to get us our “average” snow for the season. Obviously, it won’t hit, but it would be funny how that would verify.

  4. LYITC41 March 7, 2018 at 8:06 am - Reply

    Wow! Talk about leaving yourself some wiggle room….! If someone says “the city should expect a half inch of rain”, but then most of the city gets 2 inches, that to me is a blown forecast. Yeah it rained like you said, but it also rained way more than you predicted. I’m certain there was probably a “twist” somewhere that no one saw coming.

  5. Lary Gezak March 7, 2018 at 8:12 am - Reply

    Guys… shouldn’t we know better by now? This model is over 300 hours out. Cmon! I would rather that be heavy rain and thunderstorms anyways.

  6. Val March 7, 2018 at 8:16 am - Reply

    I am going to say NO fantasy storm but would be glad to be wrong! This weather in KC is making me go insane.This is my first year on this blog but I feel like its “groundhog day” every week. There is a big storm that is supposed to set up over and over again but then we get ZILCH. I just need Spring to get here officially and I will slowly gain my sanity back and hope for a more exciting Winter next time around!

  7. MikeL March 7, 2018 at 8:21 am - Reply
  8. Urbanity March 7, 2018 at 8:54 am - Reply

    I was embarrassed for Jim Cantore when he got so excited about thunder snow and acted like an idiot, not the cool Jim Cantore I thought I knew. I’m sure he wishes he could have that moment back.

    Gary, if I didn’t know any better I’d say you were trying to create better ratings in the blog by even showing that fantasy storm. The GFS usually shows big storms over Kansas 10 days out, but they never verify. Of course I was wrong about KSU-Baylor so let’s see if I can be wrong again (never been wrong twice in a row though).

    What’s your thoughts on the western ridge?

    • REAL HUMEDUDE March 7, 2018 at 9:46 am - Reply

      Keith – Thundersnow is what Cantore lives for, what’s wrong with him getting excited? You should see me when I catch a big bass, I put Cantore’s enthusiasm to shame. If I ever get my big Buck I’m after I might cry, who cares? If something in this world gets you that pumped, let it flow, why deny it? Very few things in this world can illicit a response of pure joy, enjoy those moments to the fullest. Who cares if its a storm, a fish, or a big game we all have things that move us.

      That storm is, of course, complete fiction as far as the winter component. Not happening, but I do expect central KS to start getting in on rains in the next 2-3 weeks. Western KS might be too close to the Amarillo precip hole, not looking good for them this summer.

      • LYITC41 March 7, 2018 at 10:25 am - Reply

        Absolutely agree-life’s too short, enjoy the things you love while you can!

      • Urbanity March 7, 2018 at 11:51 am - Reply

        Idiot terminology was inappropriate, a spaz is what I meant to say, Cantore is not an idiot. I am beginning to think we might get less than 25% of our normal precip during the rainy season, every week it’s the same thing. I think weather patterns are repeating, I may have to start a blog and prove my new theory…..will call it the URC.

        • Troy Newman March 7, 2018 at 1:56 pm - Reply

          Well it would blow away the record. The driest year for Salina, KS is 16″ which was 2002 and about half of normal. Not sure how close that is to you but it seems getting only 25% would be likely.

      • Troy March 7, 2018 at 1:49 pm - Reply

        I agree on enthusiasm. It beats the heck out of someone who is apathetic about everything.

  9. Terry March 7, 2018 at 9:25 am - Reply

    Like said yesterday I don’t ever ever ever EVER give up on any snow until I see that for sure the season and spring time is really hear. Fantasy or not and if remember someone one this blog say we can’t even have a fantasy storm show up there for a while Here’s to a big one . May are wishes come true..

    • Tdogg March 7, 2018 at 9:50 am - Reply


  10. Roger March 7, 2018 at 10:43 am - Reply

    In my opiniion, GFS is out in left field for Saturday’s system for west-central into south-central Kansas. Last storm system we had persistent southertly flow for 3-4 days with no precipitation. Now I’m supposed to believe we get some welcome rains from a disorganized system in northwest flow? Ridiculous. This will not get its act together until the Ozarks at best.

    • Roger March 7, 2018 at 10:44 am - Reply


      • Roger March 7, 2018 at 10:45 am - Reply


    • REAL HUMEDUDE March 7, 2018 at 11:26 am - Reply

      Roger, have some hope man! The models are showing rain for you, isn’t that a good thing? You do realize its going to rain out there and sometime in the near future at that. GFS is slowing anther storm for next weekend, one of these is going to produce big time out there before March is over. I want my nice weekends back, seems like every weekend there is a storm now.

      • Roger March 7, 2018 at 2:56 pm - Reply

        Yes. It will rain here again. Just not this weekend.

    • Gary March 7, 2018 at 11:28 am - Reply

      And, it has another snowstorm in the northeast.


    • LYITC41 March 7, 2018 at 11:45 am - Reply

      It’ll (GFS) go back and forth and still not ever get it right.

    • Terry March 7, 2018 at 2:39 pm - Reply

      I’ve seen the GFS 12z have a storm and not have one all winter long. Back and forth throw it out.

  11. choppy March 7, 2018 at 11:22 am - Reply

    GFS has been a turd all season. Constantly showing huge totals. Then middle of March rolls around and all of a sudden “this could be the one”. Now poor Terry is all worked up again. It’s not happening

    • REAL HUMEDUDE March 7, 2018 at 11:29 am - Reply

      Terry – relax buddy, the snow is over. You got a nice little dose yesterday of snowy conditions, hope you enjoyed that it was pretty cool weather day if you ask me. Gary, you know what you do to Terrys heart when you post those maps.

      “Playing with my snow, is like playing with my emotions” – BIG WORM

      • Terry March 7, 2018 at 2:35 pm - Reply

        I don’t give up like you do

    • Terry March 7, 2018 at 2:36 pm - Reply

      I don’t give up like you do

  12. Richard March 7, 2018 at 11:57 am - Reply

    Well at least the winds have calmed down. Still too cold though.

    Crazy time change. Wish it would be the same nationwide.
    AZ does not have DST. And yesterday Florida voted to keep DST year round.
    Most in Alaska do not need or want DST, but several yrs ago the state implemented it.
    I think there is one PART of Indiana that stays on one or the other year round too.

    • LYITC41 March 7, 2018 at 12:07 pm - Reply

      Is that this wknd?

      • Richard March 7, 2018 at 1:25 pm - Reply


  13. Anonymous by choice March 7, 2018 at 12:18 pm - Reply

    Big 12 Tournament Forecast posted by me Feb 26:

    Anonymous by choice February 26, 2018 at 3:53 pm – Reply
    Gary should be able to accurately predict the weather for the Big 12 tournament. Should be easy for the LRC. In fact, I would bet there are several LRC disciples that should be able to predict it, based on 47 days prior to the tournament and or 94 days prior to the tournament.

    I am not one of those disciples, but I will predict:

    March 7 20% chance of rain. High 55, Low 35
    March 8 20% chance of rain. High 60, Low 40
    March 9 0% chance of rain. High 50, Low 30
    March 10 0% chance of rain. High 50, Low 30

    Chance of any of this being correct? I give it a 10% chance of having any one day correct.

    NWS forecast from this morning:
    March 7 0% chance of rain. High 41, Low 23
    March 8 0% chance of rain. High 47, Low 31
    March 9 0% chance of rain. High 61, Low 39
    March 10 30% chance of rain. High 58, Low 36

    Appears to be mostly fail.

  14. Three7s March 7, 2018 at 12:29 pm - Reply

    I would, obviously, go with the 12z GFS over the 6z if for no other reason than common sense.

  15. Snowflake March 7, 2018 at 1:16 pm - Reply

    Why do you post a 348-hour GFS storm and then not even provide context and your own forecast for the event (or non-event)?

    Just putting out a 348-hour model prog and then say “Let’s see what happens!” seems particularly weak.

    • JoeK March 7, 2018 at 10:48 pm - Reply


      I would be more than happy to respond in c/o Gary, it is a weather blog, you know, to discuss ALL possibilities and to have fun doing it

  16. Richard March 7, 2018 at 1:31 pm - Reply

    Your promotions team ?
    Does everyone on the kshb wx team have their own promotion team ?

  17. Richard March 7, 2018 at 3:08 pm - Reply

    That is a total fantasy storm as far as snow goes. Notice how Gary said “near” Kansas City.
    It will be in the mid-upper 50’s March 20-22. Maybe even 60.
    So maybe we get rain. Or not. But definitely no to snow

  18. Anonymous by choice March 7, 2018 at 3:28 pm - Reply

    Snowflake makes an excellent point. The LRC’s premise (my understanding) is that there should be something in the area (wave, storm, etc.) on specific parts of each “cycle”. Does this year’s LRC have something at the same time as the 348-hour fantasy storm? I would expect a statement like, “there is no chance of a storm at that time because this year’s LRC doesn’t have one around that date” or, “This year’s LRC has had a wave on day 19 each of the last 3 cycles and that is day 19 of this cycle, so look out!”

    • Gary March 7, 2018 at 5:07 pm - Reply

      Your expectations are totally valid. That part of the pattern does support a storm, and I should have clarified that. Sorry about that, but I would also add in that we know what will likely happen, a storm that isn’t functional. The only way would be if that block ends up as strong as the map I plotted this morning for that long range period. It is fantasy, and of course I want it to be reality, but let’s be realistic.

  19. Katharidinaus March 7, 2018 at 4:35 pm - Reply

    I don’t even want snow anymore. I’m a Nashville native and the last time I saw real snow wasn’t here – it was in Nashville. Just give me spring…

  20. Emaw March 7, 2018 at 7:03 pm - Reply

    The bigger question is, will there be “black ice” on the 21st? . . .

  21. Blue Flash March 7, 2018 at 9:04 pm - Reply

    Already there’s no trace of that storm on the GFS……totally vanished.

Leave A Comment