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Kansas

Strong thrust of arctic air after snow

 

Things are looking up quite white in the region this morning as 1-2+” of snow fell… holding on to everything.

In many ways the snow reminds me more of a november type snow where the the roads have been going pretty well in many cases due to the heat accumulated yesterday and the day before yesterday, while the wet snows have attached themselves to everything else.

It will soon be snowman heaven out there, so the kids will be thrilled, especially with all the schools canceled today.

Temperatures this month are still over 10° above average which is a remarkable statistic that could drop towards the end of the month. If the month ended now, we would have the third warmest January in KC climate history. As it stands, although yesterday is still the fourth warmest January.

As I said at the beginning though… February won’t be like January.

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Forecast

Today: Generally cloudy even if in some areas there could be some light spells before lunch. Winds increasing again this afternoon with temperatures around 30 degrees.

This evening: Partly cloudy and colder with lows around 20° unless the clouds stay longer. The winds die down a bit

Tomorrow: Partly cloudy and cold with highs around 30°C

Friday: Warmer and windier. Another run up to the 1940s

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Discussion

I promised you photogenic snow and Mother Nature delivered big time overnight! The snow settled into swathes of heavier snow, blanketing grass and exposed surfaces but keeping the roads mostly wet.

Temperatures never really dropped last night, mostly in the 32-34C range and mostly saved the roads. But there are still some muddy patches and some snowy backroads to start the day.

Here are some of the first snow reports that have arrived…

There are some areas near 3″ in isolated pockets maybe. I had 2″ on my nose in SE Olathe. The snow is wet and heavy, so this morning it will pack onto itself with the moisture in the snow (which makes for a good snowman).

Overall the forecast worked quite well… there really wasn’t a negative forecast range. Low-end ranges worked, high-end ranges worked. The road predictions were well played with generally only wet conditions out there.

I was somewhat surprised at the number of schools closed but I think there were a lot of people looking forward to a snow day today as there hasn’t been one yet this winter.

However, there may be more coming from the pike.

The pattern will be somewhat variable over the next few days before we see a stronger push of Arctic-born air arrive in the northern lowlands over the weekend and flow south later Saturday through Sunday.

In fact, the source region of the air arriving later in the weekend is in a part of the hemisphere that produces plenty of cold air during the heart of the winter season.

We had an above average 25 day run in KC this month… 29 days in a row (including today). The lack of cold mornings is also pushing this statistic nicely. We could break the streak tomorrow unless the clouds later today are hard all night, which is also possible.

IF that happens, the lows in the morning will be in the lower 20s, giving us some wiggle room because the highs will only be in the low to mid 30s. The average now for a maximum is 39°.

There’s some sort of cold front moving across the plains this morning. When it passes you will notice the winds picking up and maybe a little drop in temperatures.

Our storm that produced the snow that blanketed the region is now heading towards Evansville, Indiana. The snow was swept eastward this morning, and while there may be a couple of flurries this afternoon with the push of colder air, the snow accumulation is mostly gone for us.

KCI has officially collected nearly 2″ of snow from this one. At least their snow depth at 6am was 2″ and that means they have between 1.5 and 2.4″ of snow on the ground…there is some rounding involved. Before midnight last night they had .6″.

After a cold day tomorrow milder air will flow to the plains helped by some descending winds. We’ll see if the expanse of snow out there affects that, but we should have enough wind to really moderate things on Friday and especially Saturday.

The trick on Saturday is the timing of the front which will change things to the cold side later on Saturday. The model data shows the front moving into Saturday evening, and this could allow Saturday to warm up to nearly 50C with enough wind and sunshine.

The trick will be to look sunny this Saturday to bring us to our full potential.

Arctic air will pour into the region Saturday night into Sunday morning. The next question is whether there will be any light winter precipitation during the transition.

I won’t be surprised. I doubt it would be heavy, but with temperatures dropping and potentially “something” falling… maybe a mix of light/light snow, and IF the pavement gets wet and colder air blows in, there could be a problem with some black ice in some points . It remains to be seen why the winds will counteract the effects of the black ice to some extent.

It’s something worth watching.

The general trend however is colder weather and colder days. There will also be more winter weather threats next week, including possibly Tuesday.

For a change, and unlike the entire winter so far, there should be plenty of cold air. There’s not a major storm per se on the way, but instead a series of disruptions coming in from the southwest, so we’ll have to see how well they can saturate the average levels of the atmosphere for snowflakes to form in the clouds.

So let’s end a cold January and start a cold February, and that’s going to be different than what we’ve experienced in the last month or so. There may be some restraint for a while towards next weekend (first weekend in February).

Tomorrow’s blog will have a special section relating to a somewhat unusual optical phenomenon that some areas have seen. Chances are you’ve never seen it in its entirety before.

The feature photo today is of Terri Bruntmyer

Joe

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