Sunday, January 31, 2010

Febuary 1 Snowfall

A quick system will move over the Plains states during the overnight tonight and through tomorrow, leaving a little more snow over parts of the Northern and Central Plains.  This upper level disturbance will move over the Plains, and while moisture isn't abundant it will be able to squeeze out a few inches over parts of the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa and further east into the Great Lakes.  Other areas across Nebraska and Missouri may also be able to squeeze out an inch or so of snowfall tomorrow.  Snowfall should be across the eastern Dakotas during the morning hours tomorrow, over MN/IA/NE/MO through the late morning and afternoon hours, and then lingering over parts of MN/IA/MO and points east during the overnight and into Tuesday for the Great Lakes region.

Snow totals will range from 2-4 inches across southern North Dakota, northern/eastern South Dakota, southern Minnesota, northern Iowa, and then over the IL/WI borders.  Up to an inch of snowfall may be seen across adjacent areas of the Dakotas/Minnesota/Iowa/Nebraska/Missouri and then also extreme northern Kansas, and points east into the Great Lakes regions.  For specifics on your areas, check out your local NWS office for the latest snowfall forecasts...

Winter Storm: Jan. 28-30 Recap

Areas of significant icing and sleeting occurred through areas of central Oklahoma, into Arkansas and the Tennessee Valley with this winter storm.  Heavy snows fell from the Texas Panhandle through northern Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and points further east...  Many of the National Weather Service offices have issued a summary of their reports received and links to them are below:

Amarillo, TX -  Winter Storm Review  &  Snow/Ice Totals

Norman, OK -  Snowfall Map & Ice Accum. Map

Tulsa, OK -  Snowfall Totals Map

Wichita, KS -  Snow Totals & Review

Dodge City, KS -  Heavy Snow Totals

Springfield, MO -  Snow Totals & Review 

St. Louis, MO -  Snowfall Totals

Little Rock, AR -  Snow/Ice Totals & Review

Paducah, KY -  Snowfall Totals

Friday, January 29, 2010

Winter Storm: Jan. 28-30 Update #4

As posted in a quick twitter update last night, this system had some problems with dry air, which was expected if you read back to previous posts or read any NWS discussion.  A band of snowfall did setup along central Kansas, allowing for 2-4" across an area roughly along Highway 54 in Kansas.  It took several hours for this band of snowfall to saturate the dry levels just above the surface yesterday afternoon, and as it continued to push northeastward early last night it continued to struggle with even drier air over northeast Kansas and Missouri.  While this was able to finally saturate, only very light snow was reported with this, and thus little accumulations actually occurred. 

This morning snowfall continues to be reported over southwest Missouri and southern Kansas, and this snow should continue through the morning hours in Kansas and over southern Missouri through this evening.  Accumulations have been hampered by the dry air, and the heaviest band of snow over southern Missouri should range from 3-6".  The two large metro areas of Missouri (Kansas City & St. Louis) should only see occasional light snow through the evening hours, leading to anywhere from a dusting to perhaps just over an inch of snow. 

As expected, the hardest hit areas with this system was over Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas where the dry air was not present at 850hPa and the precipitation was easily able to saturate and reach the ground in very little time.  Large amounts of snow, ice, and sleet were reported over these areas and please refer to their NWS webpage for the latest summaries on conditions there.  A full recap of snowfall reports will be posted later this evening/tonight to recap the winter storm.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Winter Storm: Jan. 28-30 Update #3

Heavy snow, sleet, and freezing rain already falling across the Oklahoma and Texas this afternoon; with a mix of some severe weather as well with damaging winds gusts possible with a bow echo moving just south of the stationary boundary in northern Texas.  Expect the precipitation to continue to move northeast and into southern Kansas and Missouri by this evening, and into central Kansas and Missouri by the overnight hours tonight. The precipitation should come to an end over Kansas by Friday evening, and over Missouri by Saturday morning.  Areas south of I70 will see snowfall accumulations, however, areas just along I70 and just south will likely see 3" or less. Once again this is a very tight gradient of snowfall and will increase rapidly with southward extent.  The heaviest snowfall amounts will likely occur along and south of Highway 54, where 6-10" seems likely...

Will be busy watching the storm progress this afternoon, with an update possible later tonight...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Winter Storm: Jan. 28-30 Update #2

Models continue to paint a winter storm over portions of the Southern/Central Plains, however the track and specifics on precipitation totals are still in question.  Both this mornings (12z) model runs and this afternoons (18z) continued to slow the systems progress and hence pull the system further north across parts of Kansas and Missouri.  At the same time, a strong arctic high will progress southward and situate itself over the Northern Plains for the same time frame as the upcoming winter storm.  This will lead to a very tight northern gradient of snowfall amounts, with a 50 mile north/south range of no snow to upwards of 6 inches likely.  The question that continues for most forecasters is where this line will be located at, will it be along/near I70 over Kansas and Missouri like the latest models anticipate, or will it be further south along Highway 54 as initial forecasts indicated?  With this northward progression of the snowfall totals this leads to a further north progression of the sleet and freezing rain totals as well.  Indicating that parts of extreme southern Missouri may see some initial precipitation fall as sleet rather than snow. Thus, a lot of questions remain in play for this system, especially with the system remaining out of reach by the upper air analysis for the forecast models.

We'll once again be waiting to see tomorrow mornings' model runs as they should finally begin to have data from at least portions of the system moving out of the Baja.  For now the previous forecasts are going to have a tendency to be pushed further north, leading the heaviest axis of snow to occur from the Texas Panhandle east/northeast into northern Oklahoma and into southern Missouri. The heaviest band of sleet/ice is expected to occur from central Oklahoma into northern Arkansas, which is especially a change for portion of northern Arkansas that previously were looking at upwards of 8" of snow and are now viewing 2-4" and ice amounts of greater than a 1/4".  Of greater concern is the northward extent of the snow, which as mentioned previously will come on a very sharp gradient.  What makes this situation even more difficult, or easy, depending on what you want to believe is the large amounts of dry air that are being brought down with the arctic high pressure over the Northern Plains.  RH values near 850hPa are going to be below 20% over much of Missouri and adjacent areas on Thursday evening! Now given the dynamics and good warm/moist air advection across southern Missouri and adjacent areas this shouldn't be much of a problem, although limiting the first couple hours of precipitation to saturate this dry layer. The problem arises further north where the winds are likely to stay northeast or easterly at best at 850hPa leading to only dry/neutral advection at best. Areas that cannot get winds turned to the southeast are not likely to overcome this dry air at 850hPa and thus will are not likely to see any accumulating precipitation.  I've included this nice image below to give you an example using the BUFKIT data at KMCI (Kansas City Intl), and a cross-section from northeast Nebraska into north-central Arkansas (thus including Omaha, Kansas City and Springfield). You can see on the BUFKIT overview (on the left) that through Thursday evening we are never able to completely saturate and theoretically allow precipitation to fall. The cross-section to the right shows a good reason why, valid at Thursday 6PM you can see the relative humidity given by the black contours, and frontogenesis in the colored image. The frontogenesis will aid in saturating the layer below, however if you were to watch the loop of the image you would see that it is only strong enough to overcome the area to the south of Kansas City. Leaving KC along the edge of near-saturation and still having RH values of less than 30% at/near 850hPa.

In the end, areas to the south of I70 appear to have the chance at accumulating snow, with areas along I70 at least having the chance of seeing snow occurring. Snowfall amounts near/along I70 will likely be less than an inch, with a rapid increase to the south where nearly 6" of accumulation may be seen 25 miles north of the Highway 54 axis of KS/MO. Exact values and locations still subject to change of course...  I may get an update in tomorrow morning, otherwise expect a quick update sometime tomorrow evening before this system really gets going over the Plains.

Winter Storm: Jan. 28-30 Update #1

A major winter storm continues to be forecasted for areas of the Southern and Central Plains...

Just a quick update this morning, with a more expansive update likely this evening as the storm begins to take shape across the Southern High Plains.  Significant icing continues to be likely across areas of north-central Texas into central Oklahoma, and perhaps into parts of northern Arkansas as well.  Significant snowfall is also still on track over the Texas panhandle, northern Oklahoma, southern Kansas, and into northern Arkansas/southern Missouri.  Snowfall amounts of at least 8" seems likely, with widespread areas of TX/OK also seeing amounts greater than a foot and isolated areas perhaps seeing 18"!  Other areas of Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas may see amounts greater than 8" and isolated amounts nearing a foot.  Forecast models are beginning to have more data on this storm system, and thus we may see some changes in forecast intensity/track by this afternoon and especially this evening.  Some minor trends that I noticed this morning included a slightly further north track, and the best intensity occurring further west over TX/OK rather than the corners of TX/OK/MO/AR.  If this trend continues, than more areas of KS/MO may see this heavier snow...  While it still remains further south than the Kansas City metro and the St. Louis metro, it is much closer than previous forecasts indicated.  Any push further north may put these areas at least under a chance of accumulating snow for late Thursday and  Friday.  This afternoon/evening update will address any trends that the models take today...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Winter Storm: Jan. 28-30

A major winter storm is still expected to impact portions of the Southern and Central Plains states in the Thursday-Friday time frame.  Forecast models continue to be in fair agreement that a low pressure system will form in the High Plains regions of NM/TX and continue east/northeastward over Texas and into Arkansas/Louisiana and points eastward before making its' way northward over the Appalachian Mountains.  This low pressure system will have ample gulf moisture to work with, that is currently moving northward over southern Texas.  This along with good warm air advection is setting the stage for a significant winter storm not only in terms of snowfall amounts, but the potential for significant freezing rain and sleet over portions of Oklahoma and Arkansas.  Further north, strong cold air advection with the presence of an arctic high over the Northern Plains will push the precipitation type to all snow over parts of southern Kansas, southern Missouri, northern Oklahoma, and extreme northern Arkansas. Current snowfall forecasts of 6-12" are likely in these regions with the potential for some isolated higher amounts given the dynamics and strong warm/cold air advections taking place.

Ahead of this system, a series of weak shortwaves will give the portions of NE/IA/KS/MO a shot at some brief snow flurries or showers tomorrow morning through the afternoon. Areas of north-central and eastern Missouri are in the best position to see these light snow showers, however, accumulations should still remain at a dusting at best.

Regarding the positioning of our Thursday/Friday winter storm, areas south of a Liberal, KS to Wichita, KS to St. Louis, MO line will see snowfall. With the heaviest axis of snowfall likely falling 50 miles north/south of a Woodward, OK to Winona, MO line. Along this heaviest snow axis, 6-12" with isolated higher amounts appear possible. Also of concern will be the potential for significant sleet and freezing rain, with this axis coming 50 miles north/south of a Altus, OK to Jonesboro, AR line.  These are initial positions of heaviest snow/ice axis', as this system is still coming onshore.  Morning model runs should have a much better idea on this system, as sporadic changes could still ensue with the forecast models.  An additional update tomorrow morning will address if any sporadic changes have been made...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Iowa Blizzard - Jan. 25

Conditions across the state of Iowa have deteriorated rapidly throughout the day, causing many roadways across central and western Iowa to be closed due to blowing snow. Roadways that are not 'officially' closed are still advised no travel as plows have been pulled off of the roadways and rescue in the case of an incident will be near impossible. As of 2PM the Iowa DOT and Iowa State Patrol were in the process of closing I-35 from Clear Lake to Ames due to a number of incidents along that stretch of interstate and to avoid any additional wrecks. Blizzard Warnings will continue through 9 PM or Midnight for many of the counties in western and central Iowa due to the continued blowing snow.  Less than an inch of new snow is expected through the remainder of the afternoon, but the 2-5 inches of accumulation that has fell since last night is creating blizzard conditions across these areas.  Winds from the northwest will continue at 25-45 mph with some higher gusts, creating near zero visibility into the nighttime hours. Winds should begin to subside during the overnight and continue to do so through the day tomorrow.  Nonetheless, expect hazardous driving conditions to continue into the afternoon hours tomorrow as road crews will need several hours to clear roadways that have drifted shut. Reports from some counties indicate drifts upwards of three feet high are occurring on state and county roads.

Once again, there are several reports of stranded/disabled vehicles across the state, many of which may not have rescue for several more hours. If you do not have to travel, please do not do so!

Blizzard Warning!

Several NWS offices have issued a Blizzard Warning for portions of the northern Plains including western Minnesota, and much of western Iowa.  These blizzard warnings continue until this evening as snowfall of light to moderate intensity should continue through much of the afternoon.  Although accumulations of only 1-2 inches at most is expected, strong winds of 30-40 mph with gusts upwards of 50 mph will likely create hazardous conditions.  While snow is falling, these winds will create white out conditions on most roadways, and in some areas may also cause drifting of the blowing snow.  As the snow moves out of the area this evening conditions should improve, although a ground blizzard situation could ensue with the new snow left on the ground.  Expect storm total accumulations of 2-5 inches across central Iowa, with 1-3 inches likely across extreme western Iowa.  Lesser amounts are possible across eastern Iowa, and northern Missouri through this evening, although the strong winds may create some hazardous driving conditions.

The Iowa DOT is beginning to advise no travel for several major highways, and have begun to pull plows off of the roads in some areas due to the zero visibility and drifting of snow.  Once again...  Winter just does not want to end across these regions!

Winter is still going...

I was kind of amazed this morning at all of the comments regarding how winter just does not seem to want to end across the Plains, especially the northern Plains.  Even comments from students across Iowa indicate that they would rather just go to school than continue with their snow days, this comes as they realize they will have so many days to make up that their summer will likely be cut in half.  This is true today as light to moderate snow continues to fall across the northern Plains, areas of the Dakotas/Minnesota/Wisconsin continue to see snow fall, and northeast Nebraska into western and central Iowa are also seeing an additional 1-2" of snow today.  While these amounts are not challenging to most people, northwest winds continue at 30-40 mph with gusts up to 50 mph, creating blowing snow and hazardous wind chills and driving conditions.  This snow will thankfully come to an end later this afternoon and evening for most areas, with perhaps a few lingering flurries for the overnight for these areas and places a little south (northern MO).  We'll get a dry day on Tuesday, and for early Wednesday for most areas...

The next storm system will come into play late Wednesday through early Friday for areas of the central Plains.  Current forecasts indicate that this system will mainly impact areas of southeast Kansas, southern Missouri and areas of the Tennessee & Ohio Valley's.  Although areas farther north may still see precipitation, Kansas City may see a wintery mix on Wednesday and the same goes for areas of central Missouri (Columbia & Jefferson City).  A warm front will become situated over southern/central Missouri as a low develops over the high plains regions of Texas/Oklahoma.  This warm front will allow precipitation to begin across southern Missouri and adjacent areas by the evening hours on Wednesday.  The initial precipitation type will be the questionable one, as we could see either rain or freezing rain; and perhaps a mix of sleet before the precipitation should change over to snow by Thursday afternoon.  The changeover to snow will occur as the low slides to the south across Arkansas, allowing additional cold air to filter in.  Timing and exact locations are still difficult at the moment, but confidence is becoming fairly high that areas of southern Missouri will see a wintery mix of precipitation from Wednesday evening into early Friday.  Additional updates regarding the end of today's light snow and the midweek storm system tonight.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

More Light Snow

A Winter Weather Advisory was issued for portions of extreme eastern Nebraska, western Iowa, and extreme southeast South Dakota until Midnight tonight. This was issued for both snow and blowing snow that is occurring across these areas, with a band of light to occasionally moderate snow is continuing to fall over these areas. Total accumulations of a half-inch to an inch is expected, although some higher amounts may fall if this band continues over the same area for a few hours. Regardless, winds of 20-30 mph will create blowing snow conditions across many of the roadways and create slick and hazardous travel conditions (especially over secondary roads).  Snowfall will continue through the night across much of the northern Plains where various winter advisories and warnings have been issued. Additional flurries and occasional light snow showers are possible further south into areas of northern KS/MO, but accumulations are not likely.

The northwest winds will continue to push colder air into the Plains states, leaving temperatures below normal for the area through Wednesday ahead of our next storm system. Details on our work week temperatures and more information on our potential for a mid-week storm for areas of the central Plains.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Winter Storm: Jan. 23/24 Update #2

This mornings' temperatures remain above freezing for much of the northern Plains, leading to continued rainfall for much of South Dakota, southern Minnesota and points southward.  Despite the rain and temperatures just above freezing, some areas of southern Minnesota, South Dakota and extreme northern Iowa may still see slick areas due to surfaces' still below freezing.  Major roadways remain wet, however, secondary roads and any metal surfaces are likely to be slick this morning.  Further north along and behind the freezing line we have a mix of sleet, snow, and freezing rain which is likely creating hazardous conditions.  The rough surface map and drawing below indicates those areas:

With this system occluding now over the plains, the best moisture and continued precipitation will be over the southern Plains states today.  Light precipitation should come to an end for most areas late this evening, with only some lingering snow showers left for Sunday/Monday as the cold air filters into the area.  Accumulations are not expected to be significant over any areas of NE/IA/KS/MO, however cold air will once again return to the Plains.  Looking ahead to next week after this system, we look to remain below average for temperatures for much of the week.  There does not appear to be any large precipitation chances through mid-week...

Winter Storm: Jan. 23/24 Update #1

Precipitation continues to move northeast tonight ahead of a deepening low pressure system currently located along the KS/NE borders, with another occluded low now meandering over western South Dakota. 

The strength of the secondary low along the KS/NE borders has brought increasing winds ahead of it across KS/MO/NE/IA and points even further north.  These increased winds have pushed temperatures above the freezing mark as far north as North Dakota and central Minnesota, which has decreased the previous estimates of freezing rain across the northern plains.  With these temperatures rising through the night, only minor accumulations of freezing rain are expected across extreme northern NE/IA and points northward.  As the low moves eastward, northwest winds will move in behind the system and change over the precipitation to light snow across parts of IA/NE northward, but accumulations are not expected to be significant.

This is much needed news for parts of Iowa where today three counties were state declared disaster areas to increase the aid provided for these regions.  I traveled through parts of Crawford and Ida counties which saw upwards of a half-inch of ice and more rime ice on top of power lines and all other objects.  It was an impressive site, with several power lines snapped and other hanging significantly towards the ground impending more power outages.  Back through the area late this evening I saw several dozen electric cooperative vehicles attempting to fix as many lines as possible despite the fogging and windy conditions.  With the increased wind tonight out of the east, there was undoubtedly even more problems with ice falling and bouncing power lines.  This holds true as over 15,000 homes/businesses in Iowa are still without power tonight, an increase from Thursday.  You can check out the latest updates on the Iowa Electric Cooperatives Power Outage Map.

As mentioned, most areas of NE/IA and points southward will see light to moderate rain during the overnight hours, with a few rumbles of thunder likely mixed in as well.  An update tomorrow morning will address the transitioning from liquid precipitation to some frozen type across a majority of the northern Plains.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Winter Storm: Jan. 23/24

The next storm system for the northern and central Plains is working its' way onshore today, and will make its' way past the Rockies and onto the Plains by late Friday.  This system will likely only be a winter weather producer for areas of Iowa/Nebraska and points north on Saturday, with perhaps areas of northern Kansas/Missouri seeing some wintery precipitation on Sunday as the system exits the Plains late Sunday and early Monday.  While areas of the Dakotas and Minnesota will be looking at the potential for both accumulating ice and snow, the main concern over parts of Nebraska/Iowa and nearby adjacent areas will be the rain/freezing rain potential once again.  Precipitation on Saturday will be mixed with freezing rain, rain, and sleet at times before changing over to snow later Saturday night.  Ice accumulations ranging from a quarter to a half-inch are possible across portions of Iowa, with lesser amounts likely over other areas of Nebraska, South Dakota, and Minnesota.  Once again there may be localized areas that receive higher accumulations of ice and sleet, with currently forecasts indicating that western Iowa may once again see the heaviest band of accumulating ice/sleet.  The heaviest snowfalls will likely come across parts of the central Dakotas where upwards of 6 inches is possible on top of a tenth of an inch of ice.

Regarding the timing of this system, current indications will be for the Dakotas and Nebraska to see precipitation begin as early as Friday evening and continue through Saturday afternoon, with only lingering snow showers for Saturday night and Sunday.  Western Iowa will see a start early Saturday and continue until early Sunday, with only lingering snow left for Sunday evening into early Monday; central and eastern Iowa will see precipitation begin Saturday afternoon and continue through Sunday afternoon before lingering snowfall remains for Sunday evening into Monday.  Farther south over Kansas and Missouri, the main concerns for any winter precipitation will be for later Saturday and Sunday as the cold air pushes southeast.  Areas of northeast Kansas and northern Missouri may be able to see some light snow, with perhaps accumulations of up to an inch possible in isolated locations mainly in far northern Missouri.  Otherwise these areas of KS/MO can expect rainfall and perhaps a thunderstorm or two beginning early Saturday and continuing through the day.

An update on this winter storm is likely on early Saturday as the system begins to impact the Plains.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Winter Storm: Jan. 20 Update & Recap

Some light freezing rain and drizzle remains across portions of northern and eastern Iowa this afternoon, however a majority of the precipitation has fallen across these areas. The hardest hit areas with freezing rain occurred in portions of western Iowa, mainly over areas surrounding Denison where as much as one inch of ice accumulation occurred. Other areas in the state received near a quarter of an inch of ice accumulation, which was significant enough to cause some travel problems along with several brief power outages. The latest electric cooperative data shows that as many as 10,000 Iowans are currently without power due to the ice accumulation on lines, with a majority of them in western Iowa. In addition to the ice accurral, some hoar frost had already accumulated on power lines to make matters worse as the freezing rain began last night.

To view the summary of freezing rain accumulations across Iowa, check out the Des Moines NWS image below:

We now look forward to a small break in the weather before our next system enters the plains states for the weekend.  Updates on this weekends storm later on tomorrow...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Winter Storm: Jan. 20/21

As mentioned in this mornings' post, the previous Winter Storm Watches have been upgraded to Winter Weather Advisories, Freezing Rain Advisories, or Ice Storm Warnings for portions of KS/NE/IA and other adjacent states. A low pressure system will move eastward into central Missouri, leaving areas to the north of the low in a position to receive freezing rain through much of the overnight and into Wednesday morning. Other areas along and south of the lows' path will also see precipitation, although it should remain above freezing and therefore only fall as rain. In fact, some areas may be able to hear a few rumbles of thunder as some instability aloft will create conditions for some isolated thunderstorms across extreme eastern Kansas and through central and southern Missouri.

Regarding the areas of freezing rain, expect the heaviest amounts to occur across portions of Iowa, mainly where the Ice Storm Warning has been issued. Other areas adjacent to this warning may see up to a quarter of an inch of ice accumulation, while areas within the warning are likely to see greater than a quarter of an inch with isolated areas seeing as much as one-half of an inch of ice accumulation. Portions of extreme northern Iowa, northern Missouri, central Nebraska, and north-central Kansas may also see ice accumulations during the overnight hours with total accumulations nearing a tenth of an inch in locations. Furthermore, some portions of northern Nebraska, southeast South Dakota, and northern Iowa as well as other adjacent areas may see snowfall or other mixed precipitation types as they are expected to remain slightly cooler aloft than other areas; this may lead to an inch or so of snow accumulation as well.

Additional updates may be posted late tonight or more likely earlier tomorrow as the ice storm is well underway. The Des Moines NWS is labeling this as a life threatening ice storm situation, and although the majority of ice may fall during the overnight hours tonight into the morning hours on Wednesday, expect additional freezing drizzle to continue through the night on Wednesday.

Upcoming 'Spring' Storm

The last few days have been fairly depressing across the area due to the dense fog that has stuck around the area nearly 24/7.  The reduced visibilities of less than a 1/4 mile have created some travel problems, including a very large accident on I-35 in the Kansas City area.  Our fog will finally be coming to an end today, as a storm system will finally increase our wind speeds and begin mixing down some dryer air.  Although our fog will come to an end sometime near the Noon hour today, we'll still be stuck under cloudy skies and likely see some form of drizzle and light rain through the afternoon.  Additional showers and even a thunderstorm or two will be possible this evening and overnight for northern/central Kansas and much of Missouri.  Further north where surface temperatures are going to struggle near freezing we have Winter Storm Watches that have been issued due to the likelihood of freezing rain/drizzle.  Ice accumulations greater than a tenth of an inch are possible throughout much of Iowa and eastern Nebraska, with greater than a quarter-inch of ice possible across central portions of east-central Nebraska and central Iowa.  These watches will likely be upgraded to advisories or warnings for freezing rain later this morning.  Total rainfall amounts of 0.10-0.40" are likely across the region from the KC Metro through much of northern Missouri, eastern Kansas, eastern Nebraska, and much of Iowa.

Additional showers are possible for early Wednesday as a warm front finally lifts northward through KS/MO, bringing an increase in temperatures as well as beginning to clear our skies out.  A low pressure system will move out of the Arklatex region to the northeast, perhaps leaving portions of southern Missouri under additional showers and even a thunderstorm.  Our next storm system will move off of the Rockies late Friday and onto the northern Plains, dragging a cold front with it that will likely push through on Saturday bringing additional rain showers to eastern Kansas and much of Missouri for Saturday and Saturday night.  Areas of Nebraska and Iowa may see rain showers and freezing rain once again as surface temperatures still struggle with the snow pack that remains in areas.  More details on this weekend's system in later updates...

We are trying to get into more of a spring-type systems with a mixture of precipitation types, but we look to fall back into freezing weather after our weekend system for at least a few days.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Melting Snow... Next Week Storm Systems...

Temperatures are on the rise across much of the Plains states, and look to continue to do so for the remainder of this week and even well into next week.  A ridge at 500hPa builds into the central plains and will be responsible for the warm-up today and tomorrow, just before a weak Canadian system brings some frozen precipitation chances to the northern Plains, Great Lakes, and other parts of the central Plains.  Along with this Canadian system, we'll see another low pressure system enter the southern Plains and quickly become cutoff near the Gulf Coast.  This system may bring some heavy rains and precipitation to the southern Plains and Gulf Coast regions for late this week, but should not hinder our warm-up for the northern and central Plains.

Temperature values today will range from the 20s across MN/IA/WI to the upper 50s across western SD/NE/KS.  Wednesdays highs increase to the upper 20s along portions of snow covered areas of the Dakotas, Minnesota and Iowa; to the 60s across western Kansas.  Highs from the 20s to 50s from north to south across the Dakotas/Minnesota to KS/MO on Thursday.  Similar temperatures will persist for the remainder of the week and into next week ahead of a building trough at 500hPa.

This trough at 500hPa will allow at least two storm systems to round the base of the trough and eject onto the plains states.  Currently models forecast the first of these systems to occur mid-week, and with significant moisture and warm air to work with could lead to a substantial rain event across the central plains and further north into places such as IA/NE and even southern MN.  This could lead to some flooding concerns for areas that still have significant snow pack next week, as ample rainfall would combine with quick snow-melt to create significant run-off.  As this system continues eastward could still need to some wintery precipitation across the northern Plains, with much of the precipitation across the Dakotas falling as snow.  The second system looks to occur in the January 23-25 time frame and may be another significant winter storm for the northern and central plains.  Significant snowfall and increasing winds would be the highlights of this system, which may mean blizzard or near-blizzard conditions for some areas.

These systems are definitely in the long range forecasts, so be sure to enjoy the warming weather for the next week or so...  More details on these systems will be posted as models gain consistency and confidence in a solution increases.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Warming Up!

Snowfall ranged from a few inches to places as far south as the Ozarks in Missouri and into southeast Kansas, to upwards of 8 inches in portions of Iowa to add to their already record snow depth and snowfall totals.  Now areas like Kansas City are creeping in on their records for snowfall with 23.3 inches thus far for the season compared to only 7.5 inches that is expected thus far.  Along with this snowfall that fell across the plains, arctic air dove into the plains states and didn't stop there.  Areas as far south as Georgia and Alabama saw accumulations of winter precipitation this past week, with record temperatures as far south as Florida where they reached into the 20s!

Our arctic high will begin to push east today, and a small ridge will actually work onto the plains states for this week.  This means warming temperatures for much of the plains, although they will still struggle due to the large amounts of snow that are on the ground.  Expect those areas that are on the southern periphery of the snowfall to quickly see their snow melt off early this week and aid in the melting of snow for places farther north.  The warmest day of the week will likely come on Wednesday when the center of the ridge is centered on the plains states.  Temperatures will range from the mid to upper 50s in western Kansas to near freezing across the state of Iowa.  The Kansas City area can expect to see a high near 40 on Wednesday, a full look at temperatures across the KC Metro for the week is below:

Today:  Highs in the mid 20s with lows tonight only dropping to near 20.
Monday:  Highs near freezing with overnight lows in the mid to upper teens.
Tuesday:  Mid 30s for highs and an overnight low in the lower 20s.
Wednesday:  High near 40 for the warmest day of the week, with a low into the mid 20s.
Thur - Sat.:  Highs in the upper 30s and perhaps slightly warmer; overnight lows from the lower 20s into the upper teens.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Winter Storm: Jan. 6-7 Update #1

The snowfall has moved into the midwestern states and the Great Lakes region this morning, with only some isolated flurries left across portions of the central and northern Plains.  Areas that aren't seeing snow this morning are still having troubles will travel due to the strong northwest winds that are currently blowing 20-30 mph with gusts upwards of 40 mph.  The arctic air is also a problem for many places, as temperatures dive into the single digits above and below zero combine with the current winds to lead to dangerous wind chill values across the entire northern/central Plains.

Snowfall totals are hard to measure due to the winds and blowing snow, however, generally it appears that a swath of 5-8" occurred across northwest and central Iowa.  In the Kansas City area we have generally 4-5" across the metro with travel conditions not ideal despite the efforts of the DOT and county road crews.  National Weather Service offices have yet to post a final snowfall totals map, however this should be issued later today and will be posted here either this evening or tomorrow morning.

Be prepared for record cold temperatures once again for tonight, Friday and Friday night across the central Plains.  We'll look towards a warm-up for the end of this weekend and especially through early next week as sunny skies and warmer winds attempt to help us out.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Winter Storm: Jan. 6-7

Another round of winter weather is driving through the northern plains states of IA/NE and into KS/MO this afternoon before moving eastward into the Ohio Valley and northern Tennessee Valley regions for the 7th and 8th.  Winter Weather Advisories and Winter Storm Warnings have been issued for much of the plains, with the heaviest amounts currently falling across the eastern Dakotas and extreme western Minnesota and into extreme eastern Nebraska and across western/central Iowa this morning.  These heavier amounts may also make it into northeastern Missouri and adjacent regions this afternoon.  This heaviest band will likely accumulate 6-8" of snowfall over a fairly short period of time today, with a good swath of 4+ inches across nearly the entire state of Missouri.

Since my last updates I have finished my move down to the Kansas City area, and have started work this week as well.  The Kansas City area can expect 4-6" of snow with this system, with the heavier amounts on the eastern side of the metro.  While some flurries or light snow activity may be seen this morning, expect the heaviest snow to come on this afternoon and at times become heavy.  Luckily the winds will stay light for a majority of the snowfall, but as this evening progresses and we see the last of the snow bands come through the region we'll see the winds turn to the northwest and become quite gusty.  This will create heavy blowing and drifting snow across the area, and may lead to near-blizzard conditions for tonight and through much of the day Thursday. 

Look for an additional update tonight as the snow begins to taper across the KC metro and moves into the Mississippi Valley and into the Ohio Valley.