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| December 2006 »
What a strange day
Well, the storm ended up taking a track just a bit too far south. We are talking about 50 to 60 miles. This took that snow/no snow line right into the city. There are many locations north and west of downtown that are still waiting for their first snowflake.
Here are some snow totals:
Overland Park: 7"
Lee's Summit: 6"
Grandview: 5"Country Club Plaza: 5"
And, then you go just a few miles north and west......NOTHING! What a strange day. There is often a well defined line where the snow cuts off, but it is rarely right over Kansas City. I have felt the frustration of many of you up north and west. We will have other chances this season.
The snow will end after midnight down south and we may add another 2 inches to these totals. A couple of spots may still get close to a foot of snow by the time the storm is over.
I will blog about the crazy week on Friday.
Posted by at 9:05 PM
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The comma head is forming, Snowflake contest ends!
I know I took you on an emotional ride today. I am sorry for that, but in the end IT IS HAPPENING. Almost as predicted!
The comma head is now forming over Oklahoma and Kansas. The northern edge will very likely line up north and west of Kansas City. This will place us in some very heavy snow by the evening rush hour. So, everything is back on track. I should have been more patient. Two hours of sleep will do that for you.
The snowflake contest will be coming to an end soon. Will some areas get a foot or more? Maybe so!
Please send in your snowfall totals around 9:30 PM so I can show them on the 10 PM newscast.
Jeff Penner and I measured our first inch of snow at 2:51 PM. The Snowflake Contest is over. We have 4,000 entries to go through to find the winner.
Posted by at 1:17 PM
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How about some snow?
9:40 AM update........
Don't give up. The radar echoes are increasing. I know I am looking like a fool here, but Brett and Jeremy just told my our Adonis computer model is giving 8 or 9 inche to the south side and 3 inches up north.
The new GFS has 6 to 12 inches here. Let's watch radar. Sorry about this flip flopping today. Let's watch the radar trends. I LIKE WHAT I AM SEEING. A wave is breaking off from the upper low and heading our way.
Posted by at 9:44 AM
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The new NAM has come out and the chance of a major snow storm has been diminished considerably. There is still some hope that a nice band of snow will work its way north into the area and reach Kansas City so let's watch this closely. But, the major snowstorm may be 100 miles further south. Right now I am thinking one inch around KCI and north to 3 inches down south.
Once again. Let's keep watching for, hopefully, another twist and see if this suddenly turns north.
Posted by at 8:25 AM
Its nervous time
Good morning everyone,
Well, I awaken after two hours of sleep and look at the new data. Now I am on the radio and trying to figure this out. I am on Newsradio 980 KMBZ and 106.5 country if you want to here my updates all morning.
The latest model trends take this storm a bit further south. If this trend continues then the northern cutoff point for any snow at all will also shift south. Last night I had that northern cut off point north of St. Joseph. I am, at this moment, thinking it will be between KCI airport and St. Joseph. The bullseye of heaviest snow may also shift south. And, the latest GFS has about half as much precipitation as it had on the past few runs. But, it still has 1/2" to 8/10ths of an inch liquid through Kansas City which would imply 5 to 10 inches of snow. The NAM has about .75" to 1.75" across the KC metro area, and this would translate to the higher amounts of 6 or 8 inches north to 15 inches or more south. I don't have a feel for this developing storm yet. The upper low will intensify today. And, it is just beginning to do so.
Click to enlarge (Upper level low is a bit further south)
Forecast precipitation from the 06z GFS (Click to enlarge)
The above maps show the latest GFS run. Sometimes there is a "dry" run. I hope this is the case as this GFS run is much drier than the past few runs. The upper low still comes close enough to bring the comma head in here.
It is nervous time as we are waiting for some signs. I will be tracking the upper low. If it shows signs of dropping to far south, or further north I will let you know.
We are now waiting for that first snowflake.
Posted by at 5:40 AM
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Major snowstorm heads our way!
Good evening everyone,
The 18z data continues the trend of the storm coming out further north. There will still be a well defined northwest edge. Where will this be? Right now I think it will line up from near Topeka to north of St. Joseph. Then the amounts of snow could be quite significant. Over a foot could fall in some spots.
Why? Arctic air is in place. A very strong upper level storm is actually forecast to become somewhat powerful as it ejects into Missouri. And there is an abundance of Gulf of Mexico air pumping into this storm.
Anyway, wow! We all have been through this before, but something feels very different about this one.
We are forecasting 6 to 12 inches in Kansas City with over a foot in some spots possible.
Gary and the NBC ACTION WEATHER TEAM
Posted by at 5:53 PM
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Ice storm and snowstorm?
The new data is in. We have to talk about ice later today, and then a major snowstorm later Thursday. Amazingly the trend continues northward on the upper level storm. Below you can see the upper level low forming just west of the four corners. And, the 500 mb forecast for the upper low valid Thursday evening. This track would place Kansas City on the edge of the snowstorm Thursday evening.
Click to enlarge (Sat Picture showing developing upper low at 7:45 AM Wed)
Click to enlarge
The above map is the NAM forecast. The NGM also has a similar track. I am expecting the snowstorm to be in our viewing area. But where? Slightly further north we get a lot of snow. Slightly further south or weaker we could still be missed.
And, we have to be concerned with the potential for some ice formation later this afternoon as temperatures continue to fall and rain increases later on. There should be break in the precipitation between 2 AM and 2 PM tomorrow.
Have a great day! Be sure to watch our newscasts today at 5, 6, and 10 PM. You know I will be all over this as one of our big strengths is NOWCASTING (forecasting over the next 6 hours or so)
Posted by at 7:56 AM
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One last update before I turn it in for the night
I was just on the air and it was not an easy weathercast with all of the variables to discuss. We basically feel it will drop to below freezing later in the day in Kansas City and possibly as low as 27 degrees by evening.
The storm is showing signs of coming out a bit further north. Let's see if these trends continue. KCI airport is amazingly already up to over 2 inches of rain for this storm. So, no matter what happens......we were hit by this storm.
Posted by at 10:28 PM
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Evening update....thunderstorms forming...snow?
Good evening everyone,
The NAM model has come out and has a slightly further north solution and perhaps some snow Wednesday night and Thursday morning. A major snowstorm could occur close by and we may be on the edge of this.
Let's see how it looks on Wednesday, but there is a slight trend towards a more wintery solution.
Thunderstorms and heavy rain have formed along the Arctic front. So, this storm is about to produce again.
This storm isn't missing us, but the snow part of it will be close.
Posted by at 8:34 PM
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Latest afternoon trends on the storm
Good afternoon everyone,
We are getting a lot of comments today, so I will likely just post them without commenting today.
The Arctic cold front is on the move and will come through earlier around midnight tonight. So, this is factor #1. Factor #2 is the upper level storm which is SLIGHTLY further north and better organized on the latest NAM model. The threat of snow is still 36 hours away. I have seen many situations where we think we will get snow and there is no chance in Omaha. And, then Omaha gets it. Ejecting storm systems often lift further north so let's keep tracking this as I am still thinking this could be just a bit too far south. And this is sad for snow lovers. But, hold onto that little bit of hope and watch our newscasts tonight as we track this storm.
Click to enlarge (We need this storm to close off and be just a bit further north)
Posted by at 2:43 PM
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Storm diving south
Good late morning everyone,
The new data this morning continued the trend from last night. Below, you can see the 500 mb flow valid Thursday morning. The X near Mexico is the upper level storm diving well to the south. And the trough is positively tilted at this point which will limit any lifting and thus any significant precipitation is unlikely.
Click to enlarge
This upper level storm hasn't formed yet. It will be developing during the day on Wednesday. So, there is still some hope of a further north and better tilted solution. But, until I see any evidence of it we are thinking the chance of any winter precipitation is slight.
At least we had a nice rain with some heavy thunderstorms last night. Did any of you sleep through the thunder and lightning? KCI had 1.33" of rain.
Have a great day.
Posted by at 10:31 AM
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The 06z data overnight is not good and has somewhat ruined my morning. I have tried to explain that things change. The weather is always changing. And, the latest models have trended strongly away from us having anything significant. I would really like to look at the new data in the 8 AM hour and then give you my oppinion.
The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Watch. It could have been issued too early. I wish they would have waited until this afternoon just in case something like this happened.
So, I will update this by mid morning. At least we had a very nice rain with thunderstorms. I will have some rainfall totals later. Send me your rainfall totals if you have the chance.
Posted by at 6:30 AM
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Wild weather week
Good morning everyone,
Has our patience paid off? It has been a difficult 30 days with dry and disappointing weather. Will this frustration end as early as this afternoon or evening?
Here are the weather factors for this week:
1) A cold front that has been slowly sliding across the Kansas City metro area this morning. Where will this stall? This plays a factor into who will get heavy rain later on today and this evening.
2) Powerful storm digging further south into the base of the developing western trough. We talked about this last week and I said that if a storm on the southern end of this trough is a bit stronger then we could have a significant storm. This appears to be happening.
3) The Arctic airmass which will blast its way through us late Wednesday into Thursday. This is likely more than just an Arctic front, but one of the expected Arctic outbreaks that we talked about in our winter forecast. It could be very cold for a few days.
These are the main factors that we will be watching. Today, the front made it through KCI airport before 6 AM. But it is stalling which makes today's temperature forecast extremely difficult. And, this front will move north tonight and we go right back into the warmer moist air overnight into Tuesday. Rain will likely be developing today and becoming quite heavy in some areas. Unfortunately it could end up just north of a few of us and the frustration could continue. If the front can push just a bit further south this morning then we could all be in on the heavier rain later today. And we need it.
Then we concentrate on the major winter storm that could affect us Wednesday night and Thursday. Yes, it could be a major winter storm. But, since it is two to three days away let's see if we are getting excited about it on Tuesday and Wednesday. Two days from now it will look different.
Click to enlarge (upper level flow valid noon Wed)
The above map shows the deepening trough into the southwest United States. The red X is the main upper level storm near Las Vegas Nevada. We will have to watch this closely. I like the way this looks and the trend is for it to track into Arizona, New Mexico and then eject out across Missouri on Thursday. With the Arctic front also a major factor this could be a significant snowstorm for someone. Below, you can see the surface map valid noon on Wednesday. The Arctic front is forecast to be just northwest of us with rain and thunderstorms forming along it. We could be in the 60s Wednesday morning and in the 20s by evening.
Click to enlarge (Surface map valid noon Wednesday)
So, we have an exciting day today, Tuesday looks fascinating as we warm into the 70s, then Wednesday is the dramatic day of transition, and Thursday we could see our first snow. Wow, this could be one of our most interesting weeks in years. Or, could we be left extremely frustrated again. Don't you think we are due?
Have a great day!
Posted by at 6:39 AM
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My First Weather Blog!
My long anticipated first blog is here! I have been in Kansas City for nearly a month and so far the city and people have been great. I moved here from Madison, WI where I had been working for the past 5 years as a Meteorologist for a broadcast television station and also forecasting for a private weather company. So when the opportunity presented itself to take a job in Kansas City working with a respected Meteorologist like Gary Lezak, I couldn't turn down the chance.
I am looking forward to the middle of December...that is when my wife and daughter will be moving to Kansas City for good. Hopefully once the New Year begins we will be settled and have a chance to explore more of Kansas and Missouri.
Before we discuss the weather here is a little more background information on me. I am originally from a small town in southwest Minnesota. So I am very use to harsh winters and hot summers. One of my most vivid weather memories from growing up in Minnesota is experiencing the Halloween Blizzard of 1991. It was quite a sight to see 3-5" of snow on the ground by the afternoon of October 31, and it was still snowing hard. Two days later the snow ended and many snow records were set throughout the state. There was around 20" of snow in my hometown! After finishing high school I attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI and graduated with a degree in Meteorology.
My first on-air job was in Marquette, MI. If you aren't familiar with Marquette, it is in the Lake Superior Snow Belt. My first and only winter in Marquette saw a record breaking 272" of snow. Yes I said 272"! The last pile of snow melted on May 30! So after one winter it was time to start heading south.
After Marquette I worked in Madison, WI for 5 years as a Meteorologist. Now I am delighted to be in Kansas City and am already looking forward to severe weather season. Even though the weather has been a bit 'boring' to this point, it has been nice to ease into things to get a grasp on the community and surrounding areas during a calm stretch of weather. But changes are ahead!
Hopefully everyone is enjoying the mild weather this Thanksgiving weekend because a cold front will be headed our way by the middle of the upcoming week. Gary has been alluding to this for several days now. It looks like the front will swing through sometime on Wednesday. The models continue to slow the front just a bit each day, but right now Wednesday morning looks like the arrival of much colder air. Behind the front nighttime lows will approach zero in parts of the northern Plains, and in Kansas City we will see lows in the teens by later next week. Daytime highs will only be in the 30s on Thursday and Friday...and maybe even into next Saturday!
As for snow? Right now it still looks like the moisture pulls away just as the colder air is moving in, so maybe a small chance of some flurries or snow showers on Wednesday. It is still early, but RIGHT NOW this storm would not bring Kansas City much snow. The good news for snow lovers is that the pattern does appear to be shifting and may become more active behind the storm. No big storms are in sight, but the more active pattern should push a couple of storms across the southern Midwest and South during the first half of December. So in other words...just continue to be patient.
Enjoy the last day of the holiday weekend and make sure to write me with any questions or comments at anytime. Now that my blog account is set up I will try to blog at least once every weekend!
Posted by jnelson at 6:57 PM
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First Arctic front
It's FRIDAY! I was at the game last night and Jeremy filled in at 10 PM. I am back to work today and tracking this strong cold front. It is an Arctic front. How cold will the air be when it arrives here and will we see any snow? There is an upper level trough swinging by. If we can get a storm to form on its southern extent then we could see some snow here on Wednesday. But if everything stays phased then we will end up with just a few flurries.
Click to enlarge (500 mb flow valid Wednesday morning)
Once again, above you are looking at the 500 mb flow. This is about 18,000 feet up in the atmosphere. This is my favorite level to look at as it shows upper level storm systems so well, and 500 mb is half way through the atmosphere in weight. 0 mb is the top of the atmosphere and our pressure near the surface is always around 1000 mb. This map shows a pretty strong trough swinging through the Rockies. If we get a well defined system to develop in the base of this trough then we have a chance of a snowstorm. But, we don't see this happening yet. A slight difference one way or the other will decide what happens at the surface and what we get to experience. Now, the surface can influence this upper level flow too. Let's see how this evolves.
The surface forecast for Tuesday night is on the map below. You can see the strong front moving through and the precipitation associated with this. Once again, if that upper level trough can be more pronounced on its southern end then we get more of a storm. If not, then we get a dramatic cold front passage and not much more.
Click to enlarge (Surface map valid Tuesday night)
We will be tracking this changing weather pattern closely. It is dry and it would be nice to at least get some rain.
Have a great weekend.
Posted by at 11:05 AM
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Happy Thanksgiving & a strong cold front
Click to enlarge (500 mb flow valid Monday night)
Click to enlarge (Surface valid Monday night)
Click to enlarge (Surface valid Wednesday morning)
The above series of maps show the weather pattern for early next week. An Arctic high has formed and is moving into the United States. This will be a very cold air mass and when the cold front moves through Wednesday it should be quite noticeable. There may be some rain and maybe a few snowflakes after the cold air gets here. We must watch this closely. As you look at the base of the trough on the 500 mb map there is a wave. If this feature is deeper and sags further south then we could have a band of snow. But, as is the chance would be quite slim.
Happy Thanksgiving! Have a great day and let's hope this evolves in a way that will be more exciting than just a strong cold front!
Posted by at 7:49 AM
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No 70 degrees today?
Good afternoon everyone,
We blew it! Last week we had 66 and 67 degrees for today and Thanksgiving. I wish we would have stuck with it. The National Weather Service at that time had 50s. I just over analyzed the data and I should never have gone into the 70s. There is still a small chance of it getting to near 70 degrees on Thanksgiving Day.
So, I admit it. And, we will do better on the next situation! It is warm enough for it to be 70 degrees about 4 to 5,000 feet up but we just didn't mix enough of that air to the surface. One of our bloggers hit this point well yesterday.
It is still a great day, and Thanksgiving will also be fantastic.
Have a safe holiday weekend. The weather pattern is becoming more energetic and wild in the next two weeks. Hopefully something exciting will happen soon.
Posted by at 4:49 PM
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Good morning everyone,
Don't eat too much on Thursday! I am likely going to do the 5 and 6 PM newscasts from Arrowhead stadium. Then Jeremy is doing the 10 PM newscast Thursday night as I will be at the game. The Chiefs better win.
The weather pattern will become more active next week, but something is still wrong. The models just don't want to have a storm for us. Below is the surface map valid next Tuesday at noon. Take a look.....
Click to enlarge (surface map valid next Tuesday)
This could be a very strong cold front with some Arctic air behind it. This Arctic airmass is currently growing in strength. This is building in the area I thought they would build this year, very different than the past few years. But, with the surface low way up north near northwest Iowa we will have a problem producing any rain or snow. Now, this is still a few days away and hopefully the pattern will shift just enough to allow this storm to act a bit differently.
Something is very wrong with this pattern right now. Our dry spell is up to 26 days. It has rained and snowed during this stretch but only 0.21" at KCI. This is extremely dry. You know me. As soon as I see hope I will let you know. The only hope we had was around the time we issued our winter forecast on November 10th. Since then I have had NOTHING exciting to talk about. This could change during the next week or so. If it doesn't........we are in trouble, as meteorologist Jeff Penner keeps saying daily.
Posted by at 8:09 AM
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What is this weather pattern we are in?
As we move into the Thanksgiving holiday weekend it will warm up. How much? We still think it will get to near 70 or higher Wednesday through Thanksgiving Day. The warmest Thanksgiving Day in Kansas City recorded history is 70 degrees. It has happened three times and we are expecting this record to be broken big time on Thursday. The days are very short now so many things can go wrong with warm ups like some high clouds. Right now we are expecting complete sunshine Wednesday through Thursday as a ridge pumps up over us aloft.
So, what is this weather pattern we are in? As the weeks go by it will slowly become clear as to what this weather pattern really is. I have concerns that it isn't as exciting as we thought it could be, but then again I keep saying let's be patient. The weather pattern appears to be cycling, as expected. So, as we go through the first real cycle which we are likely in now we can start seeing some things repeat. Look below:
Click to enlarge (500 mb flow valid Wednesday)
I have labled areas 1, 2, 3, and 4 on the above forecast map valid on Wednesday. About 10 days ago when we saw this warm holiday week showing up we wondered and Jeff Penner picked it out. It is rather obvious to us, but this is very similar to what happened during the first week of October when we had a record shattering heat wave during the first three days of the month and it stayed warm for a week. Look below at the second map: I have labeled the features that are "shockingly" similar to what is happening this week. Very interesting isn't it? The more exciting part of our weather pattern should follow this stretch of warmth and dry and last two to three weeks. The computer models have had a very hard time figuring this out and this is why many of you are so frustrated.
Click to enlarge (Actual 500 mb map from October 6th)
Have a great day! We will be tracking our first Arctic cold front of the season on NBC ACTION NEWS tonight at 5, 6, and 10 PM, and then Brett will be tracking these developments on Wednesday morning (Thanksgiving Day EVE).
Posted by at 7:32 AM
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It's a warm up and the Chiefs win!
It is a big travel week and without a storm in our forecast, and across most of the United States for that matter, it will ease the minds of people going in and out of Kansas City through the end of the week.
I was at the Chiefs game sitting in the seats my dad had bought for his visit to Kansas City. Well, his plane going form Palm Springs to Phoenix had to turn around due to some unknown problem. He said they were just 20 minutes from the Phoenix airport when they turned around and went back to Palm Springs. It was late Friday evening so they couldn't get another flight and I was robbed of a visit with my father this weekend. He didn't even come at all. It was rather frustrating since I was really looking forward to it. At least the Chiefs won to ease my disappointment a bit, and the seats were awesome. Now can the Chiefs beat the Broncos Thursday night. The weather looks great!
The weather pattern is strange and still showing what it can or can't do. I will go into much more detail as we go through the week. It is very dry and getting drier, but I still am holding onto that this is just the dry part of an overall bigger picture.
Posted by at 6:57 AM
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Click to enlarge (168 hr 500 mb GFS valid Thanksgiving Day)
Good morning, IT'S FRIDAY!
Something is happening! And, it is good. We go through this every year after we make our winter forecast. The next few days always look different than what we forecasted. It should be no surprise because remember, according to my theory, we are cycling through a pattern now. We just don't have the # of days defined, and we don't know all of the phases of the weather pattern. The cycle has been as long as 76 days and as short as 34 days or so. The average length of the cycle during the past few years has been around 55 to 60 days. So, It should be no surprise that right after I make the winter forecast the part of the cycle that is about to happen hasn't really happened yet, so the weather pattern, at this moment, can look exactly opposite to what I was explaining just days before. This makes sense to me, but I can imagine how confusing this would be to you this morning. We will really know the pattern in a few weeks, but my first impression and forecast is usually very close.
So, as I have been saying all along. Just be patient. It can't be as bad as it has been looking. The above 500 mb chart is still 7 days away. All it shows is a trough, rather weak working its way across the western United States. Look at the difference from yesterday's 500 mb forecast at 168 hours. Now, today's is valid one day later, but it is still a huge difference. Remember the computer models have all kinds of errors by 24 hours. So, by 72 hours the errors are exponentially becoming extreme. By 168 hours it is amazing that we can use this data at all. This is why 7 day forecasts should be used as a trend because a storm showing up 7 days away will either not be there, or it will happen on day 5, 6, or 8.
Have a great day. Try to be patient. I like the latest trends. My prediction for the first one inch of snow is December 10th at 4:35 PM.
My father is coming to Kansas City this weekend with my half brother and his fiance. This is very exciting and I will try to get a picture for next week.
Posted by at 6:32 AM
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Dry weather continues
It is the the morning of the City Lights annual downtown holiday lighting ceremony. I am the MC of the event and doing the weather out there during the 5 and 6 PM newscasts tonight. It is at the Barney Allis Plaza right near the Marriot hotel if you want to come by and see Santa Clause.
As I drive out there this afternoon I will be wondering what to say about this winter forecast I issued last week. At this moment NOTHING is happening. The models are extremely consistant with showing the deeper Gulf of Alaska trough and something blocking us from seeing anything exciting. It has dried out after October brought us some decent rainfall. We continue to wait for a serious chance of snow. Our first few snowflakes may have fallen for a few minutes last Friday, but the snowflake contest shows no signs of ending. My prediction for the first 1" is December 10th at 4:35 PM. I picked this day as I believe the weather pattern is now cycling and the stormier part of the pattern should return by the very end of this month into the first half of December. But, I have concerns.
Click to enlarge (12 GFS hour forecast)
Click to enlarge (168 hour, or 7 day GFS forecast)
There is no way this trend can continue. If it did, then we would have a worse pattern than last year. I just don't buy it. The above maps show a continuation of an endless generation of the Gulf of Alaska upper low which throws up a ridge to its east preventing us from having any chance of anything. This looks rather similar to early October when we had record breaking heat. Within a week after that period in October we had some interesting changes and I am expecting this to happen again. Something should get triggered in the next week or so and this endless period of frustration and nothing will end. The pattern that I believe is now cycling can't be this bad. It just can't be. The jet stream is getting stronger and will reach its peak strength in two months or so. This extra energy should help a lot. But, at this second I am concerned. It is never a good feeling after you just miss a storm system. St. Louis weather enthusiasts don't quite feel this way as they were in the comma head yesterday with rain.
Let's try to be patient. It isn't easy right now, but at least it will be warming up next week. The warmest Thanksgiving in our history is 70 degrees. Could we make a run at this record? Let's see how things evolve by early in the holiday week.
We would like to thank everyone for all of the feedback to yesterday's topic. We will continue to work hard at bringing you the most accurate, informative, and entertaining weather information.
Posted by at 6:44 AM
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The storm misses us, sort of. We are still getting the clouds and a lot of wind but only some very light drizzle from this storm which is amazing.
Let's look back on our thoughts:
Sunday blog entry: "When a storm starts digging it will almost always dig harder west than the models predict" It ended up digging too hard diving in west and south of us.
Monday blog entry: if it is right, is too warm for any snow .......Let's just hope we get this storm. Rain or snow is fine with me! The latest GFS takes this storm further south which could leave us with almost nothing, rain or snow. So, this is weather! It can drive you nuts.
Tuesday blog entry: Yes this storm is about to leave us dry (the above map is the 12 hour forecast rainfall for tonight showing almost nothing unless you live west through south). And this what we went with on the air all day while the other forecasts kept mention of a significant rain event.
I know there were a few other forecasts that left snow, thunderstorm, heavy rain in there, well after we had already clearly explained that there was a very good chance we could get nothing. I had stated on the air that there was "NO CHANCE OF SNOW" on our weather broadcasts begining early Monday.
Here is the problem: I go around town and when I was at Oak Park Mall yesterday several people came up and asked me how much snow I was expecting. And, I explained there was no chance and asked where they got this forecast from. They had watched another channel and just looked surprised since they didn't even consider that there could have been another forecast that was different than the one they had heard or seen.
If you look at the ratings from Monday night, CBS and ABC had very high prime time ratings and NBC didn't leading into our 10 PM newscast. So, twice as many people watched the other newscasts and probably saw that weathercast. It is frustrating to us that viewers don't know there is a signficant difference. Well, at least we believe there is, and I am sure many of you will agree. How can we spread the word to these other viewers that they can actually get an accurate forecast? I know that other viewers will not consider NBC ACTION NEWS as their favorite newscast, but if they could change their image of weather forecasts it would seem that they should give us a try. If anyone has any ideas let me know.
We rarely bring up these controversial topics, but sometimes it just is so frustrating. We put these, what we think are really informative weathercasts together but there are many viewers that just don't see it or don't know there is a difference. Last night I showed this brick wall and explained how we would be lucky if we get even 0.01" of rain which we now know we won't even get. And, we were the first to take the snow COMPLETELY out. But, I still bump into people around town who heard another forecast and just think that we are all wrong. We will continue to work hard at putting the best weathercasts together each night.
Any thoughts or ideas are welcome. I am not asking for any sympathy. I am just wondering if anyone has any ideas. Bilboards, radio ads, etc? We just work so hard and I would like it to pay off!
And, it happened this morning as I arrived at the gym for my big back and traps workout. As I walked in this very nice lady asked me when the rain would start? I told her it wasn't going to rain, and she had that extremely surprised look on her face of another forecast gone wrong, so we know she had heard someone else's forecast, and the beat goes on.
Posted by at 7:07 AM
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A strong storm and we miss it!
Click to enlarge (rainfall forecast for tonight)
Good morning everyone,
Yes this storm is about to leave us dry (the above map is the 12 hour forecast rainfall for tonight showing almost nothing unless you live west through south). It is hard to believe, and thank goodness we took that snow out of the forecast. Can you imagine us going for snow and then predicting amounts and then.......this morning NOTHING! So, as disappointing as this storm is about to become for us I want everyone to think of the big picture. I am still anticapating our winter prediction to come through so we must be patient. This is all part of the bigger cycle that we have yet to define. Our exciting days will come as December approaches.
Posted by at 8:20 AM
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New Data on the Next Storm
We have just studied all of the new data for the storm Tuesday night and Wednesday. There are 2 major problems for having any snow. 1. It is simply too warm. 2. The track seems to be shifting further south, putting the heaviest precipitation 100-200 miles south of our area (see map below). #2 is also a problem for us getting much rain. Right now it looks like we could get .05" to .25". If the track comes further north, we will get much more rain. The chance of any snow is near zero.
It is only the middle of November, so even if this storm is not a snow producer, remember winter does not begin for another 6 weeks!
Click to Enlarge
Note, the blue line is the rain-snow line. Notice how all of the precipitation is east of the blue line. This means it is all rain. Areas within the blue line, where it is cold enough to snow have no precipitation. The cold air and the storm are not quite together.
Posted by at 4:05 PM
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18 in a row? Rain, not snow, or not much?
We are going for 18 in a row today within 3 degrees. Our forecast for today's high is 54 and I think we will do it. This is our longest streak of the year. And, we had 5 days in a row in which we hit the high on the nose. This is almost impossible to do. There will be some big challenges this week to keep this streak going.
As hot as we have been in forecasting the weather during the past few weeks it will still be quite challenging on Wednesday morning. Will it be cold enough to snow? The new data comes out soon and I will add to this entry in a while.
Rainfall amounts from last night:
KCI airport: 0.09"
Lee's Summit: .09"
Click to enlarge (Surface map valid 6 AM Wednesday)
The above map is theNAM 48 hour surface chart. The blue dotted line is the 540 thickness line which is a measure of the temperatures throughout the surface to 500 mb level and provides us with a clue as to where it is cold enough to snow. This blue dotted line is well west of us, but only a slight change and it could shift into the comma head that is forming.
So, this latest NAM, if it is right, is too warm for any snow. Let's continue to watch these trends. The biggest problem will be the surface temperature, not to mention it may be above 32 degrees through the first 5,000 feet. If the storm is strong enough it could cool the entire layer by 2 or 3 degrees and then watch out, but it may not be strong enough, or more than the strength, there just isn't enough cold air.
Things to watch: Where will the upper low form? How cold will it be at the surface? Let's just hope we get this storm. Rain or snow is fine with me! The latest GFS takes this storm further south which could leave us with almost nothing, rain or snow. So, this is weather! It can drive you nuts.
Posted by at 7:32 AM
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To snow or not to snow?
Good late afternoon,
The 18z data comes out with a very important solution to the Wednesday storm. And, rain is developing and heading our way this evening. Are we actually about to have an exciting week?
Click to enlarge (18z 500 mb valid 6 AM Wednesday)
The above map shows the latest data with the development of an upper low in the perfect position for us to see some snow. Let's see if this trend continues. When a storm starts digging it will almost always dig harder west than the models predict. There are a lot of uncertainties and at this moment the trend is good.
Have a great Sunday night. Jeremy will be tracking this situation right after tonight Sunday night football on NBC Action News.
Posted by at 4:23 PM
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Mid-week storm system
Happy Saturday everyone,
I did something amazing this morning. I bought a ladder and changed 6 lightbulbs in my house. This is my first ladder. Wow, what an experience. I feel like I accomplished something as it was getting pretty dark in here.
There is a storm system on the computer models this morning showing up for Wednesday into Thursday. Below are two maps. The first is the 500 mb forecast from the GFS for Wednesday evening. The second shows the upper low has formed over Missouri by Thursday morning.
Click to enlarge (500 mb flow valid 6 PM Wednesday)
Click to enlarge (500mb flow valid 6 AM Thursday)
The storm forms right over Missouri on this GFS run. We could have our first snowstorm of the season if it forms fast enough. If it takes 6 more hours to develop the snow would fall in Iowa and Wisconsin again, just missing us. If it forms 6 to 12 hours faster then the snowflake contest could end. Good luck on this one. We should have a better idea as we get closer and closer, but at the same time we may not know for sure until right before it happens. I am in the middle right now, so let's just watch the trends.
Have a great day. Jeremy Nelson, our new weekend meteorologist, will be blogging by next weekend. We still haven't set his account up on the blog. He will be on tonight tracking these developments.
Posted by at 10:24 AM
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Snow, snow, snow!
Good Friday night in the big town,
It is snowing! That's right, go look outside it might not last too long, but the next two or three hours we should see our first snowflakes of the season!
I just thought I would let you know. I haven't seen one yet, but they are heading towards the city from the north. I am heading outside in a few minutes.
Posted by at 7:45 PM
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Good morning everyone,
Hopefully you enjoyed and got something out of the winter forecast. Every year after I make our initial forecast we go through what I call the "panic period". It is amazing! And, it is settling in right now as you look at the models and they are showing NOTHING. But, November is a strange month so let's try to just stay calm and see how the pattern and cycle set up in the next few weeks.
We should have the video winter forecast on line by the end of the day. Right now you can go to weather at NBCACTIONNEWS.COM and see the winter forecast.
There are two big features that I am basing this forecast on. #1 is a persistant "long term" long wave ridge near 145 west longitude well off the California coast. It is this ridge that, despite us being in an El Nino year, will prevent Southern California from having a wet season. They could come close to average out there, but probably just average. This ridge is important and I am already very surprised it hasn't translated into strong southwestern upper closed lows. February into April is closed low season out there and this is when I am expecting some bigger storm systems to come our way during the second half of winter. The jet stream reaches peak strength in late January before a slow weakening begins in February. Right after this peak is reached is when the closed, cut-off low season usually begins. So, look for this.
Another main feature is a "long term" long wave trough near the Great Lakes. It seems to be masked right now but I believe it will be there and strongly quite often this season. This is why I am forecasting colder than average temperatures up there overall. And, this should be a nice cold air source for us.
This weather pattern is very complex and we will know so much more within a month so stay tuned. I will try to answer your questions over the next 24 hours. I am sort of wiped out today as we have layed it in on the line! 25 inches of snow can fall in one storm as it did in our biggest snow storm back on March 23rd, 1912. So, our forecast of 25 inches will be interesting to follow.
Have a great weekend. There could even be a few snowflakes falling this evening!
Posted by at 7:25 AM
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Tonight is the night!
We will finally be done putting our winter forecast together for the 10 PM newscast by late this afternoon. Do you know what goes into putting this together? Well, I will tell you this morning.
I think you know about my theory which states, "The weather pattern sets up between October 10th and November 10th and then begins cycling. Every year is unique! And it happens EVERY YEAR". So, if you believe my theory, and of course I do, then you know a pattern has set up that has NEVER happened before. This is where the challenges are extreme. What exactly is this pattern that is now set up? We have a pretty good idea and we are about to explain.
So, during the past few weeks we have been analyzing, studying the data, getting frustrated by every computer model that comes in. And, then in the end making some conclusions that we have high confidence in. But, with this said, the real pattern will become more apparent during the next month or so. Our first impression, though, is often very accurate.
After we have it figured out I write out a script which I completed last night. I explain my theory, without getting too scientific. I talk about where I think some of the main features are. And, then in the end we make a forecast for the nation and for Kansas City. The amount of snow will be in the last second of my report tonight at 10 PM. I may be judged on this total, and this if fine, but come on we barely can predict the amount of snow for each given situation so I don't worry about it too much. I still want to be close though.
Now, an editor will be working with video, graphics we have made, and other features and put these pictures to my words. And, then at 10 PM tonight we finally let you know.
I just thought I would fill you in on how this works. It has been a bit stressful. But, it will be a relief when we are done.
Click to enlarge
The above map is the NAM valid 6 AM Friday. The colder air is about to move in. This front has some strength, but it isn't like an Arctic front. We could see a few showers or thunderstorms early in the morning with some drizzle or light rain as the cold air moves in after sunrise.
Have a great day! I hope you can watch the winter forecast tonight at 10 PM.
Posted by at 8:08 AM
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How much snow will fall this winter?
We are very busy putting our winter forecast together. I will have a full blog about it on Friday. How much snow do you want?
Posted by at 9:15 PM
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Message from Jamie
Hi, Gary, Jeff, Brett, Jeremy... and the rest of the bloggers!
It's Jamie... blogging from Dayton, Ohio! I have been working already--I was on the air this past weekend. Everything is going great... and I am showing the other meteorologists a lot of graphic ideas I learned from Gary and Jeff. They think it's pretty cool, and they're calling me at home now to help them put stuff together! :)
Today, I am going house hunting! It is cloudy and raining here, as this trough is swinging through. There is a very nice fall feel to the day! I can't believe the warm-up that is heading your/our way for the end of the week! You'll get it more than us... but even a day or so near 70 will be welcome here in Ohio!
Well... I am off... wish me luck on the house-hunting mission! And good luck to YOU, analyzing those 500mb charts for the GRC!
Thank you Jamie! Keep us updated. We are one night away from our winter forecast. It is a very difficult pattern, but I think we are converging on what we believe is going on.
Posted by at 11:29 PM
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We have a little dry spell going on
The dry spell reaches 11 days in a row without measurable rain. We had some drizzle that added up to a trace yesterday, but this could end up being the longest dry spell of the year. We had a 15 day dry spell with no measurable rain from February 17th to March 3rd. There were two days with a trace of precipitation during that stretch, but it is the longest stretch of the year of no measurable rain, until possibly this one.
We are two nights away from our winter forecast. This extremely complex weather pattern continues to show itself and we are slowly coming to some conclusions on what will likely happen this winter. I can tell you that I was more excited weeks ago than I am today about the pattern, but I still don't think we are "doomed" like we knew we were last year. There is potential. It is amazing, but with two days to go we are literally going to be working on this up to almost the last minute to put the finishing touches on our presentation for the 10 PM news on Thursday night. I will be talking a little about my theory, but then also getting to the points that everyone wants to know, like how much snow, will it be cold, any ice, etc. I will be getting about 3 extra minutes to tell this complex weather story.
In the mean time, this next storm takes on a different look every day. The latest GFS takes the Friday night storm north of us. Let's see what the new data shows today.
Posted by at 7:49 AM
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3 nights away and KCI thermometer
The thermometer at KCI airport is fixed. They changed the sensor today and it is reading more accurately, about 3 degrees cooler than it was reading. Yeah! Thank you all for sending in the complaints as this helped them realize there actually was a problem.
We are now 3 nights away from unveiling our winter forecast. Jeff and I are doing the analysis for the next hour and then we will have a better picture of what this pattern really is doing soon.
Posted by at 3:57 PM
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Back to storm this week
Update to below, and it shows you how things can change and fast! The latest models do have a nice storm around Friday and then next week too! I will cover this in detail on the air tonight. So, you can disregaurd some of the statments below.
We should have no distractions as we put our winter forecast together this week. There is no storm, suddenly, for the end of the week. The flow aloft is getting stronger and stronger across the Pacific and with no blocking anywhere at this moment all of the waves are going further north. Below, you can see the overnight GFS model. It has, what was going to be our late week storm, a weak wave just moving across southern Canada and the northern plains. So, we won't get anything out of this one. The jet is strengthening over the Pacific. Where will this energy go? It will say a lot for what could happen this winter.
Click to enlarge (upper flow valid noon Friday)
This is a very strange weather pattern. One minute I like it, the next I am not so sure. Where will the wheel of weather land this year? Or rather, where has it landed as I believe the pattern is now set!
Posted by at 7:31 AM
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Winter Forecast Thursday night
Good Sunday morning,
The Chiefs kickoff against the Rams in one hour. I will escape into my football Sunday and then get back to my weather world in a few hours.
We have a lot of work to get done in the next three days. Our winter forecast will be unveiled Thursday night at 10 PM. I am slowly figuring out this weather pattern. When we issue our winter forecast it will really just be our first guess after weeks of analysis taking a lot of things into consideration, the biggest of which is my own theory which you can read about in recent blog entries, or wait until later this week when we go over it again. This first guess is almost always a very good prediction for what will happen in the next few months.
Now, with this said I have something for you to think about and comment on. Last year we forecasted the almost perfect prediction of 11 inches of snow, or about 55% of average for the season. Only just over 13 inches fell last year, so our snowfall prediction was almost right on. We did update our forecast in December as I anticipated we would have another chance of a big snowstorm. It didn't happen, so my update to 26 inches sounds bad, but I didn't worry about it as much as others around me. Why? First of all it almost happened. Remember last March when we had our big snow busted forecast and 30 inches fell in southern Nebraska and we just got missed. Secondly, and most importantly, the snow forecast is more of a guess than the winter forecast weather pattern. We get the pattern figured out, but what specifically happens, like the amount of snow, isn't as important to me. Oh, I would love to hit the snowflall forecast on the nose, but if the pattern is doing what I thought it was going to do and it helps us in forecasting a storm a week away, then this is the more important factor.
Does this make sense? We will hope for the snowfall forecast to be right on, but more importantly the weather pattern is what we are really predicting. Last year our winter forecast was for it to be a warm and dry winter with maybe 11 inches of snow. You can't deny that this forecast was about as perfect as it can get for a long range forecast. We are just a few days away from this years forecast.
Posted by at 11:22 AM
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35 weeks in a row, streak ends
Good Saturday morning everyone,
It had rained or snowed at least a trace every week since it was dry from Sunday, February 19th through Saturday February 25th. This is 35 weeks in a row that some precipitation fell between Sunday and Saturday. So, this week ended a very long streak. It is hard to believe that in a dry year that we had a streak like this but we did. Hopefully a new streak will begin this week.
Have a great weekend.
Posted by at 8:02 AM
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Chance of rain & much warmer
Good morning everyone,
Below is the 500 mb chart valid Sunday at 6 PM. Remember, 500 mb is around 18,000 feet up. I have drawn two red arrows to show the diffluent flow at this level. When the air is diverging apart above, then the air should be converging and rising below. This is causing a favorable environment for clouds and possibly some rain to develop. There is no well organized upper level system, but just a series of weaker disturbances. It may still be enough to create an area of rain, with a few thunderstorms by Sunday night or Monday. My confidence level is rising a bit.
Click to enlarge (500 mb valid Sunday evening)
After this goes by then we have a nice warming trend Tuesday into Thursday before the next, and stronger, storm arrives later next week. The latest trend is for there not to be enough cold air for any snow with this next storm, but we must continue to watch it carefully.
6 days away from our winter forecast next Thursday night at 10 PM.
Have a great weekend.
Posted by at 8:52 AM
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Our new meteorologist and winter
This weekend Jeremy Nelson, our new NBC Action News Meteorologist will make his debut. He is from southern Minnesota, and has been doing the weather as Chief Meteorologist of the FOX station in Madison, WI the past few years. He is a talented forecaster and will add some insight into our weather team. I am sure it will be a few weeks or months before he really settles into Kansas City and feels comfortable here, so let's give him some positive feedback as he goes through the next few weeks.
Guess what, maybe Jeremy is bringing some exciting weather with him. Our first snow is sort of showing up on the GFS this morning. I am NOT forecasting it at this moment but around day 7 to 8 a major storm may form. Below is the 500 mb map valid next Thursday morning, the day we unveil our winter forecast. A trough is slowly sagging into the Rockies and it somewhat fits with the developing pattern. I like what I am seeing, but I have a few concerns as well.
Click to enlarge (Valid Thursday November 9th)
After this period a strong storm develops near Kansas City, but it is way to early to get excited as it will not look like this every day. So, yes, for the first time I see potential, but only a little bit at this moment. If any of you get too excited about this chance I will get upset.
Posted by at 11:15 AM
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Weather Pattern Theory part 4
Good morning everyone,
Have you been looking at the computer models lately? They look different every day. Is this unusual? No! When you look at the computer models, errors are made. In the first 6 hours of data there are errors. These compound as we get to 12 hours. By 60 and 72 hours there are so many errors, but the data can still be somewhat reliable. After 72 hours it becomes much less reliable, so when you look at a map that is a forecast for 120 hours and beyond it has very little chance to be even close to what will really happen. The GFS goes out to 384 hours and it is almost always just fantasy at that point and it tries to repeat what has been going on earlier in the model run. So, if we are in a stormy pattern today, then the GFS and other models often show other storm systems at days 5 through 16. The next day as the storm flattens or moves on the pattern looks more like that and suddenly what you thought would be storm systems forever has now changed to when will we have another storm?
So, my point is: be careful when looking at the maps past day 3. Look for where there may be errors in the data and then make your own ideas of what may actually happen. The models have tried to put snow near Kansas City a couple of times already during the past two weeks. I analyzed it and saw absolutely no way with the situation we were in.
And, now to my weather pattern theory. Remember my theory states that the weather pattern sets up between October 10th and November 10 and then begins cycling. We are still in that 31 day stretch. It is only November 1st. This is why I am still analyzing deeply every day. It isn't what the computer models show, it is what actually happens that counts. And, not the specific weather like rain, snow, cold, and warm near the surface, but what actually happens in the upper levels of the atmosphere. One more point......Think about this........The Ocean is a flat surface, a huge energy source for sure, but still a flat surface with varying temperatures that influence the weather. The atmosphere above is a huge ocean with no noticeable boundaries from the surface up to about 50,000 feet, the top of the troposphere, which is called the tropopause. This is where all of the weather that we experience occurs. This is SO much bigger than the ocean....MUCH larger, and this is one of the reasons I believe El Nino, La Nina, PDO, and other ocean temperature anamolies and oscillations have only a minor influence on the developing weather pattern or GRC. Something MUCH bigger is going on that we just can't see.
Don't forget....Our winter forecast is unveiled on Thursday night, NOVEMBER 9th! Please pass the word.
Posted by at 8:34 AM
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