Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Crazy January warmth - changes coming with a storm

It's one thing to see 70 degree temperatures in January, but to see 80s Tuesday afternoon was definitely a surprise. It is some of the earliest 80 degree weather ever for Kansas, and almost a dozen record highs were set.

A cold front will move through Wednesday evening and we are finally going to get back to near normal for the rest of the week. Normal highs are in the mid 40s and we will be moving closer to that in the coming days. It's not necessarily bitter cold though. Look at the temperatures back across the northern Plains and up into southern Canada. Readings are in the 30s and 40s. So we will cool down for the end of the week and into the weekend, but it's not the Arctic air that we had earlier this month. 

Saturday storm on the way to Kansas
The weekend storm that is on the way looks to spread a rain/snow mix around Kansas. It will likely start out as a wintry mix late Friday night, and then change to some light rain Saturday afternoon. Once the colder air gets involved Saturday night, we will see a changeover to all snow. Accumulations between 1-3 inches look possible across much of central and northern Kansas heading into Saturday night. Not a major storm, but travel could be compromised for several hours into Sunday morning. It's been awhile since we've had snow, but it's still winter and after all of the 70s, this will be quite a change for us.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Blizzard east - record warmth - and preparing for severe weather

All of the attention will be focused on the Northeast today where the big blizzard continues to keep people home and off the streets. I know major storms like that require some of us to work harder, but if someone mandated that you stay home for a day or two and miss work or school, some of us would be okay with that.

We are no strangers to blizzards around here, but we are about as far away from one as you can get with today's weather. More 70s coming up in the afternoon will mean more record breaking warmth across much of Kansas and the central Plains. I would expect close to a dozen record highs will be set in Kansas alone (we are 30 degrees above average)
These are the current record highs that will likely go down the next couple of days
A weekend storm is still expected to move toward Kansas by Friday. This doesn't look to be a major storm, but there is a good chance we will see both rain and snow in our state coming up Saturday and lingering into Sunday. Right now, it looks like the moisture could start as snow, then mix with some rain, and eventually, change back over to all snow Saturday evening. We are still too far out to say where exactly the rain/snow line will set up, but snow accumulation is very possible heading into Saturday night.
Arriving Saturday!!
While the weather is somewhat quiet for now and spring is still two months away, preparation is already underway for the upcoming storm season. Warning the public of threatening weather is definitely a team effort. From the meteorologists to the emergency managers, everyone has to be on the same page and working together in order to keep people safe during times of life threatening weather. On Monday, our group of National Weather Service meteorologists (from as far away as Hastings, NE), broadcasters, and emergency managers met in Lyons to discuss the warning process. We know the methods we use now are good, but how can we improve? As technology changes, how should we adapt to make our communication more effective with the people we serve? Being prepared is the key, and anybody living in Kansas should feel good knowing that all of us involved in warning the public of dangerous weather, continue to look for ways to improve. It's a very fascinating process.
Integrated Warning Team meeting in Lyons on Monday

Monday, January 26, 2015

Record watch - for winter and for warmth

About the only way New Yorkers will be able to get around after Tuesday
We definitely know where winter has gone. The Northeast is going to get hit hard with snow, wind, and bitter cold. It's amazing to think about millions and millions of people who have very busy schedules (like the rest of us) stuck at home because of 2-3 feet of snow. The biggest city in the USA is going to get over 30 inches, and with wind gusts of 30-40 mph... what a mess. All modes of transportation will be very difficult. We've been hearing that this could be one of the worst storms to hit NYC... let's see how it plays out and where it ends up in the record books. The biggest snow event for NYC is 26.9" back in February of 2006.
Heaviest snow expected around the major coastal cities
We could be rewriting record books around here for a completely different reason. If the 60s and 70s from last week didn't put you in the mood for spring, the next couple of days might. Anytime you see the temperature get 25-30 degree warmer than normal, you have to check the history books. Turns out, getting into the low 70s on Tuesday will be historic for most of the state. We won't hear too many complaints about it, but we sure could use some rain (or moisture of any kind) and that's not likely to happen through Thursday or Friday.

Planning ahead... after Wednesday, much cooler air will push south across the Plains. So expect a return to reality by Thursday and Friday. Probably a good thing because we don't want our trees and flowers getting ahead of themselves. There's still plenty of winter to go yet.

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