Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Geminids Meteor Shower... get ready!!

The weather remains very quiet in Kansas and at least one benefit is the chance to enjoy what could be the best meteor shower all year. Here's what you need to know to get ready for the Geminids.

First, no moonlight! That's right, the moon isn't going to come up until 4:06 a.m. and it's in the waning crescent stage. So no extra light to wash away meteors.

Second, the Geminids coincides with its parent asteroid, which will only add to the number of meteors that we might see. So it is possible, if you get to a dark, rural area that you might see over 100 per hour. That's a good show.

You will want to look toward the east early in the evening, but as the night continues, you will eventually start looking straight up.

Most meteor showers peak in the early morning hours (and this one will too), but what is so special about this one is that after 9 p.m., you could start to see quite a few about 30° above the eastern horizon.

Forecast for Wed. Night: Mostly clear (there will be some high clouds passing through, but I still think the brighter meteors will shine through just fine) - temperatures will be down in the 30s/low 40s early evening, but if you wait until early Thursday morning, you can expect temperatures down in the 20s for most areas.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Remember the ice storm of 2007?

The weather has been so nice around Kansas lately that it's easy to forget what it CAN be like this time of year. Do you remember this horrific ice storm 10 years ago this weekend?

Let's look at the setup and realize just how different it is compared to what is happening now. 

That year, we had a very deep and strong storm setup in Mexico and the desert Southwest. Almost all of the significant storms in Kansas come from that direction. They have to in order to ingest rich, Gulf moisture. 

As the storm approached, we had a tremendous amount of COLD air locked in over the central Plains. In fact, look at the 6 a.m. temperatures on the morning of the 10th. We were down around 20 degrees. Plenty of cold to get ice, and several places had 1-2" of accumulation. 

It was the costliest ice storm in Kansas history, with roughly 260,000 without power. Damage estimates on the electrical grid were around $136.2 million. These pictures are from Reno county and other areas of south central Kansas.

Just look how different the weather pattern is right now. The setup is completely opposite of what it was back in 2007. Our upper level winds are coming in from the northwest (not the southwest), and that continues to shove any chance for rain or snow off to the east. 
Have a great weekend and see you back on the air Monday night.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

No snow early in the season means...

Actually nothing... and here's the reason why. Some of you are very anxious to have some snow because the last two seasons have been duds.

Well take a look at this:
The average first 1" of snow for most of Kansas happens in the month of December. But look back to the winter of 2010-11, the first inch of snow didn't come until January. That season went on to have over 17 inches of snow.

And take Boston, Massachusetts for example. Two winters ago had record low snow into early January, only to go on and have a record 107 inches of snow. We won't be getting 100 inches in Kansas this winter. It's highly unlikely we would even get close to 25", but just because the season gets off to a slow start with snow has no bearing on what comes later in the season.

The destructive California wildfires are driven by the Santa Ana winds (right where I have "stubborn ridge" labeled on the map below. Until we can break that high pressure down on the west coast, our chances for moisture continue to be near zero. 

There isn't much hope of breaking that setup next week. So as tough as it can be, we just have to continue to wait on this to break.
The warm water just off the California coast favors a high pressure system to setup there, which down the stretch isn't good news for Kansas. Our wettest and most productive storm systems come from the southwest, and until we can replace the high pressure in the west, the waiting game continues. 

 Of all places getting snow right now... southwest Texas. Can you believe this? An area that averages less than 5 inches of snow is seeing 3-6 even before Kansas gets 1".

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