Friday, December 9, 2016

Cold just keeps on coming! Where's the snow?

Friday is here and we have just over two weeks before the Christmas holiday. It's a very busy time of the year. Nearly every other Christmas song on the radio talks about snow, cold, and dreaming of a White Christmas. We are less than two weeks before the official arrival to winter.

Did you know that our earliest sunset is happening now? Yes... it actually happens before the winter solstice. That's because solar noon (when the sun is directly overhead) doesn't happen exactly at noon. There is a bit of a lag between what happens in space and what we experience here on Earth. The latest sunrise will happen in early January (it will be coming up at 7:45 a.m.)

While we did see some snow this week, it was hardly a storm. The highest snowfall report I saw was 1.7" from Goodland. Some of you were asking me why our snowfall forecast didn't match that of the National Weather Service. Basically, it just comes down to how one meteorologist vs another interprets the data. Just like one doctor might prescribe one medicine while another doctor might suggest something else.

Our average, the 1st measurable snowfall usually comes in the beginning of December. So it's right on schedule for some. The average first 1" of snow usually comes in the middle of December (at least for Wichita).

How much snow cover is there between here and Canada? It's not as much as you might expect, but I think in the next 7 days, we will likely see most areas north of Kansas covered in some amount of snow. Several systems will be tracking across the area, and there is so much Arctic air hanging around. The wind is coming across the North Pole and driving so much of the bitter cold down into the US. It will continue for at least the next few weeks. Tuesday and Wednesday... next week... look like our coldest days
Temperatures this morning

Next Wednesday
I still don't see any big storms headed for Kansas. However, we are going to be stuck in a very cold pattern for the next few weeks leading up to Christmas. So any moisture that develops nearby could be snow. We shall see. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Little snow - more cold coming leading up to Christmas

There are so many mixed opinions about cold weather and snow. Seems like people either love it or hate it, but meteorological winter is here and we are likely in for a lot more cold weather through the rest of this month.

It's been awhile since we've had a true winter storm in Kansas. In fact, take a look at this map. For most of Kansas, it's been about a year since we've had a "winter storm warning" issued for several locations in our area. Winter storm warnings are usually issued when we expect 6 or more inches of snow. I don't see anything like that coming for awhile, even though the cold is going to be relentless.

We have several sets of model data that help us make the predictions that we do. Some models are good for 12 hour predictions and others are used strictly in longer range outlooks.

Looking out through the next few weeks, I still see a ton of cold, Arctic air hanging around the central and northern US. Even though we may see some days where temperatures climb into the 40s and perhaps low 50s, those days won't last long. Just take a look at one set of data that shows a temperature average from December 14-19th and another set from December 16-21st. Much of the central and northern US will continue to see well below normal temperatures.
Dec. 14-19th

Dec. 16-21st

We still don't know if there will be a white Christmas or not.
It's just too early to tell. But I will say this, I think we will have more than enough cold weather around to make some snow, but it takes just the right storm to make it happen. The right amount of moisture and track are also key, so we can't say just yet if snow will fall or be on the ground for Christmas morning.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Lots of cold - only a little snow coming

Our first full week of December will be a cold one and for those that want to see some snow, we should get that too. At the end of last week, I started posting some data showing that it didn't look like Kansas was going to see very much snow. After watching the model data through the weekend, we still believe that will be the case.

So here's what's coming for the week ahead:
Monday - Mild
Highs will still get into the 50s with sunshine. The cold front will come through later tonight, so temperatures will be going down into Tuesday and Wednesday.

Tuesday - Colder
Bitter cold is already organizing over western Canada and is ready to move south. We should still have some sunshine, but much chillier air will be arriving. Highs will be in the 30s/40s.
GFS Model

European Model

Tuesday Night-Wednesday- COLD

We still expect to see some snow during this time, but it's not going to amount to very much. In most cases, it will be an inch or less, but a few areas in northwest Kansas (where the snow starts first), could see up to 2 inches before the system pulls away. This is a fast moving system with limited moisture. Bottom line is that when it get this cold, it takes quite a bit of moisture to get heavier snows, and this system does NOT have it. Both computer models shown here indicate very light amounts, so there won't be much to shovel (if at all) when the system finally departs Wednesday evening.

We will be climbing out of the deep freeze late in the week as we get back to the 30s and 40s by Friday and the weekend. I'll have updates on this as the week continues.

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