Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ol' Fashioned Christmas Blizzard

So if you've been dreaming of a white Christmas, the reality is, you're probably going to see it if you are staying in Kansas. As of Tuesday morning, the storm track is just about set and we are feeling a little more confident in our prediction of the storm. Heaviest snowfall should be north of Hwy 56 (so from around Scott City, to Great Bend, to Emporia. South of there, I think maybe 2-4 inches of snow (maybe a few inches for Wichita). In central and northern Kansas (the areas that were hit 2 weeks ago) could be looking at 6-9 inches by Thursday night. Wind gusts of 40 mph with snow will not be a good combination for drivers. The earlier you can get going, the better you'll be (talking Tuesday or early Wednesday for driving around the central Plains)
If you've never traveled in a blizzard, it is not much fun and is very dangerous. It is also a good idea to keep a travel kit with you, including batteries, hats, mittens, tow rope, jumper cables, scraper, shovel, and sand bags.

By the way, we had 366 phone calls Monday night with our travel hotline. We can't recall a time when we had more than 300 calls in one evening. Thanks to KFDI and the Kansas Highway Patrol for helping out.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Phone Bank and More

Just a reminder about the travel phone bank we have coming up Monday. You call us and tell us where you are going, and we'll tell you if the Christmas storm will be affecting your travel plans. It is free, unless it is a long distance phone call for you. The number is 316-436-5627. In most years, we get about 250 calls, but I would expect this year to be double that with the storm coming in for Wednesday and Thursday.

Speaking of the storm, it looks like the worst of the weather will be here Wednesday night and early Thursday. Blowing snow will be a big problem because of the north winds. I'm still trying to figure out how much we'll get, but it looks like the heavy snow bands will be over eastern KS with lighter amounts in the west. Either way, accumulations looks likely for our area by Thursday evening and the roads could be slick for Christmas Eve night. I'll try to update the blog again on Tuesday as the storm finally closes in on our area. It might be a good idea to finish your shopping Monday or Tuesday, just in case this storm turns out to be a monster. Have a great week.

Friday, December 18, 2009

White Christmas

Alright, so the topic of this blog focuses on whether or not you are rooting for a white Christmas. On one hand, it would be neat to have snow on the ground for the holiday, but for anyone traveling, it is a HUGE headache trying to fight the weather and I know my dad is at home rooting against the snow (makes it harder taking care of cattle). Slick roads, bad visibility, venturing out when it is cold, etc. just doesn't sound like a Santa bag full of fun. White Christmas's happen about once every 5-7 years, and sometimes it is every 10. We had one just two years ago when there was 4 inches of snow on the ground in Wichita, and it was driven by some strong winds. It was a disaster for last minute shoppers and some of the people that work at Channel 12 had to be picked up in 4 wheel drive vehicles. The map above shows the average possibilities of a white Christmas. It's about 10-15% for most of the state.

There is a good chance of a white Christmas this year if the storm developing next week doesn't do something crazy, like move through south Texas or Louisiana and it could happen. The computer models that we analyze agree there will be a storm next week and it will have an ample supply of Gulf moisture. So that's not the question. We'll have to figure out the track of the storm, and then how much cold air will be involved. If we knew the answers to those two questions, I could tell you all about the travel weather for next week, and then we could know for sure about a white Christmas. But that's part of the excitement in meteorology; it's always changing and we'll have 15-20 computer model outputs before the storm. So stay tuned as it will be crazy over the next 8-12 days.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Snow All Over

The winter storm is over and in the wake of the storm, the satellite shows how much of the state is covered in snow. The storm moved across northern Oklahoma, which is a perfect track for Kansas to get heavy snow. There was an enormous amount of moisture moving north out of the Gulf of Mexico, which led to the heavy snow amounts that we saw over northern Kansas.

The pattern will change soon and we do not see any major winter storms coming through for another 8-10 days. With Christmas just 2 weeks away, we start to wonder if this will be a white Christmas or not, and it doesn't look like we'll have snow on the ground for the holiday this year. As the pattern changes, we see fewer systems coming through between now and the 25th, so don't count on having snow for Christmas this year. That's good news for travelers, but for kids, I know it is a little disappointing. There is always a chance something could change, but it doesn't look to promising.

How is your holiday shopping going? I'm just getting started with mine, so don't feel bad if you feel like you've been putting it off. Have a great weekend.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Stay Warm!

Hopefully you have a way to stay warm this week. Of all the things we are questioning this week in KS weather, deciding whether or not it will be cold is not one of them. A big blast of Arctic air is coming down the Rockies on Wednesday and it will be cold with the wind out of the north.

The round of winter weather on Sunday delivered some snow to northern KS. Beloit had an inch or two and these kids were put to work clearing the driveway. There just wasn't enough snow to do much sledding. And the snow we get Tuesday will not be the good packing snow for snowmen. The temperatures will be too cold and the moisture content of the snow will be very low. It could be a mess for northern KS and near blizzard like conditions are possible Tuesday afternoon.

Millie helped Denise Hnytka pick out a tree this last week. When she was just 6 weeks old, she helped me pick out a real tree. I decided the first tree she wrapped the leash around would be the one we cut down. But this time, Denise picked the tree and Millie gave her approval. It was rather chilly last week, so we didn't spend a great deal of time thinking about it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Woodworking and Changing Weather

Well as the holidays are looming, I'm finding myself back in the garage doing some woodworking. I'm working on a Christmas present, so I can't say what it is, but if you want to guess, that will be fine. Just after Christmas, I'll reveal the answer. This picture was taken in the early stage of construction, and I'm almost done with it now, but to prevent someone finding out what they are getting for Christmas, I can't post any additional pictures until after the holiday.
Coaches come and go, but I remember being at a KU basketball game the night Mangino was introduced as the head coach for KU football. I really can't believe it has been 8 years since he was hired. It's even harder to believe I've been away from KU for almost the same amount of time. But it will be exciting to see who they bring in to take over the job.

On a final note, the weather is changing quickly. Next week looks stormy with a chance for widespread accumulating snowfall. Southeast Kansas may get some ice, so it will be a storm to concentrate on through the weekend. Every school talk I go to now, teachers and kids are begging for "snow days", so we'll see what happens with this next system coming in next Tuesday. It should be followed by some MUCH colder air... maybe even colder than what we have had this week. Have a great weekend.

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