Thursday, September 29, 2016

October preview - First frost potential

The month of October can be an exciting month. It's a month that can have thunderstorms, frost, and even the first snowfall. Take a look at the map. Our average first fall frost usually happens in early October for northwest and some of north central Kansas. It's much later than that (on average) for southern Kansas.

So here are my thoughts on October weather in Kansas. (click on any image to make it larger) I think there is a strong tendency for this to be a very active month with SEVERAL cold fronts coming through. Initially, for the beginning of the month, most of the energy with the storms will go north of Kansas across the northern Plains. What does that mean? Basically, we get wind, some rainfall (not excessive), and changing temperatures, but the more exciting part of the storm goes north of us.

Interesting note - the maps below show Matthew going into the southern Gulf of Mexico and then pushing it toward Mexico. 

Pattern - October 7/8

Some of the computer data in recent days have suggest stormy weather ramping up toward the middle of the month. Where these storms track is something we will watch closely and what makes our job very exciting this time of year. Goodland average 2-3 inches of snow in October. Are we about to see snow in parts of Kansas in October? It's a very risky forecast to make, but I think one of the storms in October will produce at least some snow in northwest Kansas or very nearby. So most of the exciting weather may just come in the middle of the month. Let's keep an eye on this period. This could be the first widespread frost for some. 

If the middle of the month is stormy, it should be followed by a brief period of calming weather where a new storm may form out in the Pacific Northwest. While that may not be a big storm for Kansas, there is at least some possibility of it driving colder air down into our area and maybe giving western Kansas it's first freeze. 

Toward the 2nd half of October, we will continue in an active setup, but the heavier precipitation could stay north and east of us, while we just get the much cooler air filtering south. This kind of pattern wouldn't likely produce much moisture in Kansas, but would yield a chilly end to the month.

Thanks for taking time to read the blog. I very much enjoy looking long range at weather patterns to find clues as to what may be coming our way. It's the part of meteorology that we still have SO much to learn. Our 7 day forecasts have improved greatly in the last 5-8 years. Imagine if we had a 14 or 15 day forecast on the evening news every night?

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