Joe’s Weather Blog: Saying goodbye to winter (TUE-3/1) – WDAF FOX4 Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — OK… no I don’t think we’re done with the snow yet, but Monday marked the end of what we consider “meteorological” winter. This runs from the Dec. 1 through the last day of February.

Meteorological Spring begins Tuesday and runs through the end of May. Then meteorological summer starts on June 1 and runs through the end of August. Meteorological Fall goes from the Sept. 1 through the last day of November.

Why, oh why do we do this? Well, the main reason is statistics, and since I’m a stats guy, this is fine by me.

Because the dates of when astronomical seasons vary a day here and day there almost every year, it’s not as simple keeping seasonal stats. Done this other way, much simpler and more defined. Not perfect, but more defined.

So with that said, we’ll be diving into some data and telling you about something that hasn’t happened in the 134 years of record keeping.

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3 day forecast:

Today: Sunny and warm with highs in the mid-70s.

Tonight: Fair and pleasant with lows in the 40-degree range.

Tomorrow: Breezy and even warmer with highs in the 80-degree range. The record is 80 degrees set back in 1901.

Thursday: Turning a bit cooler with highs dropping into the upper 50s behind a cold front.

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Discussion:

Not a lot to blog about these next few days. The thing about tomorrow is that we can make a run towards a record high, which is 80 degrees set back in 1901. With the right combination of sunshine and a bit of a breeze expected, we’re going to get close for sure.

There is a cold front expected to move into the area later Wednesday into the evening, and Thursday has the potential to see a spread in temperatures from the 40s to the 60s within the metro area.

Something to watch for: The NAM model is most aggressive with the front moving through. The morning NAM has this idea for Thursday. We need to watch this front because there will be a contrast.

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After that we warm up though on Friday and Saturday with 70s returning ahead of a seasonably strong front that will move through on Saturday. There is the potential for rain with the front and maybe some storms as well.

We’ll watch it because ahead of the front the dew points will be in the 50s, and there may be just enough instability near the Interstate 35 corridor to get something going later in the day.

With this front, there would be the chance of some stronger storms, if we get unstable enough.

Onwards.

Winter weather data in Kansas City

As mentioned, let’s talk about meteorological winter.

It overall was the 21st-warmest (tied with 1932-33). We had 55 days with above-average temperatures and 32 days with below-average temperatures. Three days featured average temperatures.

We also went through the 8th-driest winter in Kansas City weather history with just shy of 2 inches of moisture.

December set the pace though, with temperatures about 10 degrees above average. January was near average, (+0.4 degrees) and February was below average (-1.6 degrees). Overall, the winter was about 3 degrees above average.

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Seven winters since 2000 have been in the Top 25, and nine since 1990.

From a moisture standpoint… not so good.

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If we look more regionally at the area, you can see a critical situation developing west of the metro.

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Moisture anomalies over the past 90 days

Moisture levels out there are running at 10-30% of average. That is not good heading into the windy spring season. Moderate to severe drought conditions are slowly expanding in Kansas.

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Drought Monitor, will be updated on Thursday

Notice as well the “extreme” drought conditions into Oklahoma and western Texas.

This next storm doesn’t look too promising for that region either.

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Back to the stats: As mentioned, it was a warm winter overall.

One number though beat all others: The number of days with highs 50 degrees or higher.

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We set a record in 2021-22 with 42.

How about 60 degrees or higher.

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That’s second most!

How about 70-plus degrees?

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In all cases I’ve also highlighted the other years since 2000 that met the criteria. There are a lot of years in there. Despite the snow in February (over 10 inches), the cold wasn’t a big factor this winter in the bigger scheme of things.

Kathy Hinkle with the feature photo today. There was a nice sun dog out there last night with the setting sun. Sun dogs are created when the suns light goes through clouds that are composed of ice crystals. They are at the same elevation as the sun and typically the edge closest to the sun is the reddish color. They can appear ono both sides of the sun as well!

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Joe