Joe’s Weather Blog: Searching for snow amidst the warmth (THU-3/3) – WDAF FOX4 Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Yesterday was one for the record books. We topped off at 84 degrees, which eclipsed the record high for March 2 by 4 degrees. It was our earliest 84-degree reading in records going back some 134 years. That made yesterday the hottest day so early in the season.

Temperatures in the area were warmer than ALL of Florida, and even places like Havana, Cuba; Cancun and Cabo in Mexico; and Nassau in the Bahamas. Records were established from St. Louis to Goodland, Kansas. It was an impressive day.

A cold front worked through the area overnight though, and today will NOT be as warm. Not even close. But with the average high being 50 degrees, it will still be about 5-10 degrees above average. Warmer air returns tomorrow.

A storm will change things up on Saturday evening and then there is the question of snow chances later Sunday night into Monday.

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4 day forecast:

Today: Mostly sunny with cooler temperatures a bit of a stiff breeze. Highs in the upper 50s.

Tonight: Fair and chilly but not too bad. Lows in the upper 30s.

Tomorrow: Partly cloudy and warmer. Windy as well with gusts 20-30 mph. Highs in the lower 70s.

Saturday: Variable clouds and windy. Storms are possible at some point later in the afternoon briefly though. Highs in the 70-75-degree range depending on the amount of sunshine.

Sunday: Chillier with rain possible later in the afternoon after some morning sunshine. Highs in the mid-to-upper 40s.

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Discussion:

Let’s start with the need for moisture. During this time of the year, grass fires that are enhanced are common due to the dormant vegetation. We go through this every year in March and April especially until we see the “green-up” kick in over the coming weeks. The soil may have some moisture in it but the grass really doesn’t at this point. It’s vulnerable to being burned, whether that be from agricultural controlled burns or careless and avoidable fires that are started for various reasons (usually flicked out cigarettes).

One way to add to this risk is dry weather. We’ve had that around here with long periods of dryness. Over time that adds up. December was below average for moisture. January was below average and February was substantially below average. These three months are typically dry to begin with, but this year they were almost 2.5 inches below average.

We can get that much rain in a summer storm or two. In the winter, it’s tougher to accomplish because the atmosphere usually doesn’t hold as much moisture as the summer atmosphere holds because the air in the summer is warmer. Warmer air, greener grass and a more typical southerly wind component off the Gulf brings in moisture to the region.

The latest drought report came out today and there has been an increase in the “abnormally” dry area now through all of western Missouri and into eastern Kansas. The drought situation west of the area continues to worsen.

Here is Missouri:

20220301 mo trd

Here is Kansas. Again to the west… not good.

20220301 ks trd

Out west in Kansas City, that isn’t a good sign heading into the spring and summer months. Severe drought or worse conditions expanded by 13% in this update compared to last week.

Over the past six months, the anomalies are really starting to pop. Remember western Kansas isn’t exactly a big moisture getter to begin with.

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Via KS Mesonet

In the last 120 days, four months:

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If you’re wondering about Missouri, their data isn’t quite as concise. But here is a broad idea over the past 6 months:
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That’s a lot of red

Late fall into winter is a typically drier time around these parts. Precipitation increases starting this month on average.

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This month we average almost 2.4 inches. Next month over 4 inches, then we max out in May with 5.3 inches.

So spring moisture will be needed to get us from where we are right now.

Cold front in Kansas City

There is a storm that we’re watching for the weekend, really two systems as I detailed in the blog yesterday. The front that came through the area overnight is now south of Kansas City.

It should stall out today and then retreat northwards tomorrow AM.

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9AM map

Cooler air is spreading in from the northeast of the area. Meanwhile the warmth we enjoyed for the last few days has been shoved towards the south. By tomorrow with increasing south winds, that warmer air will come northwards again, and temperatures will be 20 degrees or more above average.

The question for Saturday is how much low-level moisture blocks out the sunshine. If we stay cloudy and gray all day, we may not get that unstable. If there are breaks, or we clear out for awhile on Saturday, we warm up into the 70s and we could see a fast-moving line of storms develop and zip through the area.

As mentioned yesterday, the winds above the surface will be cranking away at nearly 60 mph. It wouldn’t take much to see some of those stronger winds work their way towards the ground with the storms moving at close to 55 mph! The Storm Prediction Center has brought a “marginal” risk of severe storms towards the KC metro area.

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It’s not the greatest setup for a variety of reasons, which is typical of these early severe weather season setups for the KC area, but it’s worth watching just in case. Whatever it is, it will be moving in fast and leaving fast.

What will the second cold front bring?

Then there is a second system to watch. The cold front associated with the system later Saturday moves through so the 70s Saturday are replaced by more seasonal 40s on Sunday it appears. Then as the next system aloft moves into the Rockies, we set the stage for some additional rains. There may be some activity coming up from the southwest later Sunday. While initially we start bright and sunny, clouds increase and perhaps some rain moves in later in the day.

Then towards night, the atmosphere may cool off enough to create a wintry mix and the potential for at least some flakes around on Monday as the main system moves through.

Various models do in fact have some snow around here on Monday. I’m not sure if the temperatures will allow accumulation, but I do wonder if we have moisture Sunday night, if that could freeze up, especially on bridges and overpasses for the morning commute on Monday. We’ll see if we can get sticking snow during the day Monday. With the higher sun angle, light snow would mostly melt on the pavement if temperatures are around 32 degrees. If colder by a few degrees, that could change though.

So a lot on the table heading towards the weekend and Monday. Also there is more cold air for next week. The 6-10 day outlook confirms things for us:

610temp.new
6-10 day forecast for temperatures

Not a good look after being teased with spring weather this week.

The feature photo is from Glenna Oidtman out in Loose Park yesterday.

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Joe