Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wednesday late night thoughts

Well it is 2:05 AM, so Merry Christmas. After last night's and this morning's small snowstorm, areas mainly north of I-70 got a welcome blanket of snow ranging from 1/2 to 3 inches. This guarenteed many a white Christmas.

Can you believe areas (again, mainly north of I-70) have had snow on the ground since December 9th-That is 17 days! Look at the visible satelite image to the left. As you can see, the snow cover begins from about I-70 northward. This is an expansive snowpack, and extends all the way to the Canadian border.

This weather pattern has been very interesting with ups and downs, and surprising and frustrating storm systems. This small snowstorm Tuesday night and Wednesday morning would rank under the frustrating category. The system had potential to get its act together and give a 3-6 inch snowfall, but it remained a weak, fastmoving wave and gave us a 1 to 3 inch snowfall. It was at least strong enough to swing a decent cold front through the area, and with the snowpack, temperatures will be in the single digits and low teens tonight.

With the cold temperatures tonight, there will be no snow melt and a white Christmas will be the outcome. But what about Christmas Day? Highs Thursday will be in the mid to upper 30's, with 40's not far away. I think the day should remain dry, but I would not rule out a sprinkle or two later in the afternoon. But with temperatures above freezing, the snow will begin to melt, and I dont this it will cool down much at night, only in the upper 20's to low 30's.

Now warm air really pushes in on Friday out ahead of a developing storm system. Winds will be strong out of the south at 15 to 25 mph on Friday with temperatures in the mid to upper 50's with 60's nearby.

Lets take a look back for a minute. The past two and a half weeks have been pretty wild. It was around 60 degrees on December 8th and it snowed on December 9th. It was also around 60 degrees on December 16th and it snowed the same day. I am expecting it to be near 60 in spots on Friday, so you can tell how this fits in the pattern we are in right now.

This warm up is in association with a developing storm system. It will warm up Friday as the organizing storm approaches from the west, and rain and even thunderstorms will be likely Friday night with lows in the upper 40's to lower 50's. Then Saturday will be very challenging.

This is a very complex forecast as we are dealing with a develoing storm. As the wave of energy approaches, there is potential for it to develop and close off into an upper low west of Kansas City. We have yet to see this happen during this weather pattern as the systems, just begin to strengthen over our area, and dont get their act together until they move east of us. This doesnt mean we wont get a perfect set up out of this.

If the scenario play out that it does form into an upper low west of Kansas City, then we will see a changeover to snow on Saturday with heafty accumulations likely. But I think the more likely scenario will be that the storm begins to develop into an upper low, but doesnt really get its act together until it is well east of the area, leaving us with mixed precip Saturday to possibly another measly 1-3 inches. Highs will likely be in the low to mid 30's.

I do think we will get a couple perfect set ups for big snowfalls this Winter, but right now I dont see it happening in a hurry.

After this storm system moves through, we will likely see a moderation trend in the temperatures next week. So this crazy weather pattern continues.

I will have a Christmas update tomorrow with the latest on the weekend storm.

Alex Pickman


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