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Snow Possible

7:42 am in Forecast Discussion, Winter Weather by Ted Keller

When arctic air finds it easy to roost in the heartland of the U.S., watching for snow possibilities becomes my favorite past-time.  Here’s the latest…

Long-range computer models have been sending some signals as to the possibility of a snow-producing storm around December 11-12th (Saturday-Sunday) for about a week now.  As usual, such chances are taken with a grain of salt until we get a bit closer to the actual forecast time.

The arctic air now in place will be lifting out of here by late in the week.  A small disturbance that I hinted at late last week will be sliding into Oklahoma late tonight and early Tuesday on the edge of this cold air with some light snow potential.  This does not appear threatening to the Ozarks.

By Saturday night, a low pressure area has been showing up swinging near Missouri.  The track and intensity of this feature has been all over the dial as they say.  A more southerly track would bring us greater snow potential.  At this writing, this seems to be the outlying possibility.

I would say the most likely scenario would be a shot of snow Saturday night as the storm intensifies while moving east.  It’s an old joke but I’ll know more on Monday the 13th!  Stay tuned to KOLR/KSFX for the latest.

Storm Report, Strange Weather

10:41 am in Forecast Discussion by Ted Keller

Snow Cover on 3/22/10 Using MODIS

O.K., after a sick and draining Saturday, I have the energy to discuss this winter (spring?) storm!  My apologies for missing “Upstream” Friday night and what have likely been a special edition on Saturday too.  I also wasn’t able to attend a NWS conference on Saturday morning. I hate being sick!

Anyway, there are three aspects to this storm which people are asking a lot about 1) isn’t it too late in the season for this 2) how can we have just been in the sixties and are forecast to be back that warm in a few days and 3) what’s with the big differences in precipitation type and totals over short distances in the Ozarks?

Well, first off, big March snows are not unheard of at all.  The last one I remember was in the late nineties and although I don’t have an exact date handy, I can tell you it occurred the same weekend that the men MSU (SMSU) Bears went to the NCAA playoffs.  It was a Saturday night…I believe portions of the Ozarks received over 10 inches!   Another big storm occurred sometime in the late eighties (again, I don’t have access to detailed records here at home, this is all by personal recollection).  That storm just about shut this town down and you should know it was seventy degrees only a few days after this storm!  Finally, the small difference in average snowfall between February and March should tell you something about March snow potential.

You think you’re in shock over this, think about what the folks in Kansas were feeling last year in late March.

"Cut-off" Low at 7am Sunday at 500 mb.

As for this “winter sandwich” we seem to be in, with warmth on both sides of the storm, this is best explained by the “cutoff” nature of this weather system and by the fact that spring is simply an extreme time of year.  Because the cold air was drawn into a circulation that cut itself off from the main jet stream flow, it will only be a matter of moving the cold core to experience a rapid temperature recovery.

This same closed-off and slow-moving structure explains how the precipitation was laid down.  Greene County, which was correctly forecast to be “on the line”,  certainly lived up to this with 6″ plus snow/sleet totals over the extreme western portion of the county to rain and freezing rain in the eastern portion (I have about a 1/4″ of ice on my trees here in eastern Springfield). Nightfall determined precipitation type here in Greene county as temperature adjusted down a bit.

 A transition from rain to sleet to ice to snow is not unheard of in most winter storms.  In non-low pressure storms involving a front, this is usually much more noticeable and is responsible for nearly all of the worst ice storms.  But low pressure type storms such as this weekend’s are usually moving too fast and have narrow mixed zones so that mixed precipitation is not usually an issue.  But as we already know, this storm “cut off” and was slow-moving, allowing a everything to exaggerate.  The ice and the quick transition to heavy snow totals are the two aspects to this storm that I think were largely unexpected.

Because of the heavy rains and a snowpack which is expected to melt quickly later in the week, river flooding will likely be an issue for some.

I’m thinking about an “Uptream” later today, probably in the early evening as I’ll be working the late shows tonight. Send in photos and storm reports!

Link to MODIS Satellite images.

March Madness

10:11 am in Forecast Discussion by Ted Keller

"Thicknesses" (layer temperatures) 7 am Sunday

There is still the possibility of accumulating snow in the Ozarks late Saturday and early Sunday!

The major change since yesterdays post on this topic is that the system now appears to be “cutting off” or occluding south of the Ozarks.

For Springfield, there appears to be barely enough “warm” air flowing westward counterclockwise around this low to keep the precipitation liquid here, although it is very close!! (“S” shape on picture above)  Snow is much more likely to the west and northwest of Springfield in western Missouri and eastern Kansas.  A heavy, wet snow could accumulate quick in those areas beginning late Saturday afternoon and lasting overnight.  There is a potential for totals to exceed 4 inches.  Like yesterday, the overnight timing is working in favor of snow sticking.

Winter Storm Watch

By Sunday, the core of the coldest air will actually be south of the Ozarks.  It looks like we will have enough warming at the surface and aloft to at least mix snow with rain over the area during the day.

The Rest of the Snow

10:21 am in Forecast Discussion by Ted Keller

Radar at 10:00 am

The heaviest snow has already targeted north central Arkansas a will continue to do so throughout the day.

Reports of 2-4″ have come in from Searcy Co. AR with general 1-2″ amounts in most of the rest of northern Arkansas.  Cherokee Village reported 3.5″ early this morning.  The radar image above shows that the northern edge of the very obvious heavy precipitation area will pass over these same areas today, dumping another 4-6″, bringing storm totals in the 8-10″ range for some.

Missouri had 2″+  totals north of Springfield overnight.  Most areas received a dusting to almost 1″.  Another band of snow will affect this area today with a 2-3″ additional potential.  Snow will last into the evening in many areas, not ending to the east of Springfield until midnight.

Snow Update

10:25 am in Forecast Discussion by Ted Keller

It still looks as if the Ozarks will experience a pretty good snow beginning later tonight.  While light snow will likely affect everybody through early Tuesday morning, there appear to be a few more intense bands.

Tonight, snow will spread in and will target areas north of Springfield first with broad 1-3″ totals.  Then late Monday morning, another batch will begin in the MO/ARK border area and northern Arkansas which will be the heaviest and all interests in that area should watch this closely for snow exceeding 4″!  Finally a more general snow will affect the area well into Monday evening.  This will dump another several inches in Springfield and much of southwest Missouri.

“Upstream” will broadcast at 4 pm and 11:30 pm today, Sunday.

 

Latest on Next Storm

12:53 pm in Forecast Discussion by Ted Keller

Today, large flakes fell but amounts will be held back by melting and a weaker, northward-tracking system.

All attention will now be placed on the late Sunday and Monday storm.  One computer model is colder and supports nearly pure snow starting Sunday night and prints out heavier snow, certainly over six inches.

Another model used a lot shows an initial snow heading into west central Missouri Sunday night and a trend toward a warmer atmosphere early Monday in the southern Ozarks.

Both models seem to target a swath from southeastern Kansas northeast into the northern viewing area as the heaviest snow accumulation area.

The entire area should be on the lookout for heavy snow accumulation during this period!

“Upstream”

Extended today 4-6:30 pm, 6:30-7 pm and 11 pm to ??.  I will also do a special show Sunday sometime.

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