Saturday, February 23, 2013

Update on Major Plains Winter Storm for Monday...

Not a whole lot has changed since my post this morning.   A major winter storm is poised to hammer the central Plains late Sunday into Monday and Monday night.  As I mentioned this morning and yesterday, a major player with this system will be the wind (which we did not have with the storm earlier this week).  Blizzard conditions can be expected in many areas, making an already hazardous situation that much worse...

The latest run of the European computer model continues to suggest that there will be two primary axes of heavy snow, one from the Texas panhandle and northwest Oklahoma into central Kansas, and the other from the Kansas City area on to the Northeast across northern Missouri into southeast Iowa and northern Illinois.  The new snow total forecast image below is valid through 6pm CST on Tuesday evening:

Meanwhile, the GFS takes a more "broad brush" approach, with a swath of heavy snow forecast from northwestern Oklahoma, straight Northeast through the KC Metro area.  The image below from that model is valid through the same time period:

Neither of these scenarios are etched in stone at this hour, and I think the main takeaway should be that heavy snow is likely from the northeast Texas panhandle, Northeastward across northwest Oklahoma into central and eastern Kansas and northwestern Missouri.

When you look at all of the "major" American Composite model output for Wichita and Kansas City areas, the "average" snowfall amount that is produced is around 10 inches at Wichita and 12-14 inches at Kansas City.  The graphs are shown below:

In addition to the heavy snow, very strong winds will create widespread blowing and drifting, with blizzard/whiteout conditions likely in this entire area.  Such conditions were not present with the storm earlier this week, and I fear that some will think that they can do the same traveling they did with that storm with the upcoming one.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  You should simply plan to not travel across the aforementioned heavy snow region from Sunday night through Tuesday.

I encourage everyone living in this region to finish preparing for this storm tonight and during the day Sunday.  Please see these winter storm safety and preparedness tips for some guidelines (especially pages 8, 9 and 10).

Now that the bad news is over with, the good news is that the storm earlier this week and the next one are depositing much needed moisture on a drought striken area in the central Plains.  Here is the latest forecast for the liquid equivalent precipitation for Sunday night through Tuesday:

I do not expect this evening's computer models to change the forecast all that much.  With that in mind, I'll make another post with the latest information tomorrow morning.  You may also want to follow me on twitter and/or facebook (at the links below) for shorter updates in between and at other times as well...

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