Winter Forecast 2012-2013

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Get ready for a winter that will be harsher than last winter and snowier. But, if you want a lot of snow there is no reason to get that excited. Last year, Kansas City had a record low snowfall total of under 4 inches. We are expecting three times that much this winter at least. 300% of last year's total is still under one foot of snow for the entire season.  

The weather pattern has set up and it is still showing what it is capable of doing. We use the LRC (Lezak's Recurring Cycle) and we have learned a lot more in the past few years. Here are the basic points of the LRC:

  • A unique weather pattern sets up and evolves every year between the end of July into the first half of November.  The most important weeks of this developing pattern are between October 1st and November 10th when the major features set up and show themselves across the westerly belt of North America
  • Long term long-wave troughs and ridges become established and are the predominant features that will exist and return on schedule through the next winter, spring, and into the first half of summer.
  • The pattern is always cycling, but a new cycle length becomes established.  Identifying this cycle length is challenging, but it usually is firmed up by the end of the calendar year.

We are still learning more every day as this weather pattern cycles. We are forecasting Kansas City to be in a position to have a harsher winter than last year, but last year was almost the year without winter.   We will likely have a few winter storm systems.  When the pattern amplifies and blocks up, which did not happen at all last winter, this is when we will likely be hit by a winter storm.  We do expect this to happen three or four times this winter.

Kansas City Winter Forecast Points

  • Temperatures will be near to above average from December through March
  • Precipitation will be below average. Kansas City averages around 6 1/2 inches of melted down precipitation (rain and melted down snow).
  • Expect below average snowfall (Kansas City averages around 20 inches of snow per winter season)
  • We are forecasting one 5" snowstorm, one 3" snowstorm, and a few smaller events
  • We are forecasting one ice storm of weak to moderate strength
  • Our forecast total snowfall for the region will be between 10 and 20 inches
  • The snowfall forecast for Kansas City is 14"

This weather pattern continues to evolve. According to the LRC we believe that it will become established with a cycle length identified in the coming weeks. When we learn a bit more about this cycling pattern and can pin down exactly what the Arctic Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), ENSO, and other factors we will be able to improve on the accuracy of this forecast and get a bit more specific as to when storm systems are likely to hit your area.  Look for an update to this forecast in a few weeks.

I have written up an extensive blog entry and it will be posted this evening.  Just click on the Action Weather blog for more details and to interact and ask us any questions you may have.

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