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41 Action News meteorologists share winter weather predictions

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Posted at 12:00 PM, Dec 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-03 13:00:34-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Winter is on the way and the weather pattern is now set for the season.

It is looking like a winter that will have two or three seven to 10-day stretches of very cold and stormy weather, and then even longer stretches of drier and milder weather. So, overall we are predicting a milder winter.

There is a developing La Niña, which is the cooling of the Tropical Pacific Ocean. This is the exact opposite of El Niño. When the waters cool, influences on regions far away from the tropics happen. And, Kansas City is already seeing some influence from this developing La Niña, and Lindsey Anderson discusses this in-depth in her La Niña story.

La Niña is just one piece of the bigger picture.

There is a complex puzzle in the river of air flowing above us that causes our storm systems. The centerpiece of this puzzle is the LRC, which allows us to predict when and where storm systems will strike.

In this year’s LRC, we have only identified only a few storm systems capable of producing snow. There aren't too many parts of this cycling weather pattern that have shown the capability of being cold and stormy at the same time. So, as a result, our weather team is predicting below-average snowfall this winter.

There are other factors that are considered. The Arctic Oscillation (AO) is one of the pieces of that complex puzzle. If the AO dips negative, then a stormy and cold stretch is more likely. When it rises to higher positive levels, long dry and mild stretches are more likely. So, far, early in the season, the AO has been more positive, and is likely the reason it has been so mild in November. We do think there will be a couple of dips to the negative AO territory, and this will lead to our stormier stretches later on this winter.

Overall, we are forecasting below-average snowfall, near to below-average rainfall, and near average temperatures.

Our weather team is predicting 16.3” of snow. Gary Lezak's prediction is 15.5”. Wes Peery is predicting 13.7”. Lindsey Anderson is going with 17”. Jeff Penner is predicting 19”. Average the predictions out, and we end up with that 16.3” total.

When a winter storm shows up, we will be letting you know far in advance and preparing you for winter weather. Remember that first snow in October? That part of the pattern will cycle through around December 10th to 15th, and again in late January, and one more time in early to mid-March, according to the LRC. There will be a couple other parts of this cycling pattern that will produce possible winter storms as well, but in between there will be long dry and mild stretches.

Have a great holiday season, and stay with 41 Action News, and we will keep you advised.