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Weather Blog - How Much Snow Will Fall This Winter?

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Posted at 7:14 AM, Dec 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-14 08:33:58-05

Good morning bloggers,

What is going on with this weather pattern? The first answer is the LRC. The weather pattern that is cycling, according to the LRC, has placed Kansas City in a spot that is not receiving much precipitation. In fact, we have only had 0.06" of rain this month with only a very little bit in the next weeks forecast.

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The LRC is the centerpiece of the big atmospheric cycling pattern puzzle. It provides weather insight that just allowed us to make a great prediction. Yesterday, while we had a cold and dry December day, Oklahoma City got hit by another storm. Take a look:

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This picture was taken by a friend of mine in Oklahoma City, Francis Leenders. The piles of tree branches are still leftover from a massive and impacting ice storm that happened in October. After that storm hit OKC around 45 days ago, I told Francis that the part of the pattern that produced that ice storm would return around December 13th. And, using the LRC helped us get this forecast exactly right? The LRC provides that insight. Now, KC had our first snow in this part of the pattern, and I also thought we would have a chance of some light snow here, but I knew we were just barely clipped by that snow a few weeks ago, which made it suspect for KC, but a slam dunk for OKC.

There is one more chance in this part of the pattern, and let's take a look.

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Another storm will be forming over the plains tonight and Tuesday. Most of the models keep us high and dry, and as a result I am putting just a 20% chance of snow in there Tuesday evening. This model, above, shows a band of snow forming right over KC early Tuesday evening. This is the type of storm that can easily do this, and in most years I would be more excited about this possibility. But, in this set up, it is likely another one that will form around KC and not in our viewing area. It really is somewhat amazing, however. Take a look at the upper level set up for Tuesday evening:

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There is an upper level low forecast to develop near the Oklahoma/Kansas border. If you would just show me this map, and if you were to tell me that it is cold enough to snow and a cold air mass is in place, like it is today, then I would say that we are about to have a very significant snowfall in KC. Instead, we are wondering if there will even be snowflakes in our viewing area. Why? It is very difficult to explain. The biggest reason is that this upper low is forecast to fall apart just as the snow is developing. So, this is why we have a chance of snow in there for tomorrow evening, but we are keeping it a low chance for now.

How much snow is going to fall this winter? Here are the snowfall totals from the past 11 years, which show some high seasonal totals, and many low ones. Is there a chance we get under 10 inches of snow this winter? Absolutely, and I break it down here:

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Our weather team made these predictions on our winter weather special:

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Here is a breakdown of how I see the chances of total snowfall between now and April:

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The way things have been going, I put that chance of under 10" of snow at 30%, and I am putting the most likely range at 10" to 15". There are other factors that must be considered in the big atmospheric puzzle shown earlier. The Arctic Oscillation may dip deep negative and cause blocking which would help shift the jet stream farther south and energize the pattern. If this blocking forms before winter is over we may end up with a couple of storms finally hitting KC. Until now, let's see how Tuesday's storm lines up, and we will look ahead to Christmas week in tomorrows blog.

Thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading the Action Weather Blog. Have a great start to your week.

Gary