Weather Blog: Near Blizzard Conditions Later This Morning

Posted at 2:15 AM, Jan 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-15 07:22:16-05

Good Friday bloggers,

  • Blizzard Warning for far northwest Missouri
  • Winter Weather Advisory for areas farther south and east including Kansas City

A winter storm is intensifying east of Kansas City and a wave of energy is rotating around this storm and heading right towards the KC metro and surrounding areas. We are not in a Blizzard Warning, but it may be hard to tell at times that we are not having a blizzard. The amount of snow we are expecting is going to be just enough to make the roads slick, but it will be the wind that takes this storm to the next level. The wind will be gusting to over 50 mph at times today, and this will cause some blowing and drifting of the snow.

Blizzard Definition:

There are three criteria for a snowstorm to be called a blizzard. 1) Sustained winds of 35 mph, which could include consistent wind gusts of at 35 mph or stronger. 2) Visibility being reduced to less than 1/4 mile due to snow falling or snow blowing around. 3) A forecast of this lasting for at least 3 hours.

The Blizzard Warning is in effect for far northwest Missouri, western Iowa, far eastern sections of Nebraska and South Dakota along with southwest Minnesota. We are in a Winter Weather Advisory. The three criteria of a blizzard warning will likely be reached north and northeast of KC.


The Weather Time-Line:

  • FRIDAY 7 AM: This is quite a storm as you can see a fully formed and classic comma shape in the storm. The comma covers a huge amount of real estate. A line of rain and thunderstorms extends from the northern Gulf of Mexico to Detroit. It becomes snow into northern Wisconsin. Then, the comma head extends into our area. This is one strong and wrapped up storm. This is also why we have so much wind. A strong surface low is creating a strong pressure gradient which means a large change in pressure over a short distance. This is what creates the wind, a large pressure change over a short distance. You add in 50-80 mph winds at 3000 feet which can mix down at times and you have a strong wind set up.

  • FRIDAY NOW-7 AM: Let's go closer into the comma head and this takes us to our area. Snow will be increasing and tracking south across most locations with temperatures dropping to 28-30. This will make roads slick quick. The wind will be gusting to 40-50 mph from the northwest.

  • FRIDAY 7 AM-1 PM: This is when we will see the main part of the storm and 95% of the snow accumulation. Winds will be gusting to 50 mph from the northwest creating blowing snow and the near blizzard conditions. Temperatures will be 28-30.

The storm causing our snow today is developing over Illinois by this afternoon. This map shows the 500 mb flow, around 18,000 feet above us, and the X, southwest of the Low, is a strong disturbance. This is now moving our way from Iowa and tracking southwest. This will be increasing the snow as it approaches, and then when it passes the snow will begin decreasing later today

Storm Developing.jpg

  • FRIDAY 1 PM-10 PM: We will see the snow diminish to snow showers and flurries. The wind will still be gusting to 40-50 mph through 6 PM. By 10 PM the wind will be gusting to 30-40 mph and only flurries will remain. This means the blowing snow will end after 10 PM.

After 1 PM it will be hard to tell if it is snowing or just blowing snow.


Most locations will see 1"-2" of snow. There will be locations that see 2"-3" of snow mostly across northern Missouri. A few locations around here could see 2.5". There will be locations that see under 1", mostly south and west of KC. It will be hard to measure due to the wind. Realistically, most locations will see under 1" with 6"-10" drifts. The snow will not be evenly distributed.


This will be a calmer day with lots of clouds. Highs will be in the low to mid 30s after lows in the 20s along with a northwest wind 10-15 mph.


It still looks partly to mostly cloudy with a northwest wind 5-15 mph. Highs will be 35-40 after lows in the 20s. So, any wet and slushy areas left from Saturday will refreeze Saturday night, before melting later Sunday morning into the afternoon. There may be refreezing after the game as temperatures drift back down towards freezing.


Once again here is the weather timeline. The main part of the storm will occur between 8 AM and 1 PM where 95% of the snow accumulation will occur. The blowing snow will decrease this evening and end after 10 PM. We expect 1"-2" of snow across KC. A few locations could see 2.5" and a few locations may see under 1". But, it will be hard to measure.


The temperatures are dropping this morning. The first snow that fell had temperatures near or just above 32 degrees and the roads did initially get wet. Now, the temperatures are dropping, and it will get slick out there, so if you are traveling at all today, double your time to prepare for a much longer drive to where you are heading.

We are forecasting around 1" to 2" of snow in the KC metro area. Have a great weekend, go Chiefs, and we will keep you updated on this blog, on, and on 41 Action News.