Weather blog: Snow appears in forecast as Arctic air recedes

Arctic Blast Reaches Peak
Posted at 7:29 AM, Feb 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 14:28:36-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Good morning,

I have great news this morning. There are clear signs that the Arctic air will retreat north and head back home to the North Pole. We will discuss the cause of this Arctic blast and look at tonight's and Wednesday's snow chance in today's blog entry. Welcome to the "Gabbing With Gary" blog.

Temperatures crash to 21° below zero over parts of Missouri and Kansas. Here are the 7 a.m. temperatures:

7 AM Temperatures

The coldest spot was minus-23° in Garnett, Kansas, which likely is the coldest it has ever been in Garnett. The lowest temperatures are reached just after sunrise. The sun then begins its daily job of warming us up, but not until around 10 minutes after sunrise. So, these lows likely dipped as much as 5 more degrees in those last few minutes.

The official low at KCI Airport was minus-10 as of 7 a.m., but I am expecting it to come in at minus-12 or minus-13 degrees. We will see what the final number is later today. Hey, the sun is out, and it is about to warm up to above zero today. Yesterday, it only reached minus-1.

Sunny Frozen Paw.jpeg

It was so cold this morning that in less than one minute this happened. Sunny The Weather Dog's front left paw pad froze up. I brought her back inside quickly. This has been happening daily! Rainbow and Sunny are looking forward to the warmer days.

What caused this Arctic outbreak? The Arctic oscillation dipped way negative, and a block formed over northeast Canada and Greenland. This upper high blocked up the flow and finally unleashed the Arctic air.

As you can see below, there was an upper high up there from Jan. 23-30 then a much stronger one formed around Feb. 5, which just broke down three days ago. The first one built up the high pressure at the surface, and the second one provided the conditions to blast it down.

This actually threatened to happen in October and November, and again in late December and early January. In those two LRC cycles, it didn't quite develop. But in this cycle it did, and we are now experiencing a record-breaking cold wave across the USA!

The Block

That big upper high up there is now gone, and look at what is forecast to happen within the next six days:

Arctic Blast Reaches Peak

The Arctic air is in place this morning. Look at what happens by Monday:

Arctic Retreat Next Monday

The Arctic air is forecast to retreat all the way back to far northern Canada. I think we are pretty much in agreement here, this is a good thing. Warmer days are ahead of us.

The chance of snow tonight:

6 AM Forecast

Snow will be spreading into the Kansas City region between 2 and 6 a.m. Wednesday morning. The best chance is along and southeast of I-35. Here is the snowfall forecast from one of our models:

Snow Potential By Noon Wednesday

Kansas City has finally gone above 10 inches of snow for the season. There has been a localized region where amounts are a bit below average, an area extends from around Salina, Kansas, east to St. Louis. But look at the incredible amounts from Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska, northeast to Chicago, which was struggling to have snow until New Year's Day. They are now up to 43.4" of snow.

Snowfall This Season

Kansas City Weather Time-Line:

  • Today: 100% Sunshine! Light winds with a high of
  • Tonight: 100% chance of snow by sunrise. Accumulations of around 1" likely causing slick and hazardous conditions on top of the already slick conditions. Low:
  • Wednesday: A 100% chance of snow with accumulations of 1 to 3 inch totals possible. Snow tapering to flurries during the afternoon. High: 19°

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