Weather Blog: Winter storm warning, Arctic blast, snow

Forecast 5 AM
Posted at 7:10 AM, Feb 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-01 17:51:05-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Good morning bloggers,

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for the Kansas City metro and surrounding areas to the south and east. Arctic air will blast in later today with falling temperatures and snow beginning tonight, and it may begin briefly as rain mixed with snow.

Our forecast continues to be consistent with what we shared with you yesterday. There is a chance of some heavier bands of snow with most locations within 30 miles of Kansas City getting between 3 and 7 inches of snow. 6 to 12 inches are more likely between Warrensburg and Sedalia.

First main wave tonight

Snow Forecast 5 AM

There are two main waves of this storm system that will produce snow accumulations.

  • The first one will begin forming right over our head tonight, between 6 and 10 p.m., and then expand into a heavy snow band as you can see above
  • The second wave of snow looks like it will track south and southeast of Kansas City, as shown below

Second main wave Wednesday night

2nd Wave Forecast

Here is our snowfall forecast that we showed last night, and we are continuing with this morning. We will update this as we move through the day.

Snow Forecast

Here is an interesting way to look at snowfall totals and the potential for higher amounts:

Warrensburg Snow Forecast

In Warrensburg, there is a 90% chance of 6 inches of snow or more. Wow! There is a 100% chance of more than 3 inches from Warrensburg to Clinton to Sedalia.

Farther north it is a bit different. In Liberty, there is a 100% chance of 2 inches or more, so 4 fewer inches in our forecast. There is an 80% chance of 4 inches or more and a 15% chance of 7 inches or more.

Liberty Snow Forecast

Over the south Kansas City metro area, Olathe has an 80% chance of 4 inches or more, with a 50% chance of 6 inches or more. This also shows the most likely totals to fall into the 4 to 6 inches range with a 60% chance of that range of snow.

Olathe Snow Forecast

The temperatures will be crashing. By 5 a.m. Wednesday, I am expecting these bands of snow, possibly heavy, and with temperatures down to 17 degrees.

Forecast 5 AM

Snowfall ratios:

Usually, snow falls at around 10 inches of snow per 1 inch of liquid, or a 10:1 ratio. With temperatures dropping to 17 degrees by 5 a.m., the snow ratio may start at 10:1, but by 5 a.m. tomorrow, it will likely be closer to 15:1, which is also a factor for higher amounts of snow.

So, if we get around 0.3 to 0.5 inches liquid, as many models have, that would usually equate to 3 to 5 inches of snow with a 10:1 ratio. At a 15:1 ratio, then these numbers, with the same amount of liquid, would end up 4.5 to 7.5 inches.

Kansas City weather timeline:

  • Now (7:30 a.m.) to noon: The cold front moves through and temperatures begin falling from the low 50s now to below freezing by just after sunset.
  • Noon to 6 p.m.: Increasing chance of rain showers developing, possibly mixed with snow by 6 p.m. Temperatures dropping to 32 degrees.
  • 6 p.m. to midnight: Increasing bands of rain and snow, becoming all snow in these bands by 8 to 10 p.m. Accumulations of 2 inches are possible within these first bands.
  • Midnight to 6 a.m. Wednesday: Snow increases and becomes heavy. The lightest amounts will be north of U.S. 36 with the heaviest amounts closer to Kansas City.
  • Wednesday: Snow, heavy at times during the morning rush hour, will then taper off to light snow. Accumulations of 3 to 5 inches near Smithville with 4 to 7 inches expected farther south. Some local areas may have higher amounts.
  • Wednesday night: The second main band targets areas just southeast of Kansas City with an additional 6 inches of snow possible

Model forecasts:

  • HRRR Model (due in before 8 a.m.): This first model just came in with 3 to 5 inches widespread by noon Wednesday with the second band of snow moving in, but south and east of Kansas City.
  • NAM Model (due in by 8:30 a.m.): This model came in with lower totals. It shows 2-4 inches across the city with near 10" down near Warrensburg
  • ICON Model (9:30 a.m.): This model has wide spread 6 to 10 inch amounts
  • GFS (American Model 10 a.m.): The American model has 3" north KC to 6" southeast KC
  • Canadian Model: This model shows wide spread 5" to 10" amounts through KC with higher amounts southeast
  • European Model: The European Model had widespread snowfall amounts in the 4-6 inch range with heavier amounts near 10" from Warrensburg to Sedalia, MO

Something to watch for: There is a chance of a line of heavy snow to develop into what we call a convective band. Lightning and thunder are not out of the question. The models with the higher totals try to set up this band near KC around midnight. I will be looking for this possibility. If it does form, 3" would fall in a short period of time.

Thank you for sharing this weather experience and spending a few minutes reading the weather blog. Have a great day.