FAIRWAY, KS (KCTV) -- Let’s get this out of the way up front. Yes, it’s going to snow Thursday! But how much? Let’s dive right in and get an answer.
As of Wednesday afternoon our snow maker is just off the Pacific coast in the northwestern U.S.
That wave of energy is forecast to move into the central plains Thursday, Thursday night and Friday morning.
I want you look at the map below and notice the dashed lines that extend from the “L” near Winnipeg all the way back to Denver. The “L” is the center of an upper level area of low pressure.
The dashed lines show this area of low pressure is stretched out over hundreds of miles from Lake Winnipeg in Canada to near Denver. We call this type of storm a positively tilted storm. Positively titled storms are typically weaker and faster moving.
Weaker and faster moving storms have less time to get organized, thereby obtaining less energy and don’t last very long. Plus when the precipitation starts Thursday it may very well start as a cold rain before transitioning to snow Thursday after sunset.
For Kansas City, that means our snow fall amounts will likely be on the lighter side. In addition, the ground temperatures will be above freezing until Thursday evening so even if it starts to snow Thursday afternoon most, if not all, of it will melt when it hits the ground.
Check out the graphic below. This shows the four main computer models often used when forecasting snow.
Obviously you noticed the 4.5 inches of snow produced by the NAM or the North American Model.
Remember these models are considered deterministic. Why? Because they only account for all known elements going into the equation, hings such as air temperature, dew point and air pressure.
But what about ground surface temperatures, time of day or terrain? These models can’t account for those random variations and so sometimes the numbers can be way off, as is the case of the NAM.
There is still a chance for the NAM to be right but not probable. If we use probability based on all of the possible outcomes, many more than the graphic above, than we get a better feel for how this storm will evolve.
The National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center takes all these possible outcomes into account and here is where all that data is pointing for Kansas City and most of the surrounding area.
Bottom line, it’s going to snow. Big travel problems? Probably not. A few slick spots could develop Friday morning before sunrise but to answer the question how much snow is going to fall. The best answer is, around an inch maybe a little more in spots.