Good Monday evening, everyone. Mother Nature sure knows how to tease us, doesn’t she? After a cold start around 30 this morning, our south wind on the warm side of our incoming storm system and mostly sunny skies really warmed us up for today. Not only was Joplin Regional’s high of 68 much warmer than our normal high of 46, it wasn’t too far off from the record high of 75 set back in 1989. Looking at the map down below, our next big change in the weather at the surface is coming out of the Central Plains and the Rockies in the form of a cold front.
As the cold front starts working in on Tuesday and starts to pick up Gulf moisture while the upper levels start coming into play as well, we’ll have that result in increasing clouds through the night and rain chances picking up for late Tuesday morning and Tuesday afternoon. While the cloudy skies and increasing rain chances won’t leave much wiggle room for temperatures, we’ll still have lows around 51 and push into the middle to upper 50s for the afternoon.
Beyond Tuesday afternoon, the focus will be on the dropping temperatures as the cold front works through and the moisture plans on sticking around. Most areas may start early Wednesday morning out with rain chances. However, we’ll switch to a mix of freezing rain, sleet and rain for much of Wednesday morning. After a little lull with light freezing rain and sleet to start the afternoon, temperatures at the surface and upstairs will turn cold enough to switch us mainly over to snow from Wednesday afternoon and into Thursday. Because of this projected setup, we have winter storm watches across the entire area that will go into effect late Tuesday evening and won’t expire until late Thursday night.
Let’s use the Future Track to break this system down. Tuesday evening below shows how much of the area will deal with mainly moderate rain showers before the colder air starts to work in from the northwest.
Heading to the midnight hour on Wednesday, you can see how the freezing line will want to quickly work toward the US 400 and 160 corridors. Areas north of that freezing line will start to see the rain switch over to a mix of rain, freezing rain and sleet while areas closer to the I-44 corridor and south of there will still hold on to just rain chances. It certainly is possible for some of our far northern communities to start switching over to snow as the colder air at the surface and aloft start to work in.
By 7 AM Wednesday, the southern half of the area will see a mix of freezing rain and sleet while the northern half will see temperatures cold enough to switch things over to snow. If you have to get to work Wednesday morning, be sure you keep this in mind and allow some extra time for the commute.
By late Wednesday morning and early Wednesday afternoon, we’ll get into a lighter lull with some areas of light freezing drizzle, light sleet and a few areas of light snow flurries. Even with that being the case, temperatures will continue to drop into the middle and lower 20s throughout the course of the afternoon. By late afternoon, another upper-level push of energy and another wave along the cold front will start to bring another push of moisture our way. You can see how that will allow additional snow and sleet to start working in by 4 o’clock Wednesday afternoon.
For Wednesday evening and heading into early Thursday morning, everyone will deal with moderate to heavy snow. In fact, some of the heavier bands of snow could be capable of dropping snow at a rate of 1 to 2 inches an hour. With temperatures dropping into the upper teens by midnight Thursday and into the middle teens by sunrise Thursday, this will absolutely be snow that will stick. Once we get past 8 AM Thursday, we’ll back things down to some scattered light snow showers on Thursday with highs topping out around 20.
In terms of how much ice (freezing rain in this case) we could see, most of the area will see at least a tenth of an inch of ice. With some spots pushing close to a quarter of an inch of ice may not cause a big concern with power, this will cause some issues on the road as we’ll start to see the wintry mix begin late Tuesday night and into Wednesday.
In terms of snow, sleet being thrown into the mix will have an impact on totals across the area. For our southern counties, we’re expecting a range of 5 to 8 inches of snow due to a bit of a prolonged period of sleet. Much of the area in the blue will see snow totals range between 5 and 10 inches with some sleet mixed in. For areas around Nevada, Uniontown, Fort Scott, Mound City Butler, the Harry Truman Reservoir and up into central and eastern Missouri, the snow amounts look to range between 9 and 13 inches.
There is still a chance that these expected amounts of ice and snow could be further tweaked as we get a better handle of how temperatures and the track of this system will play out. With that said, just stick with us and you’ll know what to expect with this winter storm. Once we get this storm system behind us, we’ll dry our for the weekend and early next week. It will stay cold for a bit, though. Single digits for Friday and Saturday morning (especially 3 for Saturday morning) before we see highs back in the middle 20s on Friday and middle 30s on Saturday. Fortunately, we’ll hold in the middle 30s on Sunday before we head back near 40 on Monday. Doug has you covered with his long range forecast through early March down below. Have a great Monday!
Feb 8th-12th: Staying cool Tuesday through Thursday. We do warm up a bit by Friday with thunderstorms, then colder with rain or snow chances on Saturday.
Feb 13th-19th: A cold start to the week with mild temperatures and rain chances returning by Tuesday. Staying mild with thunderstorms possible on Thursday, then much colder with rain and snow chances on Friday and Saturday.
Feb 20th-26th: The first half of the week cold but mild temps the second half of the week. Slight chances for rain on Thursday and Friday.
Feb 27th-March 5th: A mild start on Sunday and Monday, then cool the rest of the week. Rain chances on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Best chances on Wednesday and Friday.
March 6th-12th: Cool all week with rain or snow chances on Sunday and Monday. Much colder through the middle of the week with rain or snow chances returning by Friday.