How much snow should the Four States expect this week?

There will be another aspect to the historic arctic outbreak on Thursday and that is the increasing likelihood of accumulating snow.

The arctic cold front is expected to move into the Four States area around 8 AM to noon on Thursday, and there will be enough moisture accompanying the frigid air mass that accumulating snowfall should occur immediately behind the front. Computer model forecasts may change between today (Tuesday) and the arrival of the cold air on Thursday, but at this time it appears that the Four States area could pick up around 1-3 inches of snow from around 8 AM to 2 PM on Thursday.

Model forecasts still show the greatest snowfall totals are more likely farther north across central Missouri northeast through northern Illinois (pictured below); generally north of interstates 44 and 70. The main aspect of this historic arctic blast into the lower 48 will be the extreme cold air that builds southward behind the front.

Our warmest day in the next seven days will be on Wednesday as we warm up to around 45°F.

Some of the leading edge of the arctic air will be oozing southward into the Four States Wednesday night into Thursday. So, we will start out the day on Thursday around 15°F but by 6 PM, expect temperatures dropping to as low as -2°F.

By Friday morning, the arctic invasion will have reduced our temperature to about -5°F and we will reach a “balmy” 10°F by mid afternoon on Friday. Wind speed will be very strong as this cold air mass moves into the area due to the incredible gradient in pressure from our arctic high to lower pressure associated with the deep surface low that will bring us sufficient lifting to produce our 1-2″ snowfall on Thursday.

Sustained winds around 20-25 mph with gusts to around 45 mph will create dangerous wind chills as low as 30 degrees below zero through Thursday through Friday morning. If you will be traveling longer distances Thursday through the Christmas holiday, make sure your vehicle is running well and that your gas tank is full. These wind chill values are in the dangerous category as exposed skin can freeze in just 15 minutes in these extreme weather conditions. Stay safe. Be prepared as we head into the holiday weekend.

Another Cold Day; Wintery Mix Possible Next Week

The cold continues today and tomorrow but we will see warmer temperatures for our Sunday with highs in the 40s. This will be the precursor to some wintery mix precipitation chances for our early Monday and we will see some intense cold by late next week.

Temperatures in the Four States this morning were in the upper 20s and low 30s. The west wind has stuck around and has seen some locations in excess of 10 miles per hour. This has provided wind chill values in the low 20s and upper teens this morning. Make sure the kids dress warm this morning as the head off to school with actual temperatures in the upper 20s only being made all the colder with that west wind.

There isn’t much going on in our area in terms of large scale systems besides high pressure to our south assisting in the west wind across our area. We will see high pressure continue to promote our current westerly/northwesterly wind pattern until it pivots to our south by early Sunday. This will turn our winds southerly and provide some warmer temperatures. We will also see a shortwave trough establish to our west by late Sunday and this will generate showers and wintery mix in Oklahoma that will push into our area by early Monday. The exact precipitation type during this event is still a bit uncertain as what does move in will have to overcome dry air before it can reach the ground but some snow cant be ruled out.

We are 9 days out from Christmas and according to the climate prediction center we will likely see below average temperatures and below average precipitation trends so there is a good chance for a cold but dry holiday in our area.

Today we will see a high of 38 with more sunshine and remain cold and breezy. Tonight we will see a low around 22 with a cold night and a wind chill in the teens. We will see chances for wintery precipitation next week before we cool down very substantially by late next week.

Could the Four States see a 'White Christmas'?

Those beautiful days of 70 and 80 degree temperatures back in late Summer and early Fall are getting smaller and smaller in the rear view mirror, as we drive further into the cold weather months.

We’re in that time of year where our concerns turn to scary terms like “The Polar Vortex” and “Arctic Outbreak”. These sound like great names of Hollywood action adventure movies! But let’s take a look at how our atmosphere works and why we may be headed to a frigid period in the latter half of December with the possibility of a visit by the dreaded “Polar Vortex”.

So, the temperature difference between the warm equatorial regions and the polar regions results in a tremendous gradient in the density of air between these two regions. This gradient in air mass density creates strong changes in pressure from the beautiful, palm tree laden, tropical locales and the inhospitable, frigid polar regions. Because of our counter clockwise rotating planet, the air at higher altitudes (~20-40 thousand feet) is dragged along in counter clockwise fashion around the globe and flows at maximum speeds in those belts of strong pressure gradients between the chilly poles and the much warmer equator.

Our wonderful atmosphere is always in the process of balancing out the tremendous difference in temperature from the areas that get a minimum of solar energy at the north and south pole, and the area that receives maximum radiant energy along the equator.

Earth’s rotation, differences in atmospheric temperature at the surface and aloft, and a property of physics called the conservation of angular momentum, create movements of air toward the poles in the upper levels of the atmosphere and motion in the opposite direction, toward the equator, in the lower levels of the atmosphere. This circulation pattern is our atmosphere’s never-ending attempt to correct for the imbalance in radiant energy at the poles and the equator. Much of this movement of air around the globe is arranged in tight belts of high-speed wind flow that meteorologist call the jet stream.

What is the Polar Vortex?

The Polar Vortex is a special, high altitude jet stream that encircles the poles at around 60° north and south latitude. This ribbon of fast moving air is usually stable in terms of its position near the arctic circle; which means the vortex is usually more circular in shape as it wraps around the poles. However, this channel of high speed upper level wind flow can weaken and slow down when air occasionally becomes warmer than normal at these high altitudes around 50-100 thousand feet above ground level. This process is called stratospheric warming and causes the polar vortex to drift away from its typical location centered on the poles. Or, the vortex can sufficiently weaken to where it splits into two vortices.

When this happens, the polar vortex can drop further south into Canada; creating a massive trough of cold air across the United States. This configuration may remain in place for many days, funneling extremely cold air southward out of the Arctic into the mid latitudes. These are the incredibly cold periods that can occur in the winter months that are referred to as “Arctic Outbreaks”. In recent times the frightening term “Polar Vortex”, has gained popularity when referring to these record breaking, cold waves.

How will the Polar Vortex effect us in the Four States?

Cold weather fans will be very happy to know that medium range computer models are advertising a weather pattern just prior to Christmas that features a brief period of the dreaded “Polar Vortex”. It appears that from around December 15th to December 24th, the Four States area will experience temperatures that are below, to well below normal as a large area of low pressure descends through the center of the nation; funneling modified Arctic air all the way to the Gulf Coast.

And, to throw a little excitement into the mix, there is a chance for some snow in the days leading up to Christmas, in this cold pattern. Model forecasts show two low pressure systems that will traverse the Plains and midwestern states, and each of these systems may produce some accumulating snow in the area, just before Christmas. And, if this pattern takes just a little longer to develop and ends up slowing down just a bit; you never know….we may have a chance at a White Christmas. We’ll just have to wait and see what the atmosphere has in store for us!

A Rainy & Foggy Thursday; Clearing Out Tonight & Dry For Friday

We are seeing widespread rainfall and patchy precipitation fog across the Four States this morning. We will become dry tonight however and we will remain dry for most of Friday before we see our rain chances increase again into our early Saturday.

Temperatures across the area were in the mid to upper 40s and the low 50s farther south. Current precipitation totals have seen locations receive over half an inch of rainfall especially farther south. Since it will be raining as the kids head off to school this morning, it would be best to send an umbrella and the rain coat with them as it will be cool too with temperatures in the upper 40s and low 50s.

The culprit of this rainfall is a surface low off to our west and an accompanying warm front to our south. This system will continue to move east through the area today and we could continue to see a chance for some drizzle into the afternoon because of this. It will push clear of the area tonight and into tomorrow where we will be cooler and drier. However, late Friday we will see another cluster of showers move toward the area thanks to some shortwave energy generated by an upper level low to our north during the timeframe and surging moisture from the south. This rain will clear out by Saturday night and we should by dry for Sunday.

Future rain totals for today show the possibility of over an inch the farther south you go with primary amounts across the area near or over a quarter of an inch.

Today expect a high around 61 with patchy fog and rain early with mild temperatures. Tonight a low of 40 with a cooler night ahead but still cloudy. We will continue to see a roller coaster of rain chances over the next several days and the possibility for some stronger storms next week.

Another Foggy Morning; Heavy Rain Possible Tonight

It is another foggy morning across the Four States with a dense fog advisory for Southwest Missouri until 9 a.m. but this fog will give way to rain chances later today. For tonight the rain chances will drastically increase with heavy rain possible but we should dry out just in time for Friday.

Temperatures were in the upper 30s and low 40s across the Four States making for a chilly start. With the kids headed out do consider the fog as it could limit visibility and also the chilly temperatures so be sure to bundle up.

We have the cold/pseudo stationary front to our south and this will begin to lift off to the north and east. As the front pushes to the east we will see our rain chances increase behind it and also see our next low develop off to our west through lee cyclogenesis. This second low will become more defined tonight and into tomorrow morning and only assist in sustaining our rain chances. It will move quickly though and be out of here by late Thursday and we should be dry for Friday.

Our excessive rainfall chances have been brought down to a marginal risk thanks to limited moisture and the progressive nature of the low pressure system. Regardless we could still see substantial rainfall with some locations seeing at or near 2 inches of rain.

Today we will see a high around 54 with fog early and rain likely late in the day. Tonight we will see a low around 48 with sustained rainfall with the possibility of heavy rain. We will dry out for Friday but see more rain chances by the weekend and next week with some stronger storms possible on Monday.

Colder Today; Warming Up Through Friday Before Weekend Rain Chances

We are going to be much colder today, but we should see plenty of sunshine and some relatively calmer winds out of the northwest which will still provide a cold wind chill. We will be warming up though through Friday before another cold front pushes through and cools us down again. We will also see the possibility for some rain chances later in the weekend as well.

Temperatures this morning across the Four States were very cold in the 20s primarily, and we were also quite dry, so frost is not expected. We do have a northwest wind over the area around 5 to 10 miles per hour which is a stark contrast from yesterday. Even though the wind is lighter it is still enough to provide a cold wind chill with values in the teens. Definitely consider this with the kids headed to school this morning and make sure they bundle up because, even with the sunshine, temperatures will be in the 20s and we will have that wind chill.

High pressure has set in over the area and is providing that northwest wind. It will continue to pivot off to the east through the next day and we will see our winds come up from the south again which will lead to a temperature rise. Into Friday, we will see our next cold front materialize off to our west and it will likely pass through the area late Friday, but like yesterday, it will likely be a dry passage but an isolated shower can’t be ruled out. What will happen is we will cool down again with high pressure moving in behind the front for Saturday.

Today expect a high around 43 with much colder temperatures and plenty of sunshine. Tonight expect a low around 27 with increasing clouds as well as cold and calm conditions. We will warm into Friday before that front moves through and we cool down for Saturday and another system brings rain chances for the late weekend.

A Very Windy Tuesday; Cooling Off Tonight & Tomorrow

We will see a warm and windy Tuesday today as a dry cold front approaches from the west. Thanks to this same front we will see a colder night and Wednesday ahead of us. We will see gradual warming this week before rain chances enter our forecast this weekend.

Temperatures this morning were very mild in the 50s across the Four States and winds this morning were very gusty with actual wind speeds in excess of 20 miles per hour in several locations. Maximum gusts saw some locations reach over 40 mile per hour wind gusts this morning. As kids head off to school it will be warmer but the winds will be very gusty across the area so be sure to mind the wind as you send the kids off to school.

Our strong winds have generated a response from the national weather service with a wind advisory over several counties in the Four States until later today with Northeast Oklahoma and Northwest Arkansas expiring at noon and Southwest Missouri and Southeast Kansas expiring at 1 p.m. Our windy conditions are being driven by the strong pressure gradient forced by the proximity of the low pressure to our northwest which generates strong surface winds ahead of the feature.

Through today we will see the cold front move into our area and we should remain dry as it passes over. To our southeast in Mississippi they expect a severe weather outbreak with strong tornadoes possible from this system. We expect only continued gusty winds especially out ahead of the system and once it passes a cool northwest wind and high pressure will take its place.

There is a severe threat with this front but not here in the Four States. Off to our southeast they are preparing for a significant severe weather event with long track tornadoes possible across portions of Louisiana and Mississippi so if you have family or friends down there you may want to let them know to be weather aware.

Today expect a high of 67 with warm and windy conditions as well as an active wind advisory. Tonight we will be cooling off to around 24 with clouds decreasing and continued windy conditions. We will be cooler for tomorrow but warm up to Friday before rain chances this weekend.

Warmer Today & Tomorrow; Very Breezy Tuesday

We will see warmer temperatures today and sunshine. Tomorrow it will be even warmer with temperatures in the 60s likely but it will be very breezy as a cold front approaches. Thanks to this cold front we will cool down quite a bit for Wednesday and Thursday before we begin to warm back to near 60 by Friday in anticipation for another bout of rain chances by the weekend.

Temperatures this morning in the Four States were in the upper 20s and low 30s with a light wind. Dewpoints were near or matching actual temperatures and with that light south wind fog will be likely this morning before the sun rises. There is a dense fog advisory for Northeast Oklahoma and Northwest Arkansas until 9 a.m. this morning. With kids headed to school consider the possibility of fog and the cold temperatures so be sure to bundle up.

Besides the dense fog advisories there isn’t much to see across the Four States this morning as high pressure continues to influence our weather. The high pressure will begin to slide off to the east as a strong cold front approaches the area into tomorrow. We will see winds become breezy ahead of this system and temperatures increase before the cold front moves over. With the passage of the front we will see a chance of rain but the biggest change will be the drop in temperatures behind the front. High pressure will move in behind the front and we will see a couple of days of colder temperatures.

We wont be seeing severe weather but just off to the east there exists a potential for a severe weather outbreak with the chance for some significant tornadoes in east Arkansas and West Mississippi on Tuesday.

For today expect a high of 58 with some patchy fog early before we see clouds give way to sun later in the day. Tonight we will see a low around 48 with increasing clouds and breezy conditions. We will see a chance of rain tomorrow before we cool down for Wednesday and Thursday and then warm up Friday before more rain chances by the weekend.

Warm Again Today; Rain For Thanksgiving & The Weekend

We will continue to be warm today but rain chances will be increasing tonight and we are likely to see rainfall for Thanksgiving that will only continue into the weekend.

Temperatures this morning were in the mid to upper 30s and our dewpoints were in the low to mid 30s so low lying fog is definitely possible this morning in some areas of the Four States.

We aren’t seeing much yet in our area as high pressure continues to drift off to the east and still provides us with that southerly wind which has helped to raise our moisture. This will change as the low pressure system approaches tonight and into early tomorrow morning where our rain chances will increase substantially. This low pressure system will become disjointed from a cold front which is connected to a system off to our northeast. This cold front will provide the majority of the rain chances for Thanksgiving and drop our temperatures as well as it passes through late Thanksgiving day. We should see a lull in rainfall for Black Friday with the cold front moving off to the east but the low pressure system to our south will begin to occlude and become vertically stacked with its upper level low. This low will begin to move northeast and as it does it will provide us with another decent chance of rain for our Saturday.

Rain totals from the first wave of rain could see anywhere from half to an inch of rain especially to the south and east. With a wet Thanksgiving expected and with temperatures in the low 50s it may be wise to triage the family football game and keep the festivities indoors.

Today expect a high around 59 with continued warming and afternoon rain chances. Tonight expect a low around 47 with rain chances increasing and a warmer night. We will see rain into the weekend and also our temperatures cool off before we clear out Sunday and warm up into next week.

Warm Temperatures Continue; Rain Chances For Thanksgiving

We will see our warmer temperatures continue today and tomorrow before we see rain chances for the Thanksgiving holiday that will cool us off for our Friday and see the rain chances carry into the weekend.

Temperatures this morning were in the 30s primarily making for another cold start. Coupled with a southerly wind we were seeing wind chill values in the low 30s and upper 20s making it feel even colder across the Four States this morning.

High pressure has continued to influence our weather and we will see that continue today and tomorrow. Tomorrow we will see our next low pressure system establish to our west and into Wednesday night and early Thursday morning we could see our rain chances begin. This will be a slow moving system and it will begin to pass over the area into Thursday and because of this we will see our temperatures drop for our Friday. Besides the drop in temperatures we will continue to see rain chances as this system begins to move off to the east with backlash precipitation.

For today though with people traveling across the country for Thanksgiving the weather should be cooperative with good conditions expected in many locations across the United States besides Seattle where they expect rain today.

Today expect a high around 59 with even warmer conditions and abundant sunshine. Tonight we will see a cool night and some clouds with a low around 37. We will continue to be warmer for today and tomorrow before rain chances increase on Thanksgiving and last into the early weekend as we cool down as well.