Jefferson County Weather Talks

The National Weather Service Office in Topeka will be presenting two Weather Safety and Information Talks this year in Jefferson County, Kansas.

The first class will be in McLouth on Thursday, February 24th, 2011. For more information see the event page.

The second class will be in Meriden on Thursday , March the 3rd, 2011. For more information see the event page.

I would like to thank the following agencies who are making this class possible:

  • National Weather Service Office in Topeka
  • McLouth Fire Department
  • Union Township Fire Department (Jefferson County Fire District#9)
  • City of McLouth
  • McLouth USD#352
  • Rock Creek Fire (Jefferson County Fire District #5)
  • Jefferson West USD#340
  • City of Meriden
  • Jefferson County Emergency Management

Dense Fog in Jefferson County

A dense fog advisory has been issued for Jefferson County until 9am on February 16th. I went out and drove around a little while and it is dangerous out. Visibility was less than a 1/16 mile in areas. Please give yourself plenty of time in the morning and drive carefully.

The fog advisory has been extended until noon.

Forecast for Tuesday February 8th

It is my goal, as always, to analyze the data available to me and  formulate a probable scenario for the events unfolding. A good man once told me, that as a leader, you have to be ready to make a decision when you receive at least 50 percent of the information concerning an incident. Time has taught me to error to the side of caution and use what information you can find to plan for the worst probable outcome.

With that being said all of the information we have at this time shows the primary snow event to be south of us around the Wichita area. As of this time I’m about 90 percent confident the main part of this system will stay South of Jefferson County. My thoughts are that the earlier forecast of 1-2″ should hold.

It looks like the main event will start to impact the County tomorrow afternoon.


More Snow in the Forecast for Northeast Kansas

It looks like there is more snow headed for Jefferson County this week. Here is the current weather story graphic from the NWS. As I was reviewing the midnight model it looks like there is an increasing chance that we will see some more significant snowfall. I wouldn’t be shocked if we see the higher amounts shown in this graphic shift Northeast. Once again pay attention to the weather forecast carefully for the next 24 -72 hours.

The morning model runs are keeping the higher snowfall projections South of Jefferson County. It looks like this system will produce a narrow band of heavy snow and amounts will taper off substantially North of that area.

The current models are calling for around 1-2″ of snow across the County and the heavier amounts are projected for around the Emporia to Wichita area.

A 30 mile move in this system with change the outcome dramatically. Once we hit our high temperatures for the day we should be in pretty good shape to forecast the effect that this weather system will have on Jefferson County.

I will post a new post later tonight with my thoughts once all the data from today has been collected and processed.


Dangerous Cold Spell

Windchill Chart Northerly winds in the 20mph range are expected to persist across Jefferson County through mid-day today as an arctic air mass descends upon the County. Temperatures will plummet into the single digits this morning, this coupled with the winds will make it feel like 20 degrees below zero. Below is the forecast from the National Weather Service.

Wednesday: Areas of blowing snow before noon. Cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly sunny and cold, with a high near 8. Wind chill values between -12 and -22. Blustery, with a north northwest wind between 11 and 21 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.

Wednesday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around -9. Wind chill values between -15 and -20. West northwest wind between 6 and 10 mph.

Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 17. Wind chill values between -13 and -23. Southwest wind between 8 and 14 mph, with gusts as high as 18 mph.

Thursday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 4. South southwest wind between 11 and 13 mph.

Friday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 26.

Friday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 20.

Saturday: Mostly cloudy, with a high near 31.

Saturday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 20.

Sunday: Partly sunny, with a high near 29.

Sunday Night: A chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 13. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Monday: Mostly cloudy and blustery, with a high near 22.

Monday Night: Partly cloudy and blustery, with a low around -1.

Tuesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 16.

In these conditions frostbite and hypothermia are major concerns.If you have to venture out during the day make sure you dress appropriately.

The Day of the Storm

9:30 update – Roads in Jefferson County are drifting over faster than the road crew can clear them. The winds are expected to continue overnight. This will lead to very cold wind chills. Do not travel in the County tonight unless it is absolutely necessary! Below is the final adjusted estimated snowfall amounts for the area. This should be closer to real world measurements.

6:30pm update – Report of 9″ of snow in County. Snow is drifting over roads, road crews are having a difficult time keeping roads open. Do not drive in the County unless absolutely necessary. Here is the latest experimental snowfall graphic. It is still running a little heavy on the amounts.

4:00pm update – Roads are experiencing heavy drifting in the County. Estimating 5″-7″of snow across the County. The snow estimate graphic is showing the proper pattern, but the amounts are inflated. This has to do with the moisture conversion rates being less than normal with this system.

2:15pm update – Travel across the County is starting to get difficult. Estimating around 5″ of snow so far in areas of Jefferson County. Snow is starting to drift and is getting very hard to measure. Here is the 2:00pm snow estimate graphic.

12:30pm update – 12:00pm snow estimate graphic.

11:30am update – Snow continues to fall in Jefferson County. I’m seeing snowfall reports South of the County increasing. It looks like reports are showing the estimate to be  fairly accurate. Below is the 11:00am estimate.

10:30am update – Snowfall is picking up across the County. Visibility is down to under 1/2 mile in areas. Estimated snowfall is 1-2 inches across the County. Below is a updated experimental snowfall graphic. This is a 10:00am estimate.

9:45am update – We are experiencing moderate blowing snow across the County. The heavier snow is still south of the County. Looks like we should start seeing a heavier snow around noon. Below is an experimental snowfall estimate graphic.

8am update – The NWS has updated their official projections.

7am update – The snow has started to fall South of the County. Reports coming out of Oklahoma that areas have 6 inches of snow so far. Expecting the heavier snow to start in Jefferson County between 10am and noon.

High winds and cold temperatures are already here. Expect below zero wind chills and blowing snow this afternoon and evening.

This morning at 06:00, Governor Brownback signed a State Emergency Declaration for Jefferson and other Counties in Kansas that are in the path of this storm. The Declaration was signed due to the freezing precipitation received and heavy snowfall predicted, coupled with strong winds creating blowing and drifting snow and bitterly cold wind chills.

Original 1am post -The day of the “Great Midwest Blizzard of 2011” is upon us now. This post will be used for continuing updates of news about the storm. I will start this off with my final posting of two snowfall models,  a local one and a regional one.

The amounts for Jefferson County have decreased slightly. Yesterday the models were calling for around 11 inches of snow, now the models are calling for 8 to 10 inches.

Timing of the Storm

It seems that the forecast models have for the most part agreed on an amount of snow for Jefferson County. Below is the current graphic from the NWS showing forecast amounts.

We now need to try and figure out the timing element of the storm to allow us to make decisions on how to proceed tomorrow.  Below are two different model runs for 6 am tomorrow morning. Both models show very little accumulation by 6am.

Next, let’s look below at the 9am run and see what they show us. The “NAM” on the left isn’t showing accumulation, but the “GFS” on the right is showing an additional 2 inches of snow for the 3 hour period.

Now moving on to the noon run. The NAM on the left shows heavy snow just getting ready to enter the County and the GFS on the right shows 6 inches already. Basically if you analysis the models it appears that the NAM is showing the system moving slower to the Northeast than the GFS. Now you have to make a judgment on which one is handling this system better. The one thing that really stands out to me is when you compare the 6am to the 9 am NAM it is showing 7 inches of snow falling in one place in Oklahoma. I feel this is excessive and it allows me to have more confidence in the GFS model on the right.

Now we can look at the 3pm models and see where we are at. Basically both models are showing heavy snow in Jefferson County at this point. Now this will lead us to have fairly high confidence that we will see heavy snow by tomorrow afternoon.

This leaves us with a decision to make in each particular situation. Hopefully, with this, I have given you enough information to make that decision.

As a rule, I always plan for the worst and hope for the best.


Latest Snow Projections For Jefferson County

1:45 pm update – Here is the latest model run. Snowfall amounts keep trending slightly upwards in the area.

1:30 pm update – I have added a closings and cancellations page to the site to track items of interest to the citizens of Jefferson County. Please use the contact form to submit items or you can send me an email if you have it.

I’m currently waiting on the latest model runs to complete and I will post it when it completes. The surface air temperature is staying right around 31 degrees. We have ice starting to accumulate on elevated surfaces. Please use caution outside this afternoon and evening.

10:00 am update – My current thoughts are that we will see this light stuff come and go through out the day today. Tonight, It looks like we will see an off and on dusting of snow until between 3 and 6 am tomorrow where the snow will pick up. We should then see heavy snowfall all day tomorrow ending around midnight with final accumulations in the 11″ range.

To compound the problem of heavy snow, we will see high winds in the 20-25 mph range tomorrow. In addition the temperature will drop overnight creating a very dangerous scenario if you are exposed or stuck out in the storm. There is no way our road crew will be able to keep up with this storm if it follows the current forecast. We will have to focus on clearing for emergencies only. The road department will have to try and dig the County out Wednesday after the snow stops.

7:30 am update – It looks like the freezing drizzle has started in Jefferson County, please be careful. I am posting the updated total accumulation model that shows a little more snow in the County.

This matches fairly well to the weather graphic by the NWS.

12:30 am – Here is the latest snow projections for Tuesday. As you can see the model is a little more realistic.

Total snow for 2FEB2011

In addition it looks like Jefferson County may receive a little more ice on Monday than the initial forecast showed.

NWS Predicting Ice and Snow for Jefferson County

5:30pm update: – Here is the latest total snowfall model.

5:00pm update: – Here is the Tuesday snowfall forecast graphic from the NWS.

3:30 pm update: – The NWS will be issuing a Winter Weather Warning for Jefferson County and all of Northeast Kansas. They will be modifying their snowfall projections soon. They are now projecting around 10″ of snow in Jefferson County by Wednesday.

Original Post 9:30am– It looks like Jefferson County will receive another round of winter weather to start the work week. Below is the current weather story graphic from the NWS.

The NWS also issued a winter storm watch for Jefferson County that will go into effect at midnight tonight and last until 6am on Wednesday.

Monday morning expect a slight glazing of ice in the County and allow for extra time to deal with it. I think we are looking at more of a freezing mist like we saw earlier this winter for Monday with a couple of periods of drizzle. It looks like the make up of this system will allow for periods of time without precipitation in the county. The main system of this storm is expected to develop Tuesday morning and develop into a major storm system.

To give an idea of what we are looking at, here is a segment of one of the model runs for Tuesday. This run shows the classic comma shaped system where there is usually a heavy snow band associated with the part of comma over Kansas.

The system is also expected to produce significant winds Tuesday in the 20-30 mph range which will cause drifting snow.

Pay attention to the weather forecast for the next couple of days (every 3 hours or so) and as always, prepare for the worst case scenario and hope for the best one.


Messy Forecast to Start Work Week

We have been watching a weather system just off the west coast that should impact Jefferson County starting this Monday the 31st and continue to Wednesday the 2nd.

The models are showing a significant amount of moisture being introduced into the area on Tuesday. Current thoughts are that we may see an icing event on Monday and snow on Tuesday into Wednesday morning.

My greatest concern on this is the potential for high winds on Tuesday night which will lead to drifting snow and wind chills near zero or below zero.

More to follow as this system moves closer to us.