Late week rains still expected/KC: Watch for isolated slick spots early Thursday AM

The end of the week still looks wet — and recent model trends have brought significant rains further north and west than was expected 24 hours ago — although the most recent run has back down a little on rainfall totals for KC/Topeka. As the initial moisture surge arrives, there is a slight possibility of a bit of freezing drizzle early Thursday morning; mainly for the KC area although a significant event is not expected.  Use caution on the morning commute.  The latest data suggests moisture will hold off long enough to allow temperatures to rise above freezing in STL/SEMO/SW IL.

The last day’s worth of high resolution computer guidance has come in progressively heavier for SEMO/SW IL/STL.  The oldest run is the first image with the most recent the last.  24 hours ago, a light event was predicted with totals generally less than 1/4″. Today, those totals have crept up to an inch or better from the STL area to the south and east.  The area is running on the dry side, so any rains would be welcome, especially since a mid month dry stretch looks increasingly likely.

2014-12-03-1427-00ZNAMLSX 2014-12-03-1427-06ZNAMLSX 2014-12-03-1427-12ZNAMLSX 2014-12-03-1427-18ZNAMLSX

For the Topeka/KC area, the last day’s worth of high resolution computer guidance has come in with more significant rains as well.  The oldest run is the first image with the most recent the last.  24 hours ago, rain was in large part expected to remain south of the area. The past day has brought rainfall totals up significantly, although the just completed afternoon run of guidance has reversed that trend slightly.  Totals of nearly 1″ have backed down to near 1/2″ but remain significant.   There remains a rather sharp northern cutoff to the significant rain area 50 or so miles north of KC.  That means any southward shift in the rain band might once again reduce totals. The area is 6 weeks into a very dry period with the last 1/2″ or greater total in mid October.   A missed opportunity means that dry stretch could reach 8 weeks.

2014-12-03-1430-00ZNAMEAX 2014-12-03-1430-06ZNAMEAX 2014-12-03-1430-12ZNAMEAX 2014-12-03-1430-18ZNAMEAX

The main rain area is not expected to arrive until 2 to 6 AM Friday morning, so there remains time for adjustment in the intensity and track of the system. The images below are a simulation of that the guidance expects the radar to look at at 3AM (left) and 6AM (right) Friday morning.  You can see a well defined area of rain over the region.  Note the blue 32F line is well north of the area, so no issues with ice or snow Friday.

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Beyond this weekend, there is a suggestion of a cooldown early next week before mild air returns, and there is a possibility of another east-coast snowstorm, so be aware if your travel plans take you through or to DC/NYC/Boston next week. Something to keep an eye on. No big snows showing up on any of today’s data through at least the 18th of December, although the overall expectation of a cold winter with above average snows continues. In the years that closely mirror this one, 1976 and 2003, November cold was followed by an overall mild December before sustained cold arrived in Jan/Feb. Most available data continues to suggest a similar scenario to that this winter.

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