Rain, Snow, Sleet Oh My! Our Next Winter Storm Is Definitely A Mixed Bag
4:00 PM Update Thursday, February 17
The City of Sedalia is out trying to clear the streets and the City is under a Snow Emergency, so parking on Emergency Snow Routes is prohibited. The City of Warrensburg says plows are now working on residential streets and that visibility in town is poor and if people can stay home, they should.
The National Weather Service says the wind should start to die down after 4:00 PM CST, and that a lot of the snow should be out of the area around 5:00 PM. Temperatures are starting to drop, with the temperature currently at 19 degrees. Tonight's low will be 1 above.
MoDOT out of Kansas City has asked motorists for patience as they're still dealing with blowing and drifting snow. They say most routes are snow-covered and motorists should check the MoDOT traveler information map before heading out. You can access the traveler information map here. An earlier crash on Interstate 70 around Warrenton has closed the eastbound lanes of the Interstate, and as of about 3:15, MoDOT says that stretch of road could be closed for several hours.
10:40 AM Update Thursday, Feb 17
With the storm reaching West Central Missouri, the focus this morning seems to be more about deteriorating travel conditions. The National Weather Service in Kansas City is advising people to stay home if they can through their Facebook page. And most of the roads monitored by the Missouri Department of Transportation in West Central Missouri are listed as snow-covered. You can access MoDOT's Traveler Information Map here.
As for the forecast and when will the snow stop. According to the National Weather Service, we'll have periods of snow, sometimes heavy snow, much of the day before 5:00 PM CST. It's also windy, so the snow we get will be blowing around. Temperatures will hover around 21 today.
Tonight the story shifts to cold temperatures. We're looking at a low of 1 above, with windchills between -2 and -7 degrees. With the snow moving out of the area, the nighttime and overnight hours should give crews a good chance to clear roads and get ready for tomorrow morning. However, with temperatures so low, some of the snow melting products municipalities and MoDOT treats the roads with are less effective. So tomorrow morning's commute may be impacted.
The American Airlines flight to Chicago from Columbia Regional Airport scheduled to depart at 12:26 PM CST has been canceled. On the arrival side, the American flight from Chicago scheduled to arrive at 11:56 has been canceled. American's scheduled flight from Chicago due in Columbia at around 7:30 PM CST is still scheduled, as is American's flight from Dallas/Fort Worth at 10:50 PM CST. American's five flights scheduled for departure tomorrow are still scheduled, as are their five flights arriving from Chicago and Dallas/Fort Worth.
Kansas City International Airport is showing some cancellations from earlier in the day, however as of this writing most flights, according to their website, are still showing as on-time, with some delays. The only airline that has canceled scheduled departures is Delta. On the arrivals side, it's pretty much the same story.
As someone who has traveled, I'd tell you to check your flight's status before heading to the airport. I've been the victim of a stray thunderstorm near airports in Chicago and Dallas that have caused significant delays and cancellations, and something tells me the flight status information on the KCI and Columbia Regional Airport sites may be overly optimistic at this point on what flights will make it into Kansas City and what flights will make it out of Kansas City.
1:00 AM Update Thursday, Feb 17
The forecast and timing of the storm has not changed much since our 4:00 PM CST update yesterday afternoon.
The Missouri Department of Transportation asks motorists to stay off the roads as conditions deteriorate tomorrow so crews can work. Additionally, they ask travelers to check the MoDOT Travelers Information Map and local weather forecast before doing any traveling today.
Amtrak has canceled the Missouri River Runner train between St. Louis and Chicago today and Friday. As well as Lincoln Service Trains 304 & 305 between Chicago and St. Louis. Other Lincoln Service trains are scheduled to operate.
Flight arrivals and departures for Columbia Regional Airport can be found here.
4:00 PM Update Wednesday, Feb. 16
A Winter Storm Warning goes into effect from Midnight tonight and runs through 6:00 PM CST tomorrow evening.
The National Weather Service says to expect rain and possible thunderstorms tonight with a low of 22. Rain will turn to freezing rain around 5:00 AM CST. And we can expect freezing rain and sleet through the morning commute. As we get to mid-day expect a mixture of sleet and snow, which will turn to all snow as the day goes on.
Updated snow totals from the National Weather Service in Kansas City Show most of our listening area including Sedalia, Warrensburg, and Knob Noster getting between six and eight inches of snow out of this storm. Check back for updates.
Forecasters are having a tough time figuring out what to tell us about the winter storm that will be arriving in Sedalia and West Central Missouri Wednesday night and is expected to stick around through Thursday. But it looks like a mixed bag of precipitation, and anywhere from two to four inches of snow, maybe.
The National Weather Service out of Kansas City detailed why their forecasting of this storm is so vague on a Facebook post this morning:
It might seem like we're being vague with this storm but that's because uncertainty remains high with the track of the storm itself. To put this in numbers terms, the swatch of heaviest snow may be 100 miles wide while the variability in the storm track is still several hundred miles ranging from central Missouri to Arkansas.
I can certainly see where that might present some difficulties in trying to forecast this particular storm. Here's what our forecast team at Weatherology is saying about the weather over the next couple of days:
Tomorrow/Wednesday - Another nice day, it'll be cloudy and 63 with scattered rain showers in the late afternoon.
Wednesday Night - Scattered thunderstorms likely with an overnight low of 24.
Thursday- It will be colder with a high of 33. Mixed precipitation is likely.
The National Weather Service's forecast for Sedalia is similar to the Weatherology forecast, but they do provide a little more detail on what to expect on Thursday. They expect a mix of snow, freezing rain, and sleet before 10:00 AM CST. Then, snow and freezing rain between 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM CST. Temperatures will also fall throughout the day, and thundersnow is possible.
At this point, I might strongly consider staying home or working from home on Thursday as it looks like travel could deteriorate significantly as the day goes on. That is if the forecast is generally right. We'll provide updates on this post as conditions warrant Wednesday and Thursday.