High Plains Drifter

disclaimer:  "The meteorological views/forecast thinking expressed are those solely of the author of this blog
and do not necessarily represent those of official National Weather Service forecast products,
therefore read and enjoy at your own risk and edification!"

February 9, 2011

Southwest Kansas Snow Event 2011 Feb 8 [6]

Filed under: 2011 Feb 8 — Mike U @ 12:51 am

7.8″ total snowfall (10:30pm) at my house 5 N Dodge City. As of the time of this blog post, at around 11:40pm CST, light snow continued, but it was beginning to wind down (see radar figure below).  We have been getting roughly 2 to 5 tenths of an inch of snow, per radar analysis, since the last time I measured the snow.  I went out and measured again, but compaction has set in from the prolonged strong northeast winds, so simply measuring snow depths doesn’t really mean the same thing as “snowfall”.  At 6:25pm, I called it 6.3″, so another 1.5″ in that four hour time span is reasonable.  It’s going to be fun photographing these drifts in the morning!  In the meantime, I have attached some nighttime images of some of the drifting between my house and the neighbor’s house on my south side.  The northeast winds caused fairly substantial drifting in through there.










February 8, 2011

Southwest Kansas Snow Event 2011 Feb 8 [5]

Filed under: 2011 Feb 8 — Mike U @ 5:16 pm

Still moderate/occasional heavy snow as of 4:10pm. Around 5.5″ was what I was calling the total snowfall here at my house 5 N Dodge City as of 3:30pm.  The drifting is so substantial that it is nearly impossible to find a representative area now.  There is a lot of subjectivity to measuring snow in this wind.  In the longer duration gusts, it’s a near white-out condition looking out my back window.  I drove through town about an hour ago and visibility in town was extremely low, no more than a block or two at the most.  Attached to this post are a few images I shot from along Wyatt Earp during heavy snow and blowing snow:

110208_15523684 110208_15535522 110208_15555414 110208_15564932

Southwest Kansas Snow Event 2011 Feb 8 [4]

Filed under: 2011 Feb 8 — Mike U @ 2:18 pm

3.0″ snow 5 N Dodge City and numerous drifts to 10-15″. Heavy snow is in progress at my house north of Dodge.  It was difficult to measure the snow, but as of 12:50pm, I came up with what I thought was a fairly representative 3.0″ snow depth.  There were a lot of 1″ depth spots, but there were also a lot of 6-9″+ drifts adjacent to the psuedo bare areas.  The drifting over the ditch at the front of my front yard is approaching 25″ now.  I’ve attached a couple photographs to this post to illustrate the substantially reduced visibility in heavy snow and blowing snow.





Southwest Kansas Snow Event 2011 Feb 8 [3]

Filed under: 2011 Feb 8 — Mike U @ 11:22 am

0.50″ QPF. The 12z NAM, 14z RUC, and 13z HRRR all generate a half-inch of liquid equivalent precipitation.  18:1 SLR would be 9″ of snowfall.  Stronger frontogenesis for a longer period of time is now expected across Southwest Kansas, especially between the Arkansas River and the Oklahoma border through this evening.  Moderate snow is occurring now at my house with the northeast wind around 25 mph, gusting occasionally to 35 mph.  Heavy snow is now developing to the northwest of Dodge City, and this will overspread Dodge by Noon.  My own personal snowfall forecast is now 6 to 9″ for Dodge City.  The office just upgraded Dodge to a Winter Storm Warning now for widespread 4-8″.


Southwest Kansas Snow Event 2011 Feb 8 [2]

Filed under: 2011 Feb 8 — Mike U @ 10:12 am

High snow-to-liquid ratios (SLR) being observed. Overnight, light to moderate snow accumulated 2 to 5 inches across northwest and north-central Kansas, southwest and south-central Nebraska.  SLR of 18-25:1 are being reported with several 4 and 5 inch snow amounts up north with only about two-tenths of an inch of melted snow.  Given the wind and the very “fluffy” nature of the snow, rain gauge catch is a big problem.  Accuracy of SLR during these times are very poor… but that being said, I think at least 18 (if not low 20s) to 1″ liquid makes sense given the very deep dendritic growth zone layer of a couple hundred millibars.  It’s snowing lightly as of 8:45am in Dodge City with what appears to be perhaps a tenth or two of accumulation.


The 12z RUC continues to be quite impressive with the simulated radar reflectivity and 700mb frontogenesis through the day across Southwest Kansas.  I think we’ll easily see 5″ of snow in Dodge City, if not more, based on a high SLR from observations up north.  New Local Storm Report came in at 8:37am of 4-6″ of snow from a spotter south of Collyer in Trego County (that’s in the Dodge City NWS forecast area).  Wow.

12z RUC graphics follow.  Last image is the RUC accumulated snowfall through Midnight tonight, showing 5″ in Dodge City:

Southwest Kansas Snow Event 2011 Feb 8 [1]

Filed under: 2011 Feb 8 — Mike U @ 2:58 am

Finally, some decent snow for Dodge City this season.  About time. It looks like a 3 to 5″ snow event will affect Dodge City, KS and surrounding areas.  The 08/00z runs of the NAM gives Dodge City about 0.55″ of QPF while the GFS and Canadian GEM offer around 0.30 to 0.40″ or so.  What is interesting about this storm is that the thermodynamics in the lower-mid troposphere will be characterized by a very deep layer within the dendritic growth zone (-12 to -18°C).  Saturation and lift through this deep growth zone layer will likely support liquid-to-snow ratios of 1:15 if not higher… to 1:18 or so.  Therefore, 0.40″ QPF would yield 6 or 7 inches of snow.  The official forecast for Dodge City is for 3-6″:

Tuesday: Snow likely before 9am, then snow and areas of blowing snow after 9am. High near 18. Wind chill values as low as -1. Breezy, with a east northeast wind between 22 and 24 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.

Tuesday Night: Snow and areas of blowing snow before 2am, then snow likely and areas of blowing snow between 2am and 5am, then areas of blowing snow and a chance of snow after 5am. Low around 0. Wind chill values as low as -19. Blustery, with a north northwest wind between 15 and 22 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.

Here is a surface map as of 06z (Midnight CST) showing the approaching arctic airmass ahead of the approaching upper low.  Snow was already underway across western Nebraska and much of northeastern Colorado:


The following series of images show the 05z run of the 20km RUC model of 700mb Wind/Temperature/Heights along with Composite Reflectivity every three hours from 09z to 21z Tuesday.  The last image is the RUC forecast snowfall accumulation total through 21z:

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