Interesting cold, convective precipitation in Dodge City tonight? The cold front is on it’s way (Figure 2)! A lead wave (water vapor in Figure 1) was lifting north across Nebraska late this morning which is providing portions of central/northern Nebraska with a priming coat of snow before the bigger storm (the ‘x’ over Arizona in Figure 1) impacts the region tonight into New Years Eve. It still looks like some substantial snow accumulations up in the area from northern Nebraska into the eastern Dakotas once the upper low deepens during the day Friday north of here (southwest Kansas).
This post will focus on southwest Kansas… particularly here in Dodge City. I kind of look at this as a pre-brief for myself and what I have to look forward to on my evening shift tonight (4pm to midnight). The precipitation event for Dodge City will be tonight…particularly after about 8:00pm or so… and continuing until probably 3:00am or so? I took a look at the various high resolution model forecast composite reflectivity images (HRRR, 4km WRF NMM, 12km NAM) and the precipitation in Dodge City will be convective in nature (Figure 3) with some potential instability present at the nose of the mid level potential vorticity anomaly. The question will be how cold it will be. The arctic air is really not all that far away, and by the time the precipitation starts, the 30°F line will be precariously close to Dodge City (see bottom-right panel in Figure 3). The very leading edge of the arctic air will probably be shallow enough such that a warm layer aloft will exist and precipitation type may be either freezing rain or sleet… at least for a brief time…until we get far enough on the cold side of the arctic airmass. It’s really anybody’s guess as to how wide this corridor will be… but some convective sleet and freezing rain is certainly a distinct possibility tonight in and around Dodge City.