KOMU.com https://www.komu.com/ KOMU.com Climate Statewide Climate Statewide en-us Copyright 2020, KOMU.com. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Mon, 17 Feb 2020 HH:02:ss GMT Synapse CMS 10 KOMU.com https://www.komu.com/ 144 25 October 2019: Third snowiest and sixteenth coldest in Columbia despite record warmth early on https://www.komu.com/news/october-2019-third-snowiest-and-sixteenth-coldest-in-columbia-despite-record-warmth-early-on/ https://www.komu.com/news/october-2019-third-snowiest-and-sixteenth-coldest-in-columbia-despite-record-warmth-early-on/ Climate Statewide Mon, 4 Nov 2019 8:59:51 PM Kenton Gewecke, KOMU 8 Chief Meteorologist October 2019: Third snowiest and sixteenth coldest in Columbia despite record warmth early on

COLUMBIA - Do you remember September 2019? It was the hottest month mid-Missouri has recorded in the past 130 years. That warmth held over into October for a few days. October 1 and 2 both recorded record warmth at night, with the warmest low temperatures on set for both of those dates. The warm stretch wouldn't last long after that, however.

Summer quite literally continued through September into October. Most folks were ready for Fall conditions, tree leaves to change, sweater and jacket weather. Well, all of those things came, but it wasn't quite as many had hoped. It got cold. Fast. We were just telling folks to break out the fall jackets and then had to say, scratch that, dig up the winter coats!

Columbia has just as many seasonally average days in October as it did below average days, thirteen each. While the first frost came on the 11th and 12th of the month, a deep freeze didn't arrive until the last two days of the month when temps dropped into the 20s.

Halloween broke records all on its own. The high temperature only reached 39º, tying 1993 and 1951 as the coldest high temperature on record for that date. Morning snowfall also totaled 0.4", breaking the previous 0.3" daily record from 1912. This would also be the only snowfall of the month.

Thanks to the Halloween morning snowfall, October 2019 is now in the record books as the third snowiest in 130 years, tied with 1954. Only 1925 (0.8") and 1913 (2.9") has had more snowfall on Halloween in Columbia, MO since 1889.

Rainfall was a-plenty, too. In fact, it was the 14th wettest October on record. A total of 5.60" fell, besting the 3.31" average by 2.3". The "wet season" we've been in for over a year now is still going strong. 

Another note on October temperatures, because while 2019 was the 16th coldest, it had more to do with cold high temperatures than low temperatures. The monthly average high temperature was 63.3º, which was 3.8º below the 67.1º monthly climatological average high temperature. The low temps averaged to 43.8º for October 2019, only 1.2º below the 45º monthly climatological average. Therefore, putting it all together, the month as a whole was 2.4º below average.


I find it important to note that our climate isn't only changing in the warm months. In fact, it is almost more important and more evident in the colder months. So, the fact that we just had the 16th coldest October in 130 years of records doesn't disprove climate change nor global warming (which are not the same thing).

Look instead at the fact that we went from the 1st hottest September to the 16th coldest October. We flipped from a summer September to a winter October. We skipped autumn conditions for the most part. It is this type of extreme weather pattern that is becoming more frequent due to climate change. 

Moreover, just last year in 2018 we went from the 1st coldest April on record for the state of Missouri to the 1st hottest May. We went from a winter April to a summer May. We skipped spring completely and in a very extreme way, something the Missouri State Climatologist agrees with undoubtedly. 

If people try to tell you that just because it is cold, or there is snow on the ground, that "global warming was supposed to mean we wouldn't see this anymore, so it's fake"...do not pay any attention. Those are lies from deniers who refuse to see the truth of our changing climate. Also note that I haven't talked at all in this article about it being human-caused climate change. Because honestly, even for those who think it is natural for our climate to be changing faster than ever before in human history, when it comes down to it, regardless of where blame is placed, the climate IS changing. We need to start understanding better what is changing, how rapidly, what those effects are and what they will be. The climate is changing rapidly whether you believe it is human-caused or not. That is an undeniable fact. Let's talk about those changes. 


This story is part of SHOW ME CLIMATE, an ongoing KOMU 8 series devoted to ethically explaining climate change without politics using fact-based data to deliver important information about our world and the Show-Me State.

Permalink| Comments

Columbia records snowiest Halloween on record; ties coldest high temp https://www.komu.com/news/columbia-records-snowiest-halloween-on-record-ties-coldest-high-temp/ https://www.komu.com/news/columbia-records-snowiest-halloween-on-record-ties-coldest-high-temp/ Climate Statewide Thu, 31 Oct 2019 5:03:37 PM Kenton Gewecke, KOMU 8 Chief Meteorologist Columbia records snowiest Halloween on record; ties coldest high temp

COLUMBIA - The weather outside is frightful. Yes, it just snowed on Halloween in Missouri. Yet, how quickly we may forget because it was just two years ago in Columbia, in 2017, that our high temperature was 41 and the low temperature was 24 and a trace of snow was recorded on Halloween. Spooky, huh?



It has snowed on Halloween four times since 1890, when records began. Those years are: 2017, 1954. 1951 and 1912. Now, most of those years only recorded a trace of snowfall and zero snow "depth" was recorded, likely due to warm grounds. However, in 1912, 0.3" of snow is recorded to have fallen, leaving zero snow depth behind.

Halloween 2019 officially recorded 0.4" of snowfall and a trace of snowfall depth, breaking the 107-year-old record.

Therefore, looking at climatology, there is only a 2% chance it will snow on Halloween any given year. It happened twice in the 1950s and now it happened twice in the 2010s. Will another 60 years go by before it happens again?


The City of Fountains began recording snowfall in 1893 and has recorded snowfall on Halloween six times since: 1912, 1932, 1941, 1951, 2002, 2017. The only time more than 0.1" has been recorded was in 1912, with an entire inch of snowfall and snow depth in the record books.

Kansas City only recorded 0.1" since midnight on October 31. However, they did record 0.9" on October 30th, breaking the record for that date, which was previously only a trace amount recorded in 1954. 

Now, while the snowfall amount didn't break a record, they still recorded 1" snowfall depth and that does tie the 1" snowfall depth record for Halloween set in 1912.


Snowfall records began in 1892 and since then it has only snowed five times on Halloween, all with only a trace of snowfall (a weak dusting at best) in: 1905, 1951, 1959, 1993, 2017.

Now the Gateway City can add 2019 to the books with a trace recorded once again, tying the record.


Columbia has been recording weather records for nearly 130 years, since 1890. In that time the high temperature on Halloween has reached anywhere from 39º (1951, 1993) to 87º (1950).

Halloween 2019 reached a high temperature of 39º, tying the record for the lowest high temperature for October 31. 

As for the daily low temperature, the record is 22º (1890, 1898, 1930, 1993). We won't break that record in 2019.

Permalink| Comments

Mid-Missouri's hottest September since 1897, explained https://www.komu.com/news/mid-missouri-s-hottest-september-since-1897-explained/ https://www.komu.com/news/mid-missouri-s-hottest-september-since-1897-explained/ Climate Statewide Mon, 30 Sep 2019 10:56:14 PM Kenton Gewecke, KOMU 8 Chief Meteorologist Mid-Missouri's hottest September since 1897, explained

COLUMBIA - The warmest September mid-Missourians will be able to remember just occurred. This is because no one from the 1800s is alive today, and the last time Columbia recorded a September as warm as 2019's was in 1897, a difference of 122 years. However, there are major differences in how both September 1897 and 2019 came to be at the top of the record book.


The month started with three days in the 100s (for actual temperatures, not counting for the heat index). In fact, a total of four days were in the 100s. Still to this day the month holds six high temperature records. There was a cool period that lasted seven days from the 16th to the 22nd when temperatures were either seasonal or below average. During that time, one morning recorded a low of 35º, which still holds the record low for that date. So, you can see, there were large swings in the temperatures throughout the month.

It was a very dry month. A half-inch of rainfall is all that recorded, and that fell over a consecutive 48-hour period in the middle of the month. Every other day was dry.

A reminder that dry conditions will produce large swings in temperatures and can allow temperatures to get both warmer (into the 100s) and cooler (into the 30s in this case) at night.


The only below average day was felt on the first day of the month. The end of August was below average and that carried over into September for one day. Then, everything changed. The remainder of the month experienced above average temperatures with the exception of eight days which were seasonal. While a low temperature was not broken, a highest low temperature was. The last day of the month recorded a low of 69º, which bested the previous 68º highest low from 1971. However, there were zero 100-degree days. In fact, the warmest temperature felt in 2019 as a whole was 95º.

It was a below average month for precipitation with only 2.52" falling over the Columbia weather station, which left the month 1.35" below the 3.87" average. 

The month also saw very little influence from frontal systems. The jet stream, our upper-level winds that tend to steer low-pressure systems our way from the Rocky Mountains, was well north of us. Because of this, nothing was able to stop our continued Summer. Showers every now and then, along with clouds, helped to keep temperatures steadily in the 80s and 90s; playing a role in keeping our low temperatures so warm, too. The steady southerly flow didn't hurt, either.

So, if 1987 had multiple 100-degree days and still holds records and 2019 has zero high temperature records, how are they tied for first place?


The nights over the course of 2019's September were 6.7º warmer than in 1897. Meanwhile, the high temperatures in 2019 were 6.7º cooler than in 1897. Hence, the tie. 

A note on low temperatures: one of the trends we have been seeing prominently in climate has been warmer nights. Since 1970, Columbia's low temperature is, on average, 2.4º warmer.

While summer has held on, Fall weather should finally arrive by the end of the week as the coolest temps since May move into mid-MO. 

Permalink| Comments

A conversation with the Missouri State Climatologist about climate trends https://www.komu.com/news/a-conversation-with-the-missouri-state-climatologist-about-climate-trends/ https://www.komu.com/news/a-conversation-with-the-missouri-state-climatologist-about-climate-trends/ Climate Statewide Thu, 19 Sep 2019 9:02:11 PM Kenton Gewecke, KOMU 8 Chief Meteorologist A conversation with the Missouri State Climatologist about climate trends

COLUMBIA - During the first week of Show Me Climate we've discussed many of the basics of our changing climate. We started with the difference between weather and climate, moved on to why the climate is changing so rapidly, dug into non-renewable and renewable sources of energy, saw the changes occurring around the world, and looked at data showing how weather is trending in a new direction, too. 

Here, I sit down with the Pat Guinan, the Missouri State Climatologist, for a conversation about the trends we've been seeing right here in the Show-Me State. You can watch the entire conversation above, or the simplified version that aired during a KOMU 8 News broadcast. 

Pat and I chat about the many trends we are seeing in Missouri, from warmer nights, warmer winters, wetter seasons, shorter seasons, longer seasons, agricultural impacts, and much more about the history and climate of Missouri. 


This story is part of SHOW ME CLIMATE, an ongoing KOMU 8 series devoted to ethically explaining climate change without politics using fact-based data to deliver important information about our world and the Show-Me State.

Permalink| Comments

Climate change is also affecting weather trends https://www.komu.com/news/climate-change-is-also-affecting-weather-trends/ https://www.komu.com/news/climate-change-is-also-affecting-weather-trends/ Climate Statewide Thu, 19 Sep 2019 5:20:33 PM Kenton Gewecke, KOMU 8 Chief Meteorologist Climate change is also affecting weather trends
COLUMBIA — In an earlier story we discussed the difference between weather and climate. While they’re not the same thing, a changing climate does change weather patterns.
One thing I have to note before we get into this is that we still cannot link anthropogenic climate change (man-made climate change) directly to each weather system. Just because we have a terrible hurricane does not mean it is due to climate change. When a tornado is ravaging the earth, it cannot be directly linked. However, what we are seeing is more extreme weather. That means we are seeing stronger hurricanes more often. When it rains, it pours…causing more flooding. When it’s dry, it turns into a severe drought more frequently. So, while each singular weather system cannot be linked directly, overall we are experiencing more extreme weather more frequently, with less of the in-between.
As you know by now, the world is warming at an unnaturally rapid pace. Climate has warmed by 2-degrees Fahrenheit since 1880. And eighteen of the 19 warmest years all have occurred since 2001, with the exception of 1998. The year 2016 ranks as the warmest on record.
Each region of the world is changing differently. The good news is, some areas are still below average each year. Can you imagine a world where absolutely nowhere produced a below average annual temp? Talk about out-of-balance.
The central United States has been one of the cooler areas recently, including here in Missouri. There’s a reason for that…and it has to do with rain. When the ground and air are wet, the Sun's energy goes more into the moisture and evaporating that moisture than actually heating the air. So, when the air is drier (think desert-like), the temperature can reach into the 100s. However, when it is a wetter, more moist period, the temperature will stay lower, in the 90s, but the heat index and humidity will be higher, still resulting in dangerous conditions. This can also lead to warmer nights than if the air were dry.
In our warming world, it is important to note that for every 1°F of temperature increase, the atmosphere can hold 4% more moisture, which means there’s more available to fall as rain or snow. While some areas are dealing with an increased frequency in flooding, others have experienced prolonged extreme droughts. California’s 2015 drought cost billions of dollars.
When it comes to the tropics, category 4 and 5 hurricanes have all increased in frequency since the 1980s. In fact, the past 4 years have had five category 5 hurricanes to hit the United States: Matthew (2016), Irma (2017), Maria (2017), Michael (2018), Dorian (2019). Hurricanes have also been trending slower along coasts, stalling, and dumping record amounts of rainfall, and the other impacts that come with a hurricane standing still. New research on the track of hurricanes suggests hurricanes are increasingly stalling over coastal regions and dumping record rainfall because of this. Two recent examples are 2017’s Hurricane Harvey over Texas and Hurricane Florence over the east coast in 2018. I’ll note again this research does not link attribution directly to anthropogenic climate change. Regardless, it is a real trend that coastal regions will need to plan for because the as the climate continues to warm, this trend is expected to continue.
This isn’t only in the Atlantic, either. The past decade has recorded most of the strongest tropical cyclones worldwide.
You have probably noticed, our seasons are changing, too. The first freeze of the year is happening later and the last frost is happening sooner. That means the growing season is longer while winter is getting shorter. And yes, we will still continue to have winter! It is just shorter and warmer. It will still feature winter weather extremes, too. Remember, more moisture in the atmosphere also means more snow.
Overall, the Midwest is expected to deal mainly with extreme heat, drought, heavy downpours and flooding that will affect infrastructure, health, agriculture, forestry, transportation, air and water quality, and more. I’ll be digging into these on future Show Me Climate segments.


This story is part of SHOW ME CLIMATE, an ongoing KOMU 8 series devoted to ethically explaining climate change without politics using fact-based data to deliver important information about our world and the Show-Me State.

Permalink| Comments