UPDATE: Sunday blizzard arrives

11 months 2 weeks 2 days ago Sunday, November 25 2018 Nov 25, 2018 Sunday, November 25, 2018 2:25:00 PM CST November 25, 2018 in Top Stories
By: Kenton Gewecke, KOMU 8 Chief Meteorologist
This will lead to whiteout conditions.

FINAL UPDATE: The system is dissipating and will exit between midnight-3am Monday morning. Winds will still be breezy and wind chills will dip into the single digits on Monday morning.

You can view the MoDOT road map here.

Stay up to date with the latest forecast, video updates, live streaming newscasts, and interactive radar plus live traffic grids on the KOMU 8 Weather & Traffic App.

SUNDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Areas in NW MO and NE Kansas have already been experiencing Blizzard conditions, including zero visibility. KCI airport has shut down air travel. There have also been reports of brief power outages. The blizzard warning now includes Boone, Audrain and Moniteau counties, and continues for areas NW. You can see updated timing below and in the video above. 

The forecast remains on track. The hardest hit area in Missouri will still be northwestern and northern Missouri. However, due to winds that are anticipated to gust between 40-45 mph, everyone seeing snow will experience reduced visibility. The farther north and west you go, the worse the visibility and the road conditions will be. Please do not view lower snow accumulations as safe driving conditions...every area seeing snow will experience dangerous driving conditions. 

TIMING UPDATE

*See the video above to view an hour-by-hour track.*

NW MO will start seeing rain between 4am-6am. This will transition to snow between 6am-Noon and all of NW MO is expected to be under moderate to heavy snowfall by Noon. 

West of Highway 63: Will see rain by mid morning. This will change to snow between 2pm-5pm.

East of Highway 63: Rain by midday. This will change over to snow between 4pm-7pm. 

Snow should exit east of Missouri by 5am Monday.  

Travel is still not advised during this event.

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FRIDAY UPDATE: Most of the forecast has not changed from Thursday. What continues to remain the story is heavy snow and strong winds leading to whiteout conditions north of I-70, getting worst the further north you go. This system can still track further north or south, so please stay tuned.

As for timing, it looks to begin between 6-9am in western Missouri and begin by Noon for eastern Missouri. It will continue through the afternoon and exit to the east in the evening. 

As you can see in the image, I-70 travelers will need to use caution, and certainly stay tuned in case this system tracks further south, but overall it looks doable at this point. North of I-70, however, it gets tricky. If you want to be safe, for sure, I suggest driving on Saturday when the sun is shining and the winds aren't an issue. 

-----ORIGINAL POST-----

COLUMBIA - As Thanksgiving weekend comes to a close, Sunday is typically the busiest travel day on roadways as families return home and college students head back to school. This year, the busiest travel day may be the worst weather day to travel in.

WHAT'S HAPPENING?

On Sunday, a deepening (strengthening) low pressure system will push through the state of Missouri. This will cause a few different things to happen. First, temps will be warm enough in front of this system that as moisture gets going, precipitation will start to fall as rain. Then, a cold front will push through and temperatures will rapidly fall below freezing as moisture hangs on, changing the rain into snow. Any sleet that falls during this transition will be brief and negligible. 

The first thing you may think to ask is, "How much will accumulate?" However, the real question should be, "How strong will the winds be?" Because of this deepening low, winds will be rather strong, gusting up to 40+ mph as the snow passes through. This will, of course, lead to decreased (if not white-out at times) conditions. Visibility will be worse where the snow falls heaviest; which takes me back to the first question.

Accumulation will be greatest where the heaviest snow falls, which may seem obvious, but this is especially true in this situation because soil temperatures will be warm due to recent mild weather. Light and even moderate snow will likely melt fairly well on these warmer ground temps, however, if snow falls fast enough, the melting won't keep up, and snow will accumulate. This accumulation will first happen on bridges, because they don't have soil temps to keep them warmer than the air temperature. Other grassy, elevated, and insulated surfaces will also see accumulation first.

WHERE WILL THE HEAVIEST SNOW FALL?

First, please note that this system is just starting to get off the Pacific Ocean and is still developing. There is a lot that can change between now and when this system arrives in our backyard. With that said, the heaviest snow is most likely to fall in northern Missouri and southern Iowa. Snow is still likely to make it to I-70 and as far south as the Lake of the Ozarks (and remember blowing snow is a main factor in this event, so even if you aren't seeing the MOST snow, you are still going to have impacts). 

I will say that it won't surprise me one bit if this system changes its track over the next couple days; whether that be further north or further south. This is why I need you to stay tuned. 

Our forecast confidence for this winter storm is high when it comes to timing and intensity. Confidence is still low to moderate when it comes to the path, it could still go slightly north or south, rapidly changing the situation for thousands. Again, this system is still getting its act together on the Pacific coast, please stay tuned. 

KENTON, WHEN SHOULD I TRAVEL?

I'll tell you what I am telling my family, word-for-word: "I feel more comfortable if you would travel back home on Saturday instead of Sunday. Then no one has to stress about 'will-it-or-won't-it.' I'd rather you be safe than sorry. If you decide to wait it out and see what it looks like on Sunday, please be prepared to take Monday off work and travel then instead of during this event. I do not want you on the roads when visibility is low, roads may be slick, and other drivers may not be competent drivers in these winter conditions."

If you HAVE to travel through north or north-central Missouri on Sunday then stay tuned. The timing, location, and strength of this system are still to be decided and there will likely be a better window to travel on Sunday than other times of the day. 

Stay up to date with the latest forecast, video updates, live streaming newscasts, and interactive radar plus live traffic grids on the KOMU 8 Weather & Traffic App.

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