It may not seem like it with so many recent days with temperatures in the 60s and 70s, but Thursday marks the beginning of December and the possibility of colder winter weather.
According to the National Weather Service in Kansas City, on average, Nov. 28 is the date of Kansas City’s first measurable snow (greater than 0.1 inch), but Missouri has passed that date without a single flurry. Sedalia-Pettis County Emergency Management Agency Director Dave Clippert said the warm fall weather has “been very strange this year” but that cooler temperatures are coming.
“We’re going to have some cold mornings over the next few days, but looks like highs in the 40s. Mornings will be down below freezing, Thursday may possibly be 29 (degrees). Not bitterly cold,” he said Tuesday afternoon. “After seven to 10 days information (for winter weather) gets hard to predict. I haven’t seen anything that says we’ll have a big arctic spell or anything this year, but there will probably something, but how brutal is still yet to be seen. I would’ve expected by this time we would’ve seen some flurries.”
Since those winter weather forecasts can change rapidly day-to-day or even hourly, it can be hard to predict the overall winter season, Clippert noted.
According to information provided by Clippert for Missouri Winter Weather Awareness Day on Nov. 16, “the long term 2016-17 Winter Weather Outlook gives a large swath of the middle U.S. equal chances for above normal, normal or below normal amounts of precipitation and equal chances for above normal, normal or below normal temperatures.”
Since exact winter forecasts are unknown at this point, Clippert emphasized the need for citizens to be prepared for any type of severe winter weather. He said many people’s biggest concern is losing power for days at a time due to a major ice storm or blizzard.
“Most people can get through a day or two, but three or five they’re running out of supplies,” Clippert said. “I always ask people to think if you were at home and lost power for two weeks, how are you going to keep warm, feed each other and have water, things that make life more comfortable.”
Clippert said propane heaters can be used inside to heat a room by powering it through an outdoor generator, but that people should be cautious when bringing a heater inside. He also advised to have extra blankets and food that can be eaten without being cooked. Other items suggested to have on hand include a first-aid kit, flashlights and batteries.
Drivers should also be prepared when traveling, especially during high travel times in December for the holiday season. Clippert suggests checking weather reports before leaving and letting someone know when you are leaving, when you expect to arrive and the route you are taking in case loved ones don’t hear from you. Drivers can check road conditions in advance on the Missouri Department of Transportation’s Traveler Info Map at traveler.modot.org/map.
“You should have a windshield scraper, extra water, extra food, like protein bars, just precautions like that, and make sure your car is winter ready,” Clippert added.
The Missouri Emergency Management Agency also reminds people to be aware of current weather forecasts and to understand the various terms used by NWS:
• Winter Storm Watch – Severe winter weather may affect your area within 12 to 48 hours.
• Winter Storm Warning – Severe winter weather is in the area or is imminent and could be life-threatening.
• Ice Storm Warnings – Ice accumulations of a quarter-inch or more are expected in your area.
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or on Twitter @NicoleRCooke.