A long duration winter storm brought a mixture of freezing drizzle, sleet and snow to the region this past weekend. This storm system also brought some of the coldest air ever experienced during March into the region. At one point during Saturday night, a 50 degree temperature gradient was observed across the state of Missouri. Unfortunately, once the cold air arrived, temperatures on Sunday would only climb into the single digits, breaking a record for the coldest daytime high every recorded for Kansas City in March. Overnight low temperatures will also fall below zero in many spots, marking only the 8 occurrance of below zero temperatures in Kansas City during March with records dating back to 1889.
This storm system proved very difficult to forecast, with initial snow forecasts calling for a long duration heavy snowfall over eastern Kansas and northern Missouri. Despite the very cold air at the surface, it was a warm layer of air 8,000 ft above the ground which proved the difference and lowered snow amounts dramatically for some. This warm layer of air became apparent as the storm was underway Saturday night. Effectively, falling snow reached this layer of above freezing air and melted. As the melted liquid continued to fall to the ground, it ran into a very cold layer of air causing it to refreeze into ice pellets. This warm layer never reached northern Missouri, and the result was 3 to 5 inches of snowfall, further south however, sleet accumulations up to an inch were common with snow totals of 1 to 3".
A secondary area of snow moved into the area Sunday morning, with a bit of sleet continuing to mix in. However, most locations received an additional 1 to 3" of snow by Sunday afternoon. Here is a map showing the total snow/sleet accumulations across the area through Sunday afternoon: