A strong winter storm rolled across the Central Plains Wednesday and Thursday. Maps of snowfall totals from the storm are available below. Click to enlarge.
Snow Totals December 7-8, 2005 - Contours (Click to Enlarge) Snow Totals December 7-8, 2005 - Plot (Click to enlarge)
Snowfall Totals December 7-8, 2005 (Click to Enlarge)
Late Tuesday and early Wednesday a potent upper level low began to develop across Wyoming and western Nebraska. Out ahead of the upper level low this created a conveyor belt of "warm" moist air across eastern Kansas and western Missouri. As this moist air was lifted across the central plains snow began to spread northeast through southeast Kansas early Wednesday

By sunrise Wednesday morning an inch or two of snow had already fallen in Emporia Kansas, with a dusting across areas from Mound City Kansas and Butler Missouri north through Olathe and Pleasant Hill. The snow slowly spread north and east through morning hours, reaching areas in an arc form St. Joseph to Sedalia before noon. Despite the fact that snow fell across locations along the Kansas and Missouri state line all day, snowfall totals by Wednesday evening were only ranging form 2 to 4 inches. Yet more was still to come.

Snow continued into the Wednesday night hours as the upper level storm system began to move east across Nebraska. As this occurred, bands of more intense snow moved northeast out of Oklahoma through southeast Kansas and into west central Missouri. Anecdotal observations from staff at the office and other trained spotters placed occasional snowfall rates around one inch per hour during the peak of the snow event in Kansas City Wednesday night.

By Thursday morning dry air was wrapping in under the upper level storm system across eastern Kansas and western Missouri, shifting the falling snow east. By noon all but occasional flurries had exited the Pleasant Hill forecast area.

This is the first widespread snow event for areas across eastern Kansas through central Missouri this winter, and is the first event to bring this much snow to such a wide area in many years. The Kansas City International Airport saw a new daily snowfall record set for that day when it recorded 7.3 inches of snow for the 24 hours starting from midnight Wednesday 7th , with the event totaling 8.3 inches by the morning of the 8th. However, some cooperative observers across Kansas City and east central Kansas saw reports of 24 hour snow accumulations of 10.8 inches (in Olathe) and 11.5 inches (in Watts Mill).

The arctic air mass across the central plains made this snowfall event very unique for eastern Kansas and Missouri. Normally, temperatures across the area would be running in the 20s or lower 30s as the snow fell; and snow to liquid ratios (a measure how many inches of liquid can be melted out of the snow that fell) would be running from 12 or 13 to 1. However, these bitterly cold temperatures made the snow that fell very "dry", leading to snow to liquid ratios around 20 or 23 to 1 for the event. These ratios are far more typical of a snow event across the northern plains of the Dakotas.

Another factor to note about this storm was its length. Many areas, especially across east central Kansas and west central Missouri around Kansas City, saw snow almost continually fall for 24 hours.

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