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Kansas City Meteorologist Gary Lezak Says This Awful Winter May Mean A Less-Awful Summer

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Gary Lezak
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41 Action News Chief Meteorologist measures the snow with his dog Sunny.

Meteorologist Gary Lezak won’t quite say that the groundhog is full of it. But more than a month ago, Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow, meaning that we’d have an early spring.

"The groundhog made a big mistake this year. He thought winter was over," Lezak says.

The good news is that Lezak doesn't think the Kansas City Metro will see snow on the day of the Royals' home opener, which is March 28.

The bad news is that the area is locked into a weather cycle that could keep Kansas Citians pretty chilly most likely into May, and it’ll be a cooler summer as well.

Fortunately, the Chief Meteorologist of 41 Action News has a more reliable method for predicting weather than looking for his shadow.

"We use my Cycling Pattern Hypothesis," he says.

When this model accurately predicted Tropical Storm Gordon in September, it scored Lezak an invitation to the Meteorological Technology World Expo in Geneva, Switzerland, in June.

It sounds simple — and he’s used it since 1987 — but it’s still a big deal.

Here’s how it works: Weather patterns set up in October or November then cycle back every seven weeks for a year.

"So the storm we just had will be back around April 20," Lezak says. "We're not going to break out of this pattern. The pattern will continue right on into the summer and early next fall until the new pattern sets up."

Despite word on the street, this winter has not been the worst ever. Lezak says the record for snowfall goes to the winter of 1911-1912, which saw nearly 68 inches of snow. This year, the metro has had only 29 inches so far, though that has been spread over 40 days of snowstorms.

"I would say there have been worse winters, but here's a stat for you, one thing that has never happened before," he says. "From November 1 through February, for the first time in Kansas City history, we did not hit 65 degrees once."

Normally Kansas City sees about nine winter days of 65-degree weather.

One more thing.

"There's not gonna be a spring this year," Lezak says. Then he quickly adds: "I’m just kidding."

Gary Lezak spoke to KCUR on Tuesday's edition of Central Standard. Listen to the full conversation here.

Follow KCUR contributor Anne Kniggendorf on Twitter, @annekniggendorf.

Anne Kniggendorf is a staff writer/editor at the Kansas City Public Library and freelance contributor to KCUR. Follow her on Twitter, @annekniggendorf.
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