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Heavy Rain Potential

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Good afternoon and Happy St Patrick’s Day. Temperatures as of this writing are edging close to 80° as I type this. The record is 82° set way back in 1894. Interestingly we’ve had some pretty decent weather for St Patrick’s Day lately. Last year we made it to 79° and in 2009 we made it to 80°. The coldest it’s been recently is back in 1998 when we made it to a chilly 40°.

Here are a couple of pictures I took as I was one of the folks from FOX 4 that was riding in a convertible for the journey. I don’t have a clue how many were there, but it seems to me at least that there was more than last year, and last year was jam packed. There were people everywhere, and how those folks are going to get out of there if they drove is beyond me. When I took these two pictures I was struck by the sea of green that everybody wore and the pretty white flowers on all the Bradford Pear trees along the route. The 1st picture is the back of MT”s head and Slugger from the KC Royals.

The next picture is looking the opposite way towards the rear. This was our view when I turned around. Say hello to Phil and Susan!

Finally there were people everywhere…one of the local establishments was making a mint I’m sure in the green beer sales.

So that was today. Yesterday I spent the day in the Northland at a seminar put together by MARC and involving bringing together folks from the NWS, the media, NOAA, local Emergency Management and various law enforcement/fire departments. The seminar was productive and was the 3rd I think in a series of seminars involving all these various agencies. The purpose is to try and share ideas, concerns and ways of communicating better with all the various entities that are out there.

My favorite part of the day was the 2nd talk which concerned the findings from a social scientist who studied the reactions and aftermath of the AL tornadoes last year. She had some interesting things to say, including the benefit and negativity of the siren system and other items of interest. One thing that was interesting was the fact that during the AL tornado outbreak, most people (72%) flip between all the TV stations during severe weather coverage and continue to flip throughout the event. I think deep down I knew this but it was interesting to hear the large number statistically. Also most people, despite having notice upwards of 30 minutes before a tornado threatens don’t get to shelter untill 2 minutes before the storm hits. This was discouraging. Many have tornado warning fatigue. In other words many stop paying attention after awhile because of false alarms. Something that I will start mentioning more is to recommend that you put your shoes on before you take shelter. We’ve discovered that many injuries occur AFTER the storm as people are trying to get out through the rubble. Also the value, when showing radar of using loops. People want to see the trajectory of the storm. Many TV stations use the time of arrival paths on radar. We do as well, however it was discovered that people look at the time and treat it as gospel. So that when a designated time arrives and no storm has moved in or through, they leave their shelter, only to find that the time may have been off by 5-15 minutes. It’s better for us to use a range of times in the arrival of the storm. For example, instead of saying the the storm will be in Overland Park @ 9:15, it’s better to say the storms will be in OP between 9:15 and 9:30. This takes into account various changes in the structure of the storm itself as well as changes in storm motion. I’ll be talking to the rest of the team about some of these findings and more over the next 2 weeks or so.

Here are a couple of pictures from the presentation. This is Kim Klockow from the University of OK showing us her findings.

OK, now that we’re gotten all that taken care of, let’s get into the weather. I can’t tell how close we came today to getting a stormy day. We’ve been on the lookout for a disturbance since the early part of the week to come through during the 1st part of our Saturday. Well it did, but with the exception of some KC sprinkles that was it. There were some showers in NE KS and south of the KC area, but we lucked out. The disturbance did in fact create a decent area of storms and heavy rainfall from the Lakes area through the St Louis region this AM and early PM. Here is radar from St Louis showing a decent rain heading their way. So essentially from Sedalia eastwards it got messy this AM and PM. That was very close indeed.

You can tell when the back side of the disturbance moved through by the amount of sunshine which came out on the back side of the clouds cover just about the time the parade started.

It continues to look more and more likely that rain is going to fall here for a good part of the next week, or at least the chance will certainly be there through Thursday I think. From Monday afternoon on, all bets are off concerning the timing of the rainfall. Regardless of the timing it looks like an, at times, heavy rain event for the region with amounts of 1-5″ possible for parts of the area. Here is the NAM forecast through Tuesday, with more on the way WED and THU.

The GFS and the EURO are on board as well…1st the EURO model.

and now the GFS…

The last two maps go up through 7AM WED. Both maps showing 1-3″ rainfall with higher totals not far away.

This is due to the western slow moving storm, that’s been responsible in part for our cray warm weather (more on that tomorrow) and now will gradually drop into the SW part of the country and then meander through the Southern Plains States and slowly perhaps move through MO. This means that not only will we deal with some waves of rain ahead of the storm, but we’ll also deal with the cold pocket associated with the storm itself. This means that we need to watch for afternoon convection WED/THU (if we get unstable enough with sunshine) that could produce some small hail. So the rain chances will likely linger through Thursday, although the activity WED/THU will be more scattered in nature.

The bottom line is IF you have Spring Break this week, and you didn’t have it last week, bummer. At least I’ll have something to talk about on the AM shows on MON-WED since KR will have a few days off.


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