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Joe’s Weather Blog: Severe T/Storm Watch Till 10PM

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If you read yesterday’s blog, the lack of convection this AM should not be surprising…at this point there aren’t any real focusing mechanisms to get storms to form + there still still a rather significant cap on the atmosphere…this will change though later today. Details on the latest Severe Thunderstorm Watch are in the discussion.

Forecast:

This evening (4:15 update): A Severe Thunderstorm Watch is in effect for most of the region through 10PM. As of this writing storms are forming in NE KS and moving NE/NNEwards. We’ll be watching for additional development farther south. Those storms would be the ones to get us. The window appears to be 7PM-11PM or so. At this point the activity looks to move along at a pretty decent clip limiting anything more than brief heavy rainfall. Hail/winds appear to be the main threats.

Tomorrow: Rain moves away near daybreak…then skies should slowly clear out. Highs should be near 70°. Should be a nice afternoon.

Discussion:

4:15 Update: The SPC has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for a good chunk of the area through 10PM tonight. Storms are firing in NE KS and moving NEwards. For the KC metro to get storms, we’ll need to get activity farther south towards Emporia. Here is an outline of the WATCH that is in effect.

 

If you remember this morning I was wondering whether we’d clear out a bit after the wave in OK moved through after lunch. That has indeed happened with 4PM temperatures now 80-85°…so we’re getting more and more unstable. The cold front is now west of Topeka and slowly pressing eastwards.

The timeline for storms in the KC area really hasn’t changed. Still looking at roughly 7 or 8PM till about 10-11PM. The initial storms in NE KS are not exactly going gangbusters at this writing, and they’ve been going for about an hour+ or so.

We’ll continue to monitor the situation for early this evening.

Joe

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

So for a storm that has been talked about for over a week as being our next weather maker in the KC region…we’re still wondering, in a way, exactly how things will play out today. The morning soundings show a pretty healthy cap still in place. We talk about the “cap” often during this time of the year…it represents a warmer layer of air somewhere above us…usually between 5-12,000 feet up…what happens is that as rising air bangs up against the cap or lid…it stops rising…hence decent convection can’t really get going, unless the storms form above the cap level (which does happen). The cap needs to weaken and/or disappear to at least have the chance of getting some stronger storms. That won’t happen till later today.

Then the next step is how unstable will it be later today. As we look a the satellite picture this morning and as you look outside your window…you see a lot of gray skies…

 

The “train” of clouds is moving towards the NNE and goes all the way into E TX…not exactly a picture in getting sunshine to heat things up. With out the heating in play, instability is lacking this AM and may also be lacking for awhile this afternoon.

There is also a disturbance in OK moving to wards the NNE. Radar shows it and we’ll need to see how it holds together as it encounters the more stable air on top of the region this morning.

 

Above is the regional radar…below is the NWS radar from Pleasant Hill.

 

Both the animations above should update throughout the day for you so you always have the latest information automatically.

So with instability questions later one has to wonder how much “storminess” we may actually get through 6PM today. Let’s use the HRRR model as a tool to track what happens over the next 12 hours or so…

 

What I’ll be interested in seeing is should the wave in OK this AM move through, will it allow the clouds to break up after it’s passage as some stable air moves in behind it? Should that occur we then may start seeing sunshine and start to get the atmosphere churning a bit.

As this happens (or doesn’t) I’ll be watching the cold front/dry line off towards the west of the region. This will start moving closer to us later today and should move through by 12AM (through the I-35 corridor) if not a few hours earlier.

The morning surface map shows the front still well west of the region…and a surface low in NC KS that will be moving NEwards during the day. As this surface low moves into the upper Midwest, it should promote the potential of more rotating storms…this feature later today will be approaching the MN/IA border area.

sfc

So let’s wrap all this up. At this point I see small chances of any severe weather through 6PM in the KC area (if not 8PM). Later today we’ll be watching for enough instability to fire up storms. Our short term models are not exactly overwhelming with this potential but it’s May…there’s a cold front moving in, we have dewpoints in the 60s, and the air is pretty juicy overall with moisture…there are certainly ingredients there for storms. So after the lunch time weather moves through, we may be waiting until this evening for the risk of any stronger storms.

Our short term models are also crazy hot today…with both the RAP model and the HRRR model both bring our highs up to near 90°. That is NOT going to happen with all the clouds in play and the potential for late AM/early PM rain/t-storms moving through. So my faith in what these models are cranking out, when it comes to convection is not exactly the highest right now. When they play up (over exaggerate) the surface heating they typically overdo the instability.

That’s it for now…I’ll post another update near lunch, if necessary, then again later this afternoon (after 4PM).

Joe

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