Joe’s Weather Blog: Severe weather update in KC (FRI-4/24)
I will update this blog again around 3-4PM or so as the afternoon unfolds but there were significant changes to the data overnight and not surprisingly the data is pointing towards severe weather, perhaps I should write the worst of the severe weather chances, being higher well west of KC. The blog yesterday highlighted several concerns I had about the scenario unfolding including a lack of moisture and various other aspects of this…and it appears the models have a better clue now.
Forecast: (updated at 3PM)
Tonight: Whatever happens out west will eventually get here. So the storm risk goes up overnight. The main threats at this point appear to be hail and strong winds. How far this threat extends south is a question, There appears to be better chances across areas from KC northwards before 12AM and then from KC southwards afterwards. Lows tonight near 55-60°.
Tomorrow: Any rain will wind down in the morning. Clouds may be slow to really clear out however. Highs may be in the 60s but temperatures will be steady or falling slightly in the afternoon (perhaps into the mid 50s).
Sunday: Clearing skies and pleasant with highs in the 60s. east winds of 15-25 mph possible so a breezy day
Discussion: (updated at 3PM)
Good afternoon…so we’re really stuck in the clouds at this point and we’re not going to really break out for the rest of the afternoon so our instability is marginal to really little at this point and that really won’t change through the early evening. I’ve been asked about later afternoon and evening plans and I think you’ll be in pretty good shape from KC southwards. Areas across NE KS and NW MO however will need to monitor what happens out to the west towards central KS. Whatever develops out there will be moving ENEwards it appears. Now how well it holds together as it encounters the more stable air mass in NE KS is a question and while there is a certainly more of a tornadic threat way towards the west of the KC area (central KS near the I-70 corridor towards Hayes and Salina) that specific threat will be reduced when the storms encounter the more stable air closer to home.
The latest from the SPC (Storm Prediction Center) has actually pushed the main concern a bit farther to the west.
There are still things about this whole set-up that don’t seem right to me pertaining to the risk of severe storms in the KC area.
Some of our hi-res models are rather bullish with storms very close to here in the mid evening hours…however at least one of the (HRRR model) also thinks we’re going to be in the mid 70s this afternoon.
I’ll post the model data because I think it will self-correct somewhat when it realizes when won’t be in the mid 70s (we’re barely 60° at 2PM).
The 2PM surface map is sort of a mess with a double warm-front set up through the Plains into the southern Plains…
The surface low that I’m watching is way out towards Dodge City. Drier air is moving through SW KS and W OK and W TX. Dewpoints there are on there way down with strong SW winds of 30-40 MPH cranking away.
Meanwhile some decent surface moisture is working up the I-35 corridor from Dallas through Oklahoma City and into SC KS.
This moisture should help fuel storms across central KS later this afternoon and evening. The position of that warm front may help allow some of the storms achieve some rotational aspects out in C KS. Then as the storms work ENEwards they will go well north of the warm front and become what we refer to as “elevated”. This means the storms aren’t really sucking in the instability that is closer to the ground and instead are relying on the instability farther up in the atmosphere. When this happens the storms can still produce large hail and potentially produce stronger winds. The tornadic potential typically drops to near 0 after this occurs.
Here are the latest watches that are in effect.
A Tornado Watch may well be issued for parts of central KS in the next hour or so.
When you look at the satellite pictures out there you can see how the clouds are breaking up and with that sunshine across central KS the instability will be increasing.
I’ve updated the “forecast” aspect of the blog above…to reflect my thinking about how things should evolve overnight tonight.
There may be another add-on tot he blog this evening at some point.
Once again the data (like a couple of weeks ago) has several parameters that are favorable for severe weather and rotating thunderstorms. This almost always means that forecasters need to pay extra attention to the evolving weather in the region…and today (mainly tonight in KC) will be no exception to that. The main parameter that’s real favorable for nastier storms is the ability of the air, in a broader scale, due to shear, to allow storms to be strong to severe. The shear is both in the way the winds increase from the surface up to about 10-15,000 feet and also the way the wind is blowing from the surface, mainly out of the southeast, and higher up…mainly out of the southwest. That type of turning is called a veering wind. It’s a favorable component for severe thunderstorms.
With that said there are also quite a few ingredients that are not coming together. The expected cloud cover is here and the expected showers before lunch that I wrote about yesterday are effecting parts of the viewing area (especially the I-35 corridor), These factors will contribute heavily to reducing the overall instability along the state line (and eastwards). Our surface moisture is poor right now but the showers in the area will help to moisten things up a bit. With the reduced instability and a lack of focus in our area the risk of severe storms is minimal to none through early this evening in my opinion. Even should we get some sunshine this afternoon (not out of the question)…we’ll have a difficult time firing off new storms in the area. So don’t immediately think that seeing sunshine automatically means bad storms later today.
Various other parameters are not lining up for severe thunderstorms to erupt here…although those same parameters are lining up better out across central and southern KS later this afternoon and tonight. What I think is going to happen is that storms develop out towards central KS somewhere and then moves towards the ENE this evening and overnight. So In my opinion the higher chances of storms in the KC region will be well after sunset tonight through 4AM or so. That would be the time period that we need to watch for the potential of some severe weather. Again I’m not discounting the threat of severe storms overall…I just feel that the better chance of anything happening would be much later rather than earlier at this point. Also the higher risks would be hail/wind.
The SPC came out with their 8AM update and it too is focusing more concern towards the west of the KC area.
The somewhat higher chance of tornadic storms…
One thing to track during the course of the day is the cloud cover. As I write this there is a bunch of it in the region and the clouds are pretty much moving from the SW to the NE.
So this overall appears to be a situation where we may just have to wait till later this evening to fully see how things are developing. An early look at the new NAM model that just came out really doesn’t have much happening around the KC area through 10PM tonight or so. It locates a warm front north towards 36 highway later tonight. It appears that we also may be somewhat capped as well (another ingredient not favorable for severe storms).
IF I were go go out chasing today…I’d probably head towards Salina with the expectation of heading north towards Concordia and eastwards as the evening plays out.
One thing that also has changed compared to yesterday is that the slower play-out of the events in question does mean we should at least have some better surface moisture in place this evening and overnight.
So to recap…higher risks of severe weather this afternoon is out towards the west of KC. Higher risks of severe weather this evening will be in NE KS and NW MO and the somewhat higher severe weather risk for KC will be near or after 11PM or so. This obviously can change but it’s my early feeling at this point.
The bottom line to to be weather aware tonight especially in the KC region and to pay attention to what will be a changing scenario as the various players in the atmosphere try to line up. How well they play together is still a large question.
Again another update coming later this afternoon.