Joe’s Weather Blog: Getting warmer with storm chances (WED-4/20)

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Good afternoon. A pretty typical spring day out there as the rain as come to an end. There still could be an isolated shower out there somewhere this afternoon but the chances for any one spot getting and rain is <20%. The forecast has warmer weather on tap heading towards the weekend.

Forecast:

Tonight: Partly cloudy skies. There may be some fog developing towards daybreak. Lows down into the upper 40s

Thursday: Variable clouds and seasonable. There could be some scattered showers out there at any time, but perhaps a slightly better chance (20%) for any one spot, in the afternoon as we warm top near 70°. NW winds 10-20 MPH

Friday: More sunshine and pleasant with highs in the 70s. North winds 5-15 MPH.

Discussion:

It’s really feeling like spring out there. Tree pollen are through the roof again today and the grass is really getting green now after a good soaking drink from Mother Nature over the past couple of days.

Rainfall amounts via the Overland Park Stormwatch site show that the 2 day totals were in the 3/4″ to 1 1/4″ range for the vast majority of the KC area.

Capture

Capture1

 

This storm, as you may remember produced a ton of snow out in the Rockies. They were still getting snow there yesterday as a matter of fact. Some of the ski resorts will be open for quite some time into the spring because of all the snow they’ve received. the history of the storm over the last 5 days does show though when the effects of the storm approached KC the moisture slowly faded which was expected.

nws_precip_conus2_10

5 day rain and melted snow totals

You can use your imagination and see how the rains moved from the south and southwest to the north and north east…then areas towards OK/TX where the rains moved more west to east.

The storm is still very well seen spinning around in the upper levels of the atmosphere and also at the surface. Here is the water vapor loop…can you spot the storm?

At the surface…can you see the reflection with the surface winds?

Here’s a hint…look towards the I-80 corridor…NE of Omaha, NE.

The storm will be moving towards Des Moines 1st thing Thursday morning then towards Indianapolis Friday morning. As it moves farther away it’s effects here will lessen quite a bit.

There are still little waves rotating around the system and there still could be showers tomorrow, especially from KC northeastwards where the air aloft is still a bit on the cool side. We talked about this in an earlier blog…the “cooler” air above us contrasted to the warmer surface temperatures, or even the warmer temperatures immediately below the cooler temperatures (if that makes sense). Anyway it has to do with “lapse rates” and when the air is more bouyant (larger lapse rates [bigger temperature differences] {warm>cold}) the air rises with more vigor. This creates building cumulus clouds that can turn into showers or even thunderstorms (cumulonimbus clouds). Long story short…there may be some spotty activity.

As I mentioned in the title of the blog…there will be warmer days coming. As this current storm system moves away…the late April sunshine will start to heat things up again. I wanted to show the the progression of the warmth into the weekend. Another cold front is due sometime later Sunday or early Monday dropping temperatures a bit.

The images above are via WeatherBell and they show the temperatures in °C a few thousand feet or so above the ground locally. Notice out into the western Plains, where the elevation is over 3500’…the temperatures are into the well into the 30s C which equates to roughly near 85-90°!

So yes it will be getting warmer in the KC area over the weekend.

The next issue will be a cold front heading towards the region on Sunday. How closer the storm initiation occurs will sort of determine the severe weather risk with the front. Should storms form close enough to the KC area…there could be some hailers/strong winds with the storms…something that I’ll be watching. Should this occur much farther west…then by the time the storms got here overnight SUN…they would be in a weakened state. The Storm Prediction Center doesn’t seem to thrilled with our situation locally…but I think it’s something to pay attention too.

Finally on this Wednesday blog…yesterday saw something called a landspout develop towards east-central MO. This occurred near the small town of Laddonia, MO about 85 miles NW of St Louis.

So what’s the difference between a landspout and a tornado?

It’s a bit complicated, but landspouts form without an association of a mesocyclone or pre-existing rotation in the cloud.

In some ways there are like waterspouts in other, perhaps more tropical parts of the country. They’re sort of like the ugly sisters of tornadoes. Sort of the same but weaker. They are typically smoother than a tornado (which can have a more ragged appearance sometimes). They are usually small and weak. since their rotation doesn’t extend up into the cloud body itself, they are rarely detected using radar. Usually it’s a spotter calling in something.

They develop because of a process called “vertical stretching”. Think of a horizontal tube in 3D rotating around…then with the cloud above created by rising air…this tube ends up under the rising air motion. It then stretches vertically and now we have a vertical tube rotating and hence the potential of a landspout. The updrafts have to be pretty strong to have this phenomena occur and the region of rotation is so close to the ground that when they are any distance of note away from the radar, the radar beam simply goes over this area of rotation therefore never “seeing” it.

Anyway something interesting to write about!

Joe

 

 

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