Joe’s Weather Blog: Severe weather risk today (TUE-2/28)

Good morning…very mild and somewhat humid for late FEB out there today with dew points near 60° out there as I type this weather blog. Those dew points will be coming down though this afternoon as strong winds aloft start mixing down drier air into the region. These strong winds combined with the dry ground and the mainly dormant and dried out vegetation means an enhanced risk of grass fires in the region. DON”T throw cigarette butts out the car window today. We’ve seen more than a few fires already this season…and IF we don’t start getting some rain soon…this problem will increase as March moves along.

Forecast:

Today: Mainly cloudy, with increasing SW winds gusting to 35 MPH this afternoon. Muggy in the morning (by FEB standards) but not as muggy this afternoon. Rain chances will begin this afternoon (fast and fleeting at best) but the better chances will be between 7-10 PM or so for an initial batch of storms to develop somewhere close to or on top of the KC area. Highs today should be in the mid 70s.

Tonight: Any leftover showers will wind down…a good part of the area may not see much significant rain. The bulk will come with the thunderstorms, so it’s either feast or famine. Lows dropping into the 30s

Wednesday: Morning clouds then clearing skies with highs right back up to near 50°

Discussion:

Well yesterday I took a chance…I mowed to even out the grass and trim off the excess top growth…then I put down some fertilizer. That needs to get watered in and since I live on the south side of the metro…I thought I had a slightly better chance of getting a good drink from Mother Nature. I noticed a few things…1) our Pear tree should be blossoming by the end of the weekend (especially with the warmer weather returning) and 2) like you know…it’s getting dry and dusty out there.

So let’s start with radar…because while the vast majority of the day should be dry (aside from maybe a fleeting fast moving shower coming up from the southwest) this evening should be a different story.

Here is what I’m watching today…it’s the progress of s cold front moving towards the south. The front just basically is separating the warm and moist gulf air from the more seasonable (at best) late February air in the Plains.

sfc

8AM surface map

The moisture, denoted by the dew points in the 50s/60s is streaming northwards this morning. Clouds are rather extensive in the region as well. There may be a small disturbance towards southern KS moving NEwards. It’s NOT out the question that some isolated and fast moving showers could develop before lunch to the SW of here and affect a few of us early this afternoon…rain amounts will be minor at best with that.

While the dew points are unseasonably high this morning…the air just a few thousand feet above us is VERY dry right now. When the winds start to pick up this morning….and the air from the ground up gets stirred up and mixed up…this drier air will quickly work towards the ground. That should the the high AM dew points crashing downwards as the atmosphere (mixes) so you will feel less humid conditions in the afternoon. This complicates the storm development for the KC and north area this evening because the dew points will be considerably lower this afternoon than now…and we need those dew points and the front to get together at the right time for storms.

The thing is, this mixing will fade this evening…about the time the front will be in the area…so the dew points may try and come up just as the front is moving through. Where exactly this happens is critical…and the model data suggests the highest chance of this happening is from around the I-35 corridor SEwards and eastwards. You can see how a 1 or 2 county shift either way will be impactful. IF you want the rain…you want that shift to be northwestwards just a hair so that you have a better chance of getting moisture.

With this thunderstorm formation comes the risk of severe storms. I don’t think this is a big event for our area…but some low end severe weather (60 MPH winds…perhaps some hail) certainly can’t be ruled out and I like the AM forecast from the SPC regarding these ideas.

Notice that yellow region…that is the slight risk of severe weather. You can see the folks at the SPC think that things may come together better towards central and eastern MO. With that said…if you live in the Marshall>Sedalia>Clinton>Butler>Pleasanton>Garnett area and southwards…watch for these storms. Closer to KC, they may be developing on top of us…then strengthening as they move farther east.

The AM NAM model, is showing the same thing as what it showed yesterday. That is the higher CAPE values (better instability) just SE of the KC metro area…

nam_cape_mslp_kc_6

The map above is for 9PM tonight. The yellows and oranges represent some nice late FEB instability values. This instability will coincide with the fronts arrival. Just to remind you…a 1-2 county shift south or north will go a long ways in determining whether you get moisture from these storms or not.

 

nam_mslp_uv10m_kc_6

Map above is for 9PM

So there will be storms(!)…it’s a matter of their exact formation area. Here is the latest HRRR model showing the development. This model will auto-update through the day

Another area of rain will develop behind the front itself this evening towards north central KS and NW MO…I’m NOT confident how far south that will get towards the KC area. It may essentially mostly miss us…and it won’t last that long anyways before fading away before daybreak Wednesday. IF you live north of KC though you may get a little something from that later tonight and early WED.

From there I’m not very encouraged about the rain prospects for quite some time. Another super warm weekend is ahead…we’ll see a weak front come through on Monday and then quickly warm back up. So IF you miss out on some 1/4-1/2″ rain totals this evening…that may do it for another 10 days or so it appears. I’m confident that much of the area will NOT get more than 1/4″ from this…you’ll need the convection to get something really going.

So that’s where we stand…interesting weather today…not so much afterwards…meanwhile the blossoming trees etc..will keep on going. This weekend may again be in the 70s.

Our feature photo comes from Linda Crozier Miller

16864443_1358785357493950_526387995929716342_n

Have a great day and for areas from KC south and eastwards be Weather Aware after 7PM tonight.

Joe

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