Joe’s Weather Blog: Severe storm risks in the Plains including our region (THU-5/18)

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Good morning…there will be another weather update later this afternoon on the blog. I wanted to get something out earlier though considering the atmospheric set-up that is slowly evolving. In a nutshell…the initial concerns for severe weather will be way to the SW of the KC region…but this evening/overnight that concern will spread towards the KC region. There is a lot of moving parts to this…not only tonight but also Friday as well.


Rest of today: Variable clouds from KC southwards, with more sunshine north of KC into northern MO. Highs should approach 80°. More humid air will come towards the area from the south to the north later today into tonight. Winds won’t be bad…mainly under 10 MPH today. Great compared to yesterday’s 50 mph wind gusts.

Tonight: Storm chances will be increasing. There may be 2 waves of storms. One chance arrives between 8-11PM with a warm front that will be draped in the area. Those chances appear highest from KC region northwards at this point. Another chance would arrive with whatever happens with bigger storms out towards the central Plains moving this way overnight into early Friday AM. Both have the risk of bringing severe weather (mainly hail and wind). How one may affect the other though remains to be seen and will be figured out as the overnight evolves. Locally heavy rains are also likely, in excess of 1-2″ in spots. The 1st shot of storms in the mid evening time-frame will need to be watched perhaps more carefully because a warm front will be near the KC area…

Friday: Another iffy day. Not a rain out really but storm chances continue mostly overnight. Our severe risk is there too but some of it will be determined by what happens overnight and where. The best chances (assuming we’re worked over in the AM) would come tomorrow night into Saturday morning. Again heavy rains and strong winds/hail are the two main threats from the evening/overnight storms.

Saturday: There should be at least some AM rains…but we should be on a quick drying trend in the morning hours. Then gradual clearing and cooler with highs 65-70°

Sunday: Looks nice with highs in the lower 70s.

I don’t want to take too deep of a dive this morning into the complexities of our storms…that will come this afternoon in a 3-4PM blog update when I get to work. It’s looking like a late night though for KC meteorologists tracking the various chances of storms and severe weather.

Off the top though, the highest risk of really bad storms, including tornadoes that may be rather strong and longer tracked, appears to be well towards the SW and W of the KC vicinity. More towards central and southern KS and into OK. This is a seasonably favored area for severe weather in May. A rare high risk (4th of the season I think) has been issued for parts of the Plains region.

This area towards southern KS into OK is primed for storms to develop. There are still issues though even there with when the storms form…too early and the conditions in the atmosphere aren’t as set-up for the worst tornadoes…just right though with the storms and they could be nasty ones out there.

The 10 AM surface map…shows a warm front sharpening towards the south of the KC area. This will gradually retreat northwards later today into tonight and I feel it offers us at least a chance of seeing some storm development with it in the area…this will be chance #1 tonight. These storms will be monitored for hail and wind threats and a small tornado risk as well overnight, mainly after 9-10PM. Storms + warm fronts also bear watching.

Then we watch what happens in the southern reaches of KS on OK later today. That area will be more co-located with a surface storm, and a dry line (denoted by the more orange line). The dry line separates the drier air (lower dew points in green numbers above) and the thicker and juicier gulf air mass…denoted by the higher green numbers above, the 65 and 70+ dew point lines). The warm front will extend from this surface low…and you have to watch those areas like a hawk. Storms love to form along the dry lines and move NEwards…encounter the thick moisture…then get near the warm front where the wind shear is maximized because of the low level winds…and boom you get yourselves some big-time rotating storms.

That’s why the highest tornadic potential is in that region

30% hatched regions are eye-poppers. Although even the SPC has throw a few caution flags up about all this because of a few questions about clouds/instability and timing.

What develops out there would run towards us early Friday morning most likely. IF we don’t get storms before 12AM…then the storms coming in would have some good instability to work with so that the hail/wind threat would be higher with this. We’ll then monitor the location of the northward retreating warm front to see IF a storm can latch on to it to create an isolated tornado risk overnight. Like I said there are multiple moving parts to this potential even in the KC region

We should be somewhat worked over Friday, although clouds may hang on and cooler winds should prevail. Then more storms fire out west and roll our way into Saturday early morning. We’ll deal with that in tomorrow’s blog.

That’s it for now…again another blog update coming this afternoon


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