Joe’s Weather Blog: Tornado Watch continues (THU-5/18)

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Good evening…see my previous blog for a forecast update for FRI>SUN. This blog will update the evening and overnight situation. A Tornado Watch continues through 10PM. As I type this…the worst storms are located from Topeka westwards. There has been some large hail on the west side of Topeka and there have been a couple of brief tornadoes and there are a couple hook echoes running around well west of the area.

Here is a look at the NWS radar from Pleasant Hill.

While that Tornado Watch continues…at this point there isn’t really anything to pinpoint severe weather concerns on. There is a warm front right along I-70 but when the NWS in Topeka sent up a balloon to profile the atmosphere…there was a small cap that was indicated…and perhaps that is one reason whey storms locally, have struggled so far (that’s a good thing).

Here is a look at regional radar…and again while there is severe weather west of the area…nothing at 7:15pm is immediately threatening the KC vicinity. There may be some scattered showers between now and 10PM though.

Now about the rain…yes we should get some…but odds are the rains towards central KS and OK will move through late tonight…towards and after 10PM or so (if not a bit later). some locally heavy downpours are certainly possible with that. We’ll also watch for some gusty winds from the storms too.

Tomorrow there will be a “recharging” of the atmosphere and that could create additional storm chances later in the day or tomorrow night with more heavy rains…hence the Flash Flood Watch in effect into Saturday morning.

Interesting to note…thus far, while there have been 15 tornado reports…it appears that the tornadoes sort of “struggled” today to really get going. It will be interesting to see some post storm looks into this. I wonder 1) storms really got going early…sometimes that’s not a good thing for prolific development…2) once they got going they became numerous in coverage and that means they were fighting for the best instability. 3) HIGH risk jinx…for whatever reason it seems this year has been a bit weird in the “high” risk scenarios. It’s important to note that HIGH risks typically denote areas where there will be more intense and longer tracked tornadoes. Here is the definition about HIGH risks.

“An area where a severe weather outbreak is expected from either numerous intense and long-tracked tornadoes or a long-lived derecho-producing thunderstorm complex that produces hurricane-force wind gusts and widespread damage. This risk is reserved for when high confidence exists in widespread coverage of severe weather with embedded instances of extreme severe (i.e., violent tornadoes or very damaging convective wind events).”

In my opinion today would NOT be considered (so far at least) an accurate HIGH risk play out of events. The high risk continues for a least a little while longer…we’ll see if it gets dropped (reduced) in the next update coming shortly

So to recap…isolated activity is expected over the next few hours for the KC metro…the better rain/storm chances will be later tonight…there is still a risk of some severe storms (winds mostly).

We’ll keep watching it for you.


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