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Joe’s Weather Blog: Two more days then a small break (THU-7/20)

As I type this blog, temperatures have popped into the mid-upper 90s with a heat index surging to near 110° in spots around the KC region. It’s pretty stifling out there but there is some good news…a “cold” front will enter the picture later Saturday into Sunday AM and perhaps provide 1) some rain/storms and 2) a bit of relief from the more “extreme” heat that has settled into the region. Until then it’s blazing as we try and hit 100° officially in KC. Could happen FRI or SAT…it will be close!


Forecast:

Tonight: Fair and sultry with lows in the 70s

Friday: Mostly sunny and scorching. More or less a repeat of today with highs 95-100°

Saturday: Sunny initially then partly cloudy in the afternoon with a chance of thunderstorms developing later in the day and night. Highs in the upper 90s to lower 100s ahead of a cold front

Sunday: Partly cloudy and not as extreme with highs still in the 90s though. There will still be some real mugginess in the air though…north winds behind the front will actually be bringing in moist air thanks to all the evaporating moisture from the corn crop up towards N MO and especially IA.


Discussion:

Oh my goodness…it’s a sauna out there. At 2PM KCI is reporting 95° with a heat index popping to almost 108° thanks to dew points in the mid 70s. Downtown KC is a notch or two higher.

On Tuesday I wrote extensively about the climatology of the KC area seeing 100° temperatures…I got a very thoughtful email back from Alex Hoffman who wanted to contribute some additional information regarding the specifics for the Olathe area.

“Hi Joe,

On a kinda-sorta-maybe not-related note to your blog entry, I usually check the temperatures at every local reporting station except downtown: Johnson County Executive Airport, New Century, Lee’s Summit Municipal, and KCI. Yesterday marked the fourth day in a row that every location except Johnson County Executive reached 90 degrees or higher. Here’s the temperature breakdown in the order in which I presented them:

7/15: 88, 90, 90, 90
7/16: 88, 90, 90, 92
7/17: 89, 92, 93, 92
7/18: 88, 91, 91, 92

This is a trend that I’ve noticed for several years. The other three locations tend to corroborate nicely with each other. Johnson County Executive seems to represent the bare minimum a temperature reaches in the Kansas City metro area, especially in uniformly warm atmospheres like the one we’re in. It has been more than 91 degrees exactly once there (July 12) the entire summer, which just seems bizarre to me. If my math is correct, here’s the number of 90-degree days this summer at each location as of today:

New Century: 20
Lee’s Summit: 20
KCI: 16
Johnson County Executive: 8

It’s one of those Kansas City weather curiosities that I have. Why is it always cooler there, sometimes demonstrably so? Is it locational, just a place that skews cooler? Is it measuring error? This has probably been something you’ve known already, but I’m interested in the reason.”

end email

Basically he’s curious about the lack of 90s at JOCO Executive airport. My thoughts are that there are land-use issues there, perhaps compared to other areas. That immediate area is surrounded by farm/pasture lands and very little pavement. I’m not totally sure where the specific location of the weather instruments are for that specific area but it may be a factor. With the farm/pasture land being in abundance there, perhaps compared to others, that would also on a more micro scale potentially increase the dew point a bit more…higher dew point air will keep the temperature down a bit compared to lower dew point air. It would be an interesting study though. I’m sure prevailing wind direction as well may platy a role in this too.

Anyway…back to the heat.

As of 2PM today temperatures (shown in red below are over 100° for areas off towards the west of KC. Salina is at 105°.

If you wonder why it can get a lot hotter out there…notice the dew point in Salina…65° compared to the dew point in the KC area…upper 70s. Dry air heats up more efficiently than moist air does…also there is a matter of the terrain (greenness) out there compared to here…

The “greener” the land…correlates to more evaporation from the ground given equal amounts of sunshine…factoring in evapotranspiration  (moisture seeping out of the plants/flowers/grass + the ground etc) raises the local dew points and can create a less efficient air mass to heat up to it’s fullest potential compared to a drier and more barren landscape.

Friday looks to be about a repeat of today. On Saturday the air mass over us will be about 1-2° warmer…so IF we get to 100° @KCI it may be on Saturday…but then again I suspect we may fall JUST short of the century mark. Regardless…98°…99°…101°…it’s all about the same.

Rain chances are there with a cold front entering the picture. Not the greatest set-up but will all the heat that will be out there…with dew points in the 70s…I can’t imagine that there won’t be something on radar, and with the relatively slow movement of whatever forms and a VERY saturated air mass (from the ground upwards) I can see a way that we get something similar in spots to what happened last Thursday evening when parts of the area had over 2″ of rain in a few hours. Something to be aware of for later Saturday into Sunday early AM.

The winds behind the front will be from the north. Depending on what happens with the convection overnight on Saturday, the more the better for giving us a heat and ew point break on Sunday, but IF the convection is more spotty and not as widespread then the air behind the front won’t really show a huge difference in moisture content. That basically means that the air may be about 5-10° less hot BUT still be VERY sultry. So sure there is a break technically but it may still FEEL pretty nasty even on Sunday with heat indices around 100°

Rain chances on Sunday don’t look too great around KC proper. There could be some lingering stuff during the morning…but IF there is more activity it might be farther south away from KC…more towards 54 highway and I-44 later in the day as the front crawls through southern MO.

That front will start retreating northwards again later MON into TUE and we’ll have to watch for new storms to form, especially overnight Monday into Tuesday.

We’ll get more into that come the weekend.

Our feature photo comes from Sherry Cheek Odell from last week.

Stay cool my friends…

Joe

 

 

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