All That For Only A Few Drops Of Rain!

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I don’t want to say that was a bad thing, but there was a somewhat common theme yesterday to the effect of, “well I don’t want the nasty weather but we could sure use some of the rain.” Well the good news was that the nasty stuff stayed well away from the metro and for that matter just about the entire viewing area…the unfortunate thing is that the rainfall did as well. There were some areas that did pretty good with the rain, mainly well north and south, but one look at the doppler estimates and some ground truth reports indicate that the amounts were pretty paltry in the region, most under .25″ and many under 1/10″.

Click on that image to make it larger. Those blue shades represent the lower rainfall totals, and that is an unfortunate stripe moving from the SW to NE along the I-35 corridor.

All told there were 135 reports of tornadoes yesterday.

See yesterday’s numerous blog updates and the early AM blog for a recap of what happened.

Some might be wondering WHY didn’t we get the bad weather? Good question. Some on the weather blog and some of the FB comments accused me/us of “downplaying” the threat to the our local area. While I strongly disagree with that assessment you should know that FOX 4 Weather doesn’t run around with it’s head cut-off screaming that every single event is going to be “life threatening” for us or that “the world is going to end tonight” as some commenters felt others were implying. The fact of the matter is that the conditions well west of here, and truthfully by some 100-200 miles, were MUCH more conductive for the potential of devastating long track tornadoes, that did actually occur, but thankfully were mainly in the rural areas with a couple of notable exceptions. KC was not in the prime position. While there were some other outlets broad brushing our region with scary language it takes local knowledge/presence to bring perspective to the situation. It would be like a national newspaper doing a local story on something critically important to us. There would be one article and that would be it. Whereas a local source would devote hours of time and many employees to do a comprehensive detailed write-up/story on the same thing providing more perspective. The good thing about other sources though is that it heightens awareness about the situation and it makes you more weather aware and forces you to seek out additional information, from hopefully a local source. Hopefully information that you can use more to make critical decisions about how you will be riding the storm or potential for a storm out. Does that make sense?

I didn’t really get a chance to watch any of my colleagues, or maybe I should say listen to my colleagues at the other KC stations. I have no idea what they were saying.
So all I can answer is for the job we/I did. Everything that I said on the air was written in the blogs during the course of the day, except the blogs allow me more time and allow me greater opportunity to get more into the nuts and bolts of things. I didn’t hype the tornado threat nor did I totally play it down either, as you clearly saw from watching or reading. My philosophy is that the weather hypes itself, and it doesn’t need me or my coverage to pile on. My/our main job when the weather gets freaky is to be measured and professional. Heck last night there weren’t even severe or near severe storms in our viewing area for the vast majority of the night and early AM as the map above of the severe weather reports shows. There was one Severe T/storm Warning for Atchison County near the IA border.

The reason why we didn’t get much in our area is that the best forcing for the thunderstorms was well west of the region. The dry line was out across western KS, the area of low pressure was in NW NE, the warm front was up towards the I-80 corridor. Right there that tells me that the only way we would get something significant would be IF it held together after forming hundreds of miles away. Right now the latest surface map shows a cold front well west of here.

The issue we had last night is the storms that formed way out there were running into an environment that was becoming more stable as the night was moving along. While there were parameters that were certainly concerning, the radar painted the story for us. One of the more prolific supercell storms that produced numerous tornado touchdowns got too far away from the best instability and fell apart in an hour after living for hours on end.

The Wichita supercell came up towards the south of Emporia and really fell apart within 60 minutes as it moved into Leavenworth county. That was very telling to me about how the rest of the night would play out.

It by no means was a perfect forecast and I had concerns about the strong winds aloft creating a wind threat on the ground, but we couldn’t even get the storms to help bring that wind regime to the surface.

Finally remember FOX 4 can only take credit or blame for what we say. Heck sometimes I cringe when the news department says certain things that are related to weather. That’s the nature of the beast. We can’t take responsibility though for what the national media does or says. There were headlines on some other sites yesterday that while accurate in the broadest of senses, were totally inaccurate for the most local of senses, us here in KC. I don’t care which local station you watch (obviously I prefer you choose us) for seeking additional weather information, there are 4 stations for you to choose from. we each have our own styles and it’s up to you to see which matches your sensibility the most. All I want is that you actually follow through and seek out the local perspective so you know how to prepare better for whatever may or may not happen!

Hope this all made sense to you. I think I’m blogged out now. See you on Monday morning.

Joe

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