Joe’s Wx Blog: A Summer heat surge

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Temperatures started out this AM very comfortable, but it’s quickly warming up and now temperatures are in the 80s and before the day is done we should be above 90° here in KC. Not totally unusual for May but not exactly common either. From 1981-2010 we average .6 times/month with temperatures at or above 90°…so close to once per month. Usually there is a conspiracy with green terrain and evaporation of springtime rainfall to keep the temperatures from maxing out. Today though is a bit different. There is so much wind/warmth aloft, that the atmosphere will be very mixed up today allowing that warmth to work it’s way to the ground.

Here is a look at the temperatures a few thousand feet off the ground @ about 4PM today. This is off the RAP model courtesy of NEXLAB (great upgrades to their sire by the way) and shows the core of the hottest air at that level through the Plains states…

ScreenHunter_04 May. 14 11.25

We’re sort of on the edge of the hottest air though. as you can see it’s somewhat more intense from Minneapolis SWards through E SD and NE. There temperatures may surge to over 100°. As of 11AM Norfolk, NE was already 98° breaking their previous record by 2° at 11AM! Here is the 11AM surface map…


It really is amazing that some areas in the Plains are going to go from record lows a couple of days ago to record highs today. This Spring has been all over the place in terms of weather and extreme weather…and this is another subtle connection that many won’t think about.

In my weather blog yesterday one of the comments concerned the history of rapid temperature changes here in KC and whether or not we’ve ever gone from a record low and then in 48 hours a record high. So I approached this in a 2 pronged way.

The first thing I researched was whether we’ve ever done that in 24 hours…in other words lets say on a Monday we set a record low…then on that Tuesday did we ever set a record high? The answer to that question is NO. It’s never happened in the KC weather history going back to the 1880s or so. That is not surprising. I do think it’s happened in the past though, just not in KC. My feeling is that it may be possible across the NW Plains, and perhaps even the northern Rockies where cold airmasses can be eradicated quickly with chinook downsloping winds. I’m not aware of anything officially, but IF it’s going to happen then perhaps that would be a location. Also perhaps in the desert area when dry air at night can allow temps to drop off and then that same dry air heat’s up very quickly the next day. So it’s possible, but for sure it’s never happened here before to my knowledge.

Now has it happened before over the course of two days? Say for example a record low happens on a Sunday AM (like this past Sunday AM with 33°)…have we ever had a record high in 48 hours…say on a Tuesday?. Well history has shown that it HAS HAPPENED BEFORE! I was surprised by this but on May 16th in 1997 we had a low of 37° then on the 18th the high was 91° which was a record. By the way I used a very expensive piece of equipment to determine that information…


Yes…an index card. Actually I think it was pretty ingenious!

So it has happened before (just that once) and it can happen again today if we get up to 91° to tie our record going back to 1941.

Today will be the hottest day of the forecast…as clouds and even some rain chances start to move into the region from tomorrow into the weekend. We’ve been talking about a cold front that was going to edge our way…latest data, not surprisingly is essentially stalling that front just north of KC along and north of 36 highway in N MO…this is reasonable and expected. Here is the forecast map for tomorrow @ 7PM…


There will be instability to create at least some storms up there later tomorrow but it may be tough to get any storms going till tomorrow night which is what the hi-res NAM is showing towards midnight or so early THU AM.

ScreenHunter_05 May. 14 11.51

There is also a weak disturbance moving to the south of the KC area that may create some storms towards the Ozarks. Right now there is nothing really focused closer to home…there would be the potential of some outflow boundaries to push out of the storms (like mini cold fronts) and allow new storms to form. That’s why at least a chance is there for a couple of days…but again there is really nothing to hang our hat on concerning the chances of rain. It’s likely a large part of the region will stay dry through this unorganized situation.

The weekend still has at least some promise of rainfall as a strong wave moves to the NW of here and storms fire int he Plains. The SPC is thinking the chance of severe weather will be increasing over the weekend.


Still many questions about how the weekend will evolve though…but we’ll need to watch later SAT night and especially Sunday for the potential of severe weather closer to home.

That’s it for today! Enjoy the heat and a run towards record highs!


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