Joe’s Weather Blog: Fall Colors + Roller Coaster Temps!

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In the last couple of days the leaves are starting to turn a bit more and the process of fall is really underway now. Speculation on my part and elsewhere is that the peak colors may be about 5-7 days delayed this year and the latest fall foliage report from the MO Dept Of Conservation confirms this as well. Here are there thoughts about the KC area…

Fall colors are developing rapidly here, although they will peak later than usual, probably around the end of October. The reds of sumac, poison ivy, and Virginia creeper are at or past peak this week in most areas. Green ash are almost at peak in much of our area, and dogwoods and white ash should peak soon. Sugar maples are starting to show brilliant oranges, although many still show the effects of the drought. Yellows will come on strongly this week on honey locust, elm, redbud, hickories, and hackberry. If we get some bright, sunny days and cool nights with enough rain, we can expect some nice fall colors.

Meanwhile for areas in NW MO the colors, as is typical, have progressed a bit more to the north of here…

Fall color is progressing well, although it hasn’t peaked. Yellows still predominate—in walnut, hackberry, cottonwood, ash, and most recently some hickory. Reds and purples are increasing, although Virginia creeper, sumac, and poison ivy are fading. A few sugar maples are turning bright orange to red. The eastern half of our region is slightly behind the St. Joseph area. Recent and predicted weather should provide a good peak within a week to a week and a half. Drive along the Missouri River floodplain and Loess Hills from North Kansas City to the Iowa border. The Loess Hills contain a mix of oak, hickory, and sugar maple, which can produce a glorious mixture of colors at peak.

and for the Ozarks area here is what they are reporting…although when I was driving through there last weekend I thought that the colors were really not that predominant.

Fall colors have really come alive here! Vibrant reds and oranges are augmenting the yellows and purples that had already developed. Maple, sweet gum, dogwood, sassafras, Virginia creeper, and sumac are the primary contributors. Hickories are turning yellow, and a few oaks are starting to change, but the majority of these species remain green. Some understory trees are changing, too, including dogwood and aromatic sumac in reds, and serviceberry, cherry, elm, and redbuds in yellows. Peaking right now are persimmon, smooth sumac, white ash, Virginia creeper, and poison ivy. With cooler weather predicted all week, we should see the onset of fall’s prime splendor by next week.

So get in a car and do a little driving around. Feel free to snap some great pictures of the leaves changing and post them to FB or Twitter (@fox4wx) and who knows you may see your picture on the air!

There is a weak system that will affect us tomorrow and today’s data is even weaker than yesterdays data in terms of precipitation potential. Most of the rain appears like it will be to the SW/S of the KC area with areas north of the metro getting little to nothing. Here is the hi-res NAM model showing the rainfall amounts…


Not very impressive is it? A lot of the moisture from this incoming system will go in the production of clouds. The surface moisture situation is not the greatest so we’ll have to slowly wait through the AM for the atmosphere to saturate before the rain makes it to the ground and for many areas, north of KC at least, that will be a real issue as the map above points out.  Odds favor under 1/4″ of rain for most…although there could be a stripe here or there (SW of KC) that might do a bit better.

Yesterday I sent out this tweet regarding the potential for tomorrow…

That tweet was based on getting more rain to fall through the atmosphere and evaporating. This process cools down and already soon to be chilly atmosphere tomorrow. Without the decent rainfall, this process doesn’t work too well. Interestingly @ 1PM or so tomorrow afternoon it may be snowing about 2500-4500 feet above us but what would fall would melt probably. I still wouldn’t be shocked if there was a ping or two on a window in a heavier band of rain that may or may not set up. The key will be getting a decent+ band of rainfall to form somewhere which isn’t a certainty. Regardless a raw day is likely tomorrow with temperatures in the 40s for most of the day, and if we get some pesky rain don’t be surprised if temperatures drop a bit. Here is the hi-res NAM again showing the temperature potential for later FRI afternoon.


So from there we get a minor dump of cold air that will take lows down SAT AM to frosty levels and maybe for some even a light freeze. Our lowest temperature so far this young fall season was this AM with a low of 38°. SAT AM will be colder than that…perhaps down to 31-34°. This is pretty typical for this time of the year…take a look at the average 1st freeze date courtesy of the NWS in Pleasant Hill.


The cooler air will then quickly move away during the AM Saturday as a bubble of warm air above the surface moves on in. It may still be chilly SUN AM with light winds but by Sunday PM we should see breezy conditions develop and a dramatic warm up in the mid-late afternoon with highs 65-70°. So the weather will be wonderful for the Chiefs on Sunday.

Assuming we get our first freeze out of the way SAT AM…then the next hurdle is when do we get a hard freeze (28° or lower). Data today continues to point to a decent+ outbreak of cold air later Monday into Tuesday that will certainly catch your attention. the GFS especially is really cold with highs TUE in the 40s. I’m not sure I want to go that cold yet because I’m still not 100% sure of the angle the cold air will take. Will it come plunging through the Plains or will it be slightly more angled towards the Great Lakes and OH Valley which is what the latest EURO is showing. Here is a look at the 5000 ft temperature anomalies over the next 10 days. The upper left map is for today while the lower right map is for the 27th.  Each map is for the following day. You can sort of get an idea of the movement of the airmasses. Click on that image to make it larger and more readable

ScreenHunter_01 Oct. 17 15.16

Overall cool for the next 10+ days…

Have a great Thursday and early Friday. I’ll write up another blog FRI PM. I’m heading to Richmond, MO for a storm spotter training session that I’m giving tonight @ 7PM. Feel free to come on by…it’s free! (718 Wollard Blvd).


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