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Joe’s Weather Blog: This Is Not 1993…Although It “Feels” Like It For Some (FRI-5/29)

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Good morning…yup more rain is falling early this morning…this is the 25th day this month that it has rained at least a trace or more @ KCI Airport (official for KC). It will be the 19th day of the month with at least .01″ or more. Pretty impressive. We’re now in the top 10 of wettest May months on record for KC…and we may end up in the top 5 before the day is done.

I’ve heard from several folks, in talks and in emails about how they’re getting the sense that this is a lot like the terrible and devastating flooding event of 1993. Numerous area rivers are in flood now…but they will continue to retreat over the weekend and especially early next week. It will be a process.

I thought I’d write a bit more about a few of  the many things that many things that led up tot he flood of ’93. Here is the wiki page with additional information and any google search will come up with numerous links.

The flood of ’93 was created by an excess of rainfall and melting snow from the fall of ’92 through the summer of ’93. The main reason why things got so bad locally was the heavy snowmelt and the torrential rainfall that fell upstream of KC (NE/IA/MN etc.) All that moisture had to flow down river…and sure enough it was way too much for the MO/MS Rivers to handle. Exacerbating this inflow into the rivers was heavy spring and summer rainfall closer to home.

Locally here is the precip totals for 1993 by the month. Click on the image to make it more readable.



July was by far the wettest here and elsewhere. Heavy overnight thunderstorm complexes dumped rainfall in the Plains region especially upstream of KC.

Now take a look at 2015 so far in the KC area…again click on the image to make it larger


The flood of 1993 was a large scale event covering many states…this spring the worst of the flooding has occurred over the formerly drought regions of the southern Plains into TX…that water will not flow towards KC…whereas IF the worst of the flooding was further north into the upper Midwest and including SD/NE/IA…I’d be more concerned because what’s up there eventually has to work it’s way through here and elsewhere through MO especially (MO/MS Rivers)

Look at how much real estate was above average in terms of precipitation from the period of OCT 1992 through July 1993.


It really is incredible…

Let’s narrow things down a bit more…April through July


Now compare the above maps (granted May is not included in the next map) to OCT 2014-April 2015…


In reality there have been short-term drought conditions across the upper Midwest over the last couple of months. So we’re getting less water entering the river systems from upstream of KC.


Does this mean we won’t continue to have more localized river flooding…NO! If the rains keep coming down (again a break from SAT-WED of next week) then the worst of the flooding (longer term) will be confined to the smaller rivers/creeks in the region. Any higher water levels on the MO River will not be overly high. The MO River at Waverly is not even in the top 50 in terms of high water levels. The Grand River near Sumner, MO while in moderate flood stage isn’t even in the top 75 of high water levels.

Again like we saw with the Fishing River near Mosby a couple of weekends ago…something localized and short term can certainly happen and happen fast!

For many though a repeat of 1993 is not in the cards locally unless all of a sudden the rivers upstream from KC get into the flooding rainfall patterns that have persisted 500-1000 miles south of them (like what’s happening in OK/TX).

Have a great Friday!





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