Joe’s Weather Blog: Intense storm in the Plains (TUE-3/22)

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Good morning…winds are cranking away again in the region and no change in the wind speeds are expected through Wednesday. The wind direction will be changing though later Wednesday night and that means a change in the temperatures. More on that in the discussion. Yesterday the highest wind gust was 40 MPH up at KCI…today may see even stronger winds…


Rest of today: In and out sunshine, windy and warm with highs well into the 70s. SW winds of 25-45 MPH.

Tonight: Windy and mild with lows closer to 60°

Wednesday: There may be some low clouds in the morning as a brief surge of moisture moves northwards. Those clouds should mix out quickly though. Highs near 80°. Thunderstorm chances will be increasing in the afternoon hours. There is also a chance of a few showers, especially across N MO and areas NE of KC before lunch tomorrow in addition to the storm chances later in the PM.

Thursday: Blustery and colder in the morning. There could be a few flakes of snow/raindrops as well near/before daybreak. Lots of clouds giving way to PM sunshine. Chillier with highs in the 40s


My goodness this wind! I received a facebook message commenting about the wind animation I posted yesterday. So here it is again and again it shows a lot of wind. Also notice that you can manipulate the may and also move the wind “measurer” to see the wind speeds.

There are a couple of things you’ll notice in the animation above including the strong S/SW winds through the Plains, especially from near the I-80 corridor southwards. Notice as well the wind direction switch near and north of the I-80 corridor. That is the beginning of a cold front trying to establish itself. Right now the chillier air is more towards the upper Midwest, but it will be dropping southwards tonight and “firming” up that front to make it more apparent overnight and Wednesday to the north of KC.

So as the cold air moves southwards it will be drawn into the area as a storm moves by. This will be a rather strong surface storm. So let’s get into the maps…

Here is the forecast map off the NAM model for 1PM Wednesday. Our surface storm is organizing nicely in the western Plains. Colder air has invaded NE and parts of IA northwards. Warm air is present from I-70 southwards. There is also a “dry line” extending from SW KS towards W TX. This is a somewhat common situation with strong cyclones in the Plains. Moisture is drawn northwards…our dew points will be into the 50s, while dry and desert type air spreads up from the SW. Where that moisture/dry area divide is the location of the dry line.


By 7PM the surface storm is moving through E KS. The dry line is near the KC area…and the cold front is starting to catch up to the dry line. I’ve put in some colored arrows…the blue is the colder air wrapping into the storm. The red and green is the warmth and the moisture coming northwards and the orange is the drier air wrapping towards the NE into the storm system.


Then by 1AM Thursday the storm is passing into NE MO and the cold front has essentially caught up to the dry line. Chillier air is now moving into the KC area.


In all the above maps…the dashed red lines on the map are the temperatures at that particular time. The solid thin green lines are the dew points.

So what does all this do? Well tomorrow morning the model is suggesting that there will be a surge of some low level moisture coming up from the south in the form of low clouds.

The morning satellite picture does some some low cloud cover towards the TX gulf coast…

It’s not particularly impressive though to me and I’m wondering if the model is overdoing this moisture. Regardless it’s pretty shallow (in the bottom few thousand feet of the atmosphere) and IF we have clouds around in the morning, it would be brief because the air above is dry and with the winds churning the atmosphere up tomorrow…the sun will come out rather quickly. That sends temperatures well into the 70s to 80°.

Now as that dry line moves eastwards it will run into dew points between around 55° which is good but not great. The atmosphere though should be getting more and more unstable and by 7PM the model is showing CAPE values (which help us measure the instability) close to 1000-1500.


dry line nearby + instability in the atmosphere should create storms.

So with all that coming together we should see thunderstorms develop from near KC and eastwards. The storms will be flying towards the ENE at 40-50+ MPH. There will be a chance of seeing some limited severe weather with these types of storms. Here is a forecasted radar product off the hi-res NAM model. Notice it is showing some shower activity 1st thing in the morning, especially up towards the north and NE of the KC metro.

courtesy NEXLAB

It is possible that this comes together better just east of KC…but I think it warrants some decent rain chances in the metro for later tomorrow. Not sure if the storms will get strong enough fast enough for severe weather in KC proper, perhaps the better chance of that happening is a bit farther east of the metro.


Behind the storm as the colder air works into the area, the atmosphere may be cold enough to create some snowflakes of mixed precipitation around 3AM THU morning. That window will be short though…

We should recover nicely though on Friday…so this is a one day shot of cold weather with 20s again coming Friday morning.

I still have concerns (growing) about some sort of April arctic air mass dropping into the region during the 1st week of April.

We’ll get more into that as the week moves along.






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