Joe’s Weather Blog: It was a warm February…but this? (FRI-3/3)

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A nice and seasonable day around the region with bright sunshine once again holding true in the KC area. The winds have been on the increase as well and this trend continues all weekend long. It will be a windy weekend for sure…and we’ve seen more grass fires develop today…including one towards Swope Park that spread smoke into the city earlier this afternoon. The threat of grass fires will continue to escalate over the weekend.


Tonight: Clear and breezy. Temperatures may initially drop into the 30s but then steady out overnight…probable around 40° towards daybreak.

Saturday: Mostly sunny and warmer. Windy as well with gusts of 35-45 MPH possible. Highs near 70°

Sunday: A gulf surge of moisture will move northwards early in the morning. We may break some of the clouds during the day…but I want to temper the highs more towards the 65-70° range. There is the potential for both warmer (more sunshine) and cooler (stuck in clouds all day) temperatures. I’m trying to split the difference because above this soon to be 3,000-4,000 foot thick cloud deck…will be dry air…and with the winds above the clouds cranking at 60 MPH…I’m hopeful we can get additional cloud breaks.


I don’t want to get too involved with the Monday rain/storm potential quite yet…we’ll deal with that more so on Sunday. Suffice it to say…there should be at least some rain in the area Monday…and the hope is with dew points well into the 50s and a front arrival in the evening that there could be some areas that get some nice beneficial rain. On the negative side…the rain will be flying through..there won’t be rain behind the front really…and a lot needs to happen from KC westwards towards Topeka for us to get this. The GFS model blows the front through so fast on Monday that convection is at a premium from KC westwards…we need a slower front to build up a bit more instability. Again more on that Sunday.

I received and interesting email today that I wanted to share with you…actually a couple of emails. The 1st one was from the University Of Alabama-Huntsville. They track global temperatures using satellites. They’ve done this for almost 40 years…and the data is getting better and better as the satellite technology improves from decade to decade. I typically just barely glance at these emails and move along. For some reason today I read a bit more down the column…and check out what the email said…

The 2015-16 El Niño Pacific Ocean warming event has faded into history, but the globe still saw its fourth warmest February in the satellite global temperature record, including the warmest February in that time for the contiguous 48 U.S. states, according to Dr. John Christy, director of the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. The average temperature over the U.S. was 2.1 Celsius (about 3.78 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than seasonal norms in February 2017.

February anomalies
U.S. 48 contiguous states
1.  2017  +2.10 C

2.  1991  +1.69 C

3.  2003  +1.58 C

4.  2001  +1.32 C

5.  1998  +1.12 C

6.  1997  +0.80 C

7.  1985  +0.62 C

8.  2007  +0.61 C

9.  1994  +0.52 C

10. 2008  +0.46 C

They also included a couple of charts…1) showing the FEB worldwide satellite derived temperature trends over the last 4 decades or so.


and the other showing the anomaly locations…


Now let’s tap the breaks for a second and talk about what we’re looking at here. The satellite sensor detects the temperature of the atmosphere from the ground UP to almost 5 miles in the atmosphere…close to 26,000 feet up into the air. This is very important because it shows the temperature of the lower part of the atmosphere as opposed to just here on the ground.

IF we’re just looking at the ground observations and modeled data for the month of February…it looks like this.


February anomalies…the more RED…the warmer it was.

To a certain extent IF you look closer at the above map…you can certainly see a “hot spot” of anomalies in the Plains and upper Midwest.

Now let’s get back to the report from the University of Alabama-Huntsville…because they enclosed a tidbit of information that SHOCKED me. According to their data…when you look at the atmosphere from the ground up to about 5 miles…the warmest temperatures (COMPARED TO FEBRUARY AVERAGES-important point!) was where?

How about WARRENSBURG, MO! That’s right some 7.3° above average from the ground up to 5 miles in the atmosphere. I even verified the information with a follow up email to them…here is the response I got.

“The satellite-based instruments measure the temperature of the atmosphere from the surface up to an altitude of about eight kilometers above sea level. It is a measurement for a large volume of air, rather than a single site on the surface.”

Phil Gentry
Communications Director

So good ole’ Warrensburg, MO from the ground to 5 miles up was the warmest (compared to average in FEB) in the WHOLE WORLD according to this data set.

Like I said…AMAZING!

Our feature photo comes from Yvonne Schwarz in Lenexa of a pretty sunrise.



Have a great weekend and I’ll get another update out on Sunday. Tomorrow I’ll be in Lawrence all day at their severe weather symposium. Everybody is welcome..starts at 8AM and goes till 4pm. More information at





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