Joe’s Weather Blog: The Saturday conundrum (FRI-5/26)

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Every so often there is a day in the forecast that gives meteorologists fits…and that day is tomorrow…you would think that within 24-30 hours of something that could happen, we’d have a firmer grasp…but I always feel that my honesty with you folks is the most important thing a meteorologist has with his audience…and frankly I’m NOT exactly sure how things will play out tomorrow, especially in the afternoon. More on that in the discussion part of the blog.


Tonight: Mostly clear with the potential of increasing high clouds in the wee hours of the morning. Lows in the 60s. There is a small chance of a before daybreak t/storm.

Saturday: Messy. My latest thoughts are that the chances of any widespread storms in the KC region are lower in the morning and higher in the afternoon. Temperatures may well warm up to 80° or higher in the PM before the clouds/storms threaten. The time-frame of the heavier storms in KC proper look to be from about 1PM>6PM or so. Any earlier and the severe weather risk looks lower…in that time frame though the risk is certainly there…so be Weather Aware in the afternoon especially. IF everything goes according to plan…we should be drier for the evening in KC. Storms will be SE of the metro by then.

Sunday: Looks nice with highs around 80°

Monday: Nice as well with highs near 80°


As I mentioned at the top…I’m still NOT happy with my forecast thoughts for tomorrow (SAT). There are too many ifs and buts about the play-out of the day and where the worst of the storms may be located. I can see solid reasons why we may see some very strong and potentially damaging thunderstorms in the KC metro area in the afternoon…I can see more reasons why the worst weather will be towards and south of 50 highway towards the 54 highway corridor into the Lakes region…and yet I can see the potential of some tornadic thunderstorms towards 65 highway into central MO.

Like I said it’s a mess.

The latest outlook from the Storm Prediction Center has edged the severe weather categories up a notch along the I-70 corridor…by doing that…the category has gone from “slight” to “enhanced”. For areas towards Sedalia and Clinton into the I-44 corridor…there’s been an upgrade from “enhanced” to “moderate”.

So much of the potential tomorrow is tied to 1) how unstable we are (today’s data indicated more instability because of a lack of thicker morning clouds)…2) timing issues (today’s data points towards a higher chance of afternoon storms as opposed to evening/night storms)…3) surface wind flow (today’s data indicated perhaps a higher chance of more of a SE wind flow towards the east of KC metro. That is somewhat concerning to me because that may somewhat increase the isolated tornadic threat)…4) the severity of the storms themselves…will they push out an outflow boundary (rain cooled air mass) at some point to eventually lead to the demise of the worst storms…5) is the wind and hail threat the higher risk? I think potentially yes for the KC metro area…and that wind threat in particular needs to be watched.

Typically the models provide some help…but I’m NOT happy with ANY model solution really and that’s making this a bit tougher. The models have various outcomes with the storms and to a certain extent the timing and severity. So what I try to do in these cases is look at the potential of what the models indicate.

Let me show you one solution and as I do I’ll let you know that this model, in particular LOVES to generate convection and LOVES to do lots of crazy things with the storms it generates (squall lines where none will exist etc). The model is of higher resolution than other models…and that is one reason, aside from different physics involved in the model itself, that leads to “weird” things.

This is a simulated “future radar” product.

Notice how THIS model has a developing squall line west of Manhattan, KS heading this way later SAT AM…then moving through between roughly 1-4PM+ or so. As this squally line (with perhaps some sort of upper wave being generated with it as it matures) moves into the region…we should be rather unstable in the early afternoon given the warmth and the higher dew points moving towards us.

That image at 4PM is concerning because that would be a NASTY complex of storms with damaging winds. It would be really taking shape on top of or just towards the east or SE of KC…

Is it even right though…I’m not convinced. There should be storms developing later today/tonight across the western Plains BUT I’m NOT confident that they will develop that far to the south to be west of Manhattan in the mid AM to begin with.

The lower res NAM model shows some similarities but there are differences with the placement of the worst storms (seemingly having the worst more towards areas north of KC tomorrow and then east of KC.

Notice it really does nothing for areas towards the Lakes region. I have less confidence in that solution and I want folks especially from KC southwards to really be paying attention to the weather in the afternoon Saturday.

Other models do other things…one thing I will be looking for tomorrow mid-morning is where the storms are in KS…IF there are any. I’ll also be looking to see how cloudy we get or don’t…helping to give me an indication of the potential developing instability.

The bottom line to me is that while we may NOT be the target of the worst storms in KC (that too may change) and while it appears now that the worst storms may be farther towards the Lakes and south areas…we can’t “shrug” off the storm potential locally. We certainly can’t shrug off the hail/wind potential locally either.

As I said yesterday…be Weather Aware, especially in the PM Saturday. I wish I was more confident about the play-out. I just read the actual discussion from the SPC and at least as of this afternoon, it appears I’m not alone in the uncertainty. IF you are camping or boating Saturday make sure you have reliable sources of weather information. I’ll do what I can on the blog and also potentially on FB/Twitter to give you updates.

Our feature photo comes from @JTstardestroyer on twitter…look closely and there are parts of planes heading somewhere. Maybe Wichita?




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