Joe’s Weather Blog: Rain chances but still lots of uncertainty (SUN-7/2)

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A warmer afternoon out there today with quite a bit of sunshine. The forecast for the next several days is one of some uncertainty. Will there be rain on radar…yes. Will there be storms on radar…yes. Will there be many dry areas showing up in the region…yes. When do the dry and wet times happen…not totally sure but the majority of Monday and potentially Wednesday look generally dry. Tuesday is somewhat of a wild card…with storm chances but with also almost equal chances of quite a few dry hours mixed in too. I know this is rather vague in specifics…but its right now just a low confidence forecast. When predicting things that don’t exist…then trying to do this 48-72 hours in advance when potential disturbances don’t exist right now…is sometimes next too impossible.

Generally the model data offers clues (guidance) but sometimes the models themselves are clueless too and I fear they are somewhat now with the specifics of things. Some broad based ideas though are still reasonable to think about though in terms of what the models “suggest”. my initial feelings continue to be that in terms of coverage of rain/storms, Tuesday into early Wednesday is still the most favorable. I don’t think there will be a lot of coverage Monday…but by the same token there will be at least some scattered stuff out there too on Monday.

Forecast: (very changeable over the next 72 hours)

Tonight: Partly cloudy skies…there is a small chance of an isolated storm or two out there. Milder with lows closer to 70°

Monday: Variable clouds with a 30% chance of rain/storms at any one location during the day. Would I be surprised if there was no rain at all in the KC metro…not at all. Just keep an eye on the sky. Warm and humid with highs well into the 80s

Tuesday (the 4th): A headache of a forecast. It’s possible it will be dry for most of the day. It really depends on a wave coming through the Plains…does it spin close enough to KC to give us storms…or does it go more towards SE KS and SW MO keeping the storm chances limited at best. I’ll keep a 60% chance (for now). Highs should be in the mid 80s


Unfortunately when you get to the summer, sometimes, it really can be a convoluted mess in terms of forecasting. This happens for many reasons. Sometimes the flow aloft sort of “collapses”. Then individual waves that form from thunderstorm complexes tend to meander around and move haphazardly. This is going to happen tomorrow. The winds up at around 18,000 feet are forecast to be only 5-15 MPH…and variable in direction. This doesn’t lead to a lot of confidence in forecasting the future of any disturbance that is born from t/storm complexes.

So really it’s an A then B then C then D type forecast where certain things have to happen for storms to affect your community. By that I mean typically you can say A…here are the storms and B…the storms are moving this way. Well now we have C…there is no flow aloft to push anything and D…the storms are throwing out boundaries that are generating new storms that are throwing out more of E…more boundaries that do the same thing.

Confusing I know but that is the situation.

Our models provide guidance I guess but in these situations of light wind flows…they can be as or more clueless than the humans…often taking storms that form (in the model’s forecast) and then doing weird things with them in terms of moving them from point A to B for no real reason. So the models suggest storms to a forecaster but the forecaster lacks confidence in how the exact play-out of the day will be. This is certainly true of the 4th. Sometimes looking at mmodel trends can be helpful.

They show that there is a lessening chance of widespread rain on Monday…I expected this was have been talking about this. Today’s data still shows some sort of upper wave wallowing around the Plains states and somewhere around the state line region on Tuesday into Wednesday AM.

Let me show you the differences…this is a forecast for about 10,000 feet up…in this case it’s for “lift” at that level. When you slide the slider to the right…that’s the NAM model…notice where it has the disturbance…towards SW MO…now slide it left and the disturbance is more towards eastern KS and wandering towards the KC region.

IF the GFS is right…I don’t see how we don’t have significant rain chances play out during the afternoon/evening…if the NAM is right with it’s idea…there wouldn’t be a lot around on Tuesday at all. that plays out in the total rain forecast…and it’s stark the differences…move slider right…NAM model…no rain…move left and that’s the GFS model with heavy totals in KC.

My thoughts are that the GFS will be somewhat closer with the evolution of things…with a somewhat coherent wave moving through KS. I think the NAM is blowing things up too much and taking a more significant wave too far to the south of the KC area. So what does that mean?

Basically that the storm chances will be with us through most of the evening on Tuesday and there could be some impacts to the displays making events on Tuesday night iffy in my opinion. This may put the displays under pressure because usually to get the word out about cancelling a display needs to be done more than a couple  of hours beforehand. It’s easy for me to say wait till 6PM and lets see radar BUT the cities need to inform thousands of folks NOT to come (if that’s the case) and I’m not sure waiting till 6PM or whenever will work for them. So they may need to decide yea or nay well before that and that will be a tougher decision.

I just glanced at the EURO model and it backs up the GFS ideas…suggesting that TUE is initially dry but with increasing chances later Tuesday into Tuesday night :( and this does seem to make sense to me.

Obviously this can change and IF there is some sort of complex unexpectedly (from today’s viewpoint) pushes through the region before lunch Tuesday…then we could be stabilized for the rest of the day and night (mostly) preventing storms from re-firing. In that case it may actually be rather pleasant for the displays later Tuesday evening.

I do expect some lingering chances through at least Wednesday lunch or so.

So the bottom line is that Monday may not be too bad overall. Tuesday may start OK but with increasing rain/storm chances as the day moves along into the evening and Wednesday AM period (locally heavy rains will be possible). It will be muggy both days.

Meanwhile check this out…sent to us by Caleb Elliot who was storm chasing in SE KS on Thursday. While we were wondering what was going to happen locally with storms…I was focused more towards the Emporia area where an outflow boundary was sitting and the air south of it was very unstable. A supercell formed…tried to do something tornadic…then just fell apart. Caleb captures that in this neat video.


He wrote on our FB page “Shot this last night near Piqua, KS (just east of Yates Center, KS). Pretty awesome to watch as the storm has incredible structure and then (within a +/-45min time frame) POOF. Gone. I was talking with a farmer at the time that was asking if I thought he would get rain on his crops. Looks like “nope” was the appropriate answer.”

Our feature photo comes from Johnnie Wyatt down towards Harrisonville, MO…there was a nice rainbow there last week (26th)…


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