Joe’s Weather Blog: Shifting severe weather risks (TUE-5/1)

Good morning…some brief showers and storms will probably be done with by the time you read this this morning, especially in the KC area. There is a bit of tiny hail as well. Anyway the day overall will be warm and windy with quite a bit of cloud cover in the region. The focus of the blog is the next 2 1/2 as we try and figure out the shifting severe weather risks. The good news is that one we get into Friday and lingering through the weekend we should be in good shape. As a matter of fact some pretty toasty weather is heading our way with 80s likely over the weekend.


Today: Variable clouds, windy and warm with highs in near 80°

Tonight: Storm risks across far northern MO, near and north of St Joe. Odds are most of this activity will stay north of KC. Windy and warm with lows in the 60s

Wednesday: Storm risks in the KC region increase later in the day or into the night. Warm and humid, breezy too with highs near 80°. There is a severe storm risk in the area tomorrow evening/night depending on how well the storms hold together. At this point it appears wind/hail would be the main threats. Be Weather Aware tomorrow evening/night especially

Thursday (School Day At The K): NOT an easy forecast. Depending on whether or not there is some sort of boundary near or south KC, with strong winds above that boundary pushing warm and moist air upwards…there may be more rain and storms in the morning. This will be more dependent on what happens Wednesday night. Then depending on how long that activity lingers…we may see additional storms (potentially severe) later in the day or into the night. Highs near 80°. Be Weather Aware later in the day and Thursday night.


Hundreds of storm chasers will be in KS today, well west of KC. They’re hoping to see some pretty bog thunderstorms and potentially a few tornadoes.

There is even an internet meme to illustrate the “crowd” expected out there today.

The risk of severe weather is greatest out there today.

What happens out there today will continue into the evening as it moves towards the NE. This activity may eventually sneak into NW MO and NE KS this evening and tonight. Here is the HRRR model illustrating a possible outcome for later today and tonight.

You can see the blowup towards north central KS. That’s where most of the chasers will be located today I think. IF something happens there, odds are it will be well documented.

In terms of reality here is a look at radar.

Let’s add in Topeka radar too since this should light up later today and tonight.

The morning surface map shows a nice fetch of gulf moisture coming up from the south…pointed right towards central KS. As the day moves along a dry line will set up out there too towards western KS

While the main surface low will hang back in SE CO…there may be a smaller scale area of low pressure that moves along the blue line (cold front) later today. That’s what chasers will be watching because IF that happens the surface winds will be adjusting towards the SSE. That shift, combined with S winds above the surface and SW winds higher up creates “shear” and that shear can aid in taking thunderstorms and creating tornadoes. Again this will be west of KC towards northern KS.

Overnight, depending on how that activity comes together…it would then move towards the NE and ENE into northern MO. Wind and hail would be the main threats.

For KC the odds favor this activity to remain away from the Metro.

Then tomorrow the focus changes to what happens towards the west and SW of the KC area. Especially towards I-135 and eastwards. Storms should develop there later in the day and move NE and ENE. How long those storms hold together will determine the severe weather risks in the KC area Wednesday night mainly. Wind and hail appear the main threats again…this time closer to the Metro. This though is NOT set in stone. The atmosphere may not be as conducive for the storms to be as strong/severe when they eventually arrive in KC. Perhaps they main remain north of the Metro as well providing a glancing blow. IF the aren’t that numerous…then it might be tough for them to push out an “outflow” or mini cold front into the area. IF that doesn’t happen, we MAY not have issues Thursday for School Day. Again a LOT of balls being juggled with this one.

We are in an area of “enhanced” risk for severe storms.

It’s tough to imagine how we stay totally dry on Thursday (in the big picture).

Concerning School Day…at this point there is no need to cancel things. We do have several back-up plans ready to go (hopefully won’t need them) but like everything else this will be determined by the weather that morning. We’re very sensitive to the lightning risk. The program runs for about 1 hour and any delay, even by 30 minutes, will make us alter the show at the last minute. If the field is covered because of rain or threats of rain…we again will be forced to alter what we do a bit. 

There are some things that look promising…

  1. parts of northern MO may see some locally heavy rains…some areas could see over 2″. This is in a part of the region that really needs the rain
  2. the severe weather risks will be adjusted as time goes by. Depending on how things play out, especially tomorrow night into early Thursday…there will be a risk of wind/hail in the KC Metro area.
  3. Our tornado risk through this still looks on the lower side of things. The problem with ruling them out completely is that various boundaries from the earlier storms may play a role in things but since we don’t know where those boundaries will set up until they set-up…so this will be a more fluid situation.
  4. Can we escape the severe threat entirely in KC proper? Perhaps…IF the storms don’t get us Wednesday night…the risk on Thursday is still rather iffy depending on other factors like instability and temperatures. The threat may be there but the reality could be something else.

So again a LOT of moving parts to the forecast. As we’ve talked about for several days…be Weather Aware tomorrow and Thursday.

There are still some things that “don’t look right” by my eye with all this, including what could happen today out towards northern KS. Storms yes…hail…yes…a bunch of tornadoes…I not sure. IF this was me…I might sit this one out and wait for better opportunities down the road (as they say). I also get concerned that there will be a lot of storms instead of discrete storms out there…all that activity is fighting each other for the instability to get stronger and produce tornadoes.

Finally today…April is DONE! What a not-so-nice month it was. 2nd coldest in the end…and also very dry, especially in N MO.

Hey…KCI had .06″ this morning and St Joe had .03″ it’s a start.

Our feature photo comes from BriE via twitter.


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