Joe’s Weather Blog: Weather Aware Monday as we watch for storms (MON-5/14)

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There are times where we’ll be upgrading a day to WEATHER AWARE status. This means that we want you to pay more attention to the potential for some more impacting weather than what is typical. It could mean more intense thunderstorms…or a snowstorm or perhaps unusual and very impactful heat and humidity. All these will fill the decision to “upgrade” the area to WEATHER AWARE status. There are times that this is a “no-brainer” type forecast…like what happened a couple of weeks ago regarding the tornadoes…then there will be times that it’s a bit more nebulous and I/we want to be more proactive than reactive at the last minute to prepare you. This was my conundrum yesterday. The forecast is a bit nebulous for the region tonight. When I want you to be WEATHER AWARE it means that I want you to pay more attention to a developing weather situation and the forecasts which may change as the day evolves.


Today: Mixed Sun and clouds…warm and humid with highs well into the 80s. There rain risks seem somewhat low for most of the day through evening rush hour however some spotty storms are possible this afternoon. 

Tonight: Our best chance of storms/rain of the day and perhaps of the work week. A front will finally move through and the area should see thunderstorms. Potentially severe weather in the region. Hail/wind/flooding are the primary threats it appears. Timing remains after 6PM or so.

Tuesday: Partly sunny and not as hot with highs closer to 80°. Still sort of muggy though

Wednesday: Variable clouds…I’m not convinced about the rain chances yet though with highs closer to 80°


Well yesterday we ended up tying our record high of 90°. We had hit 90° 4 other times on 5/13. St Joseph hit 92°…Topeka did too and Springfield was around there…all tying their record highs I believe. Our average 1st 90° day in KC is May 27th. This was our 30th earliest 1st 90° of a year. Over the last few years we’ve waited till later into the 1st week of June or even towards later in June for the 1st 90°.

Today we may fall just short but it’s not out of the question…it’s sort of a messy forecast for later especially…there are several things I’m watching that are complicate things.

  1. Our friend the “front”. This thing has been around for days now…it’s unusual because aside from wavering a bit north and south at times…it’s been about in the same spot. This is unusual for May. Typically we would have big t/storms moving that front from day to day and pushing it southwards…that hasn’t been the case as you well know because of the cap issues that have prevented the storms from really going locally.

Warm and moist air continues to come northwards ahead of that front. Cooler air is back towards the I-80 corridor and we should go into some of that cooler air Tuesday. You can “feel” the mugginess out there.

2) A disturbance in central KS. This developed from a rather large and intense cluster of storms last night farther west and is now just meandering and drifting eastwards…weakening as well as I type this blog this morning. This weak wave IF it maintains itself (big if) may impact the storm risk this afternoon. You can sort of see it dangling in central KS.

We’re in the process of stripping away some clouds this morning…allowing more heat to build up today. That wave in central KS doesn’t look to good to me right now. Let’s see how that complicates the thunderstorm development this afternoon or promotes it. The morning balloon launch still shows a cap present below 10,000 feet…it’s not as strong as previous days and should weaken later today.

3) Increasing instability through the day…assuming we’re well into the 80s this afternoon with no real storms before 5PM of significance…there will be a LOT of instability around early this evening as the front (item 1) works southwards with time. The next map shows the CAPES (Convective Available Potential Energy). The higher the CAPE the more instability is present…move the cap away and that instability can be triggered. The blue covered terrain shows the capping present. This will gradually erode as we heat up and as the air gets more mixed this afternoon. Those CAPE values will soar into the thousands…a lot of instability.

4) The HRRR model…it’s been rather inconsistent since yesterday afternoon. IT whiffed in N MO with some big storms that were expected…it’s lost things then found areas of rain from run to run. Earlier it had some pretty significant rains in the area around lunch…and the run I just looked at lost that as well. It should do better with tonight’s activity that today’s activity in my opinion

I still think the better chances of stronger>severe storms would be after 6PM locally…and perhaps more towards 9PM tonight.

The problem is IF there is something a bit more noteworthy in the afternoon will that complicate and remove the stronger instability for tonight’ activity. It’s a complicated playout.

5) SPC forecasts…

We remain in the SLIGHT risk for severe storms…the discussion that I read did have more than a few caveats to all this…and I agree. This may not be a widespread outbreak. The main risks in the KC region appear to be hail/wind/flooding.

The bottom line is that while the entire area may not see sever weather…on the assumption that things don’t start really happening of significance till this evening…it’s tough for me to reconcile how there is no severe weather whatsoever. I think there should be some strong>severe storms in the region as the front drifts into the area this evening and overnight.

That’s why today is a WEATHER AWARE day.

Savannah Whitesell from Spring Hill has the feature photo today. This was taken several days ago!



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