Joe’s Weather Blog: Drought to deluge + Michael + tornadoes + frost (WED-10/10)

Good Wednesday morning…when the new drought report comes out tomorrow…it should obliterate the drought situation that was present for months in the region. Widespread 8-13″ rains have been common although there was still the lessor totals towards the SE of the KC region. As a matter of fact…when looking at the heaviest 4…5…6…7 days combined rain amounts over the years…what we just went through hasn’t happened before in KC weather record history. Remember those records are just at one point…now KCI…previously Downtown KC…but still it’s impressive to check into.

The blog today has a lot of information about Michael that will devastate the FL Panhandle today. I also want to talk about the tornadoes that occurred yesterday including one in JOCO/WYCO that briefly touched down for a matter of seconds. There were others in northern MO as well. All will be EF(0) twisters with winds under 85 mph. Overall the call of potentially tornadic storms from a few days ago was a good forecast on the blog.

Also of note is the colder weather moving in too…frost will be an issue Thursday morning (at least). Gardeners take note. So let’s get started…



Forecast:

Today: Lots of clouds and cool with highs struggling to hit 55°

Tonight: Clearing out and colder! Lows in the mid 30s with frost likely in many areas.

Thursday: A nice fall day with highs again in the 50s

Friday: Another cold and raw day with some rain likely. Highs only in the low>mid 40s. I should note that areas in N MO are going to be a bit colder…at the surface and above. IF there was a sleet pellet or flake of snow mixed in I wouldn’t be shocked at this point…also for far northern MO



Discussion:

Let’s start with the severe weather last night…overall the KC Metro missed out…and in reality aside from a few brief tornadoes there wasn’t any of noteworthiness. No strong winds…no hail…just a few brief spin-ups. The Metro again though saw a likely touchdown. This time on the west side of KC towards Shawnee and perhaps into Wyandotte County as well. This cell caught my eye and my colleagues at the NWS was curious about it as well. It initially caught my eye when it was in Miami county moving towards the NNE…then it moved into JOCO and we couldn’t get any spotter confirmations about what it was doing…then it moved near Parkville and faded from there.

Earlier in the afternoon most of the tornadic storms were in N MO…Meteorologist Michelle Bogowith was chasing the fast moving storms and caught this video…look at the highlighted area.

Others caught the same storm…in different spots though.

Yesterday wasn’t really  matter of having a lot of instability…there was enough though…it was a matter of having enough shear in the lower 5,000 feet or so (mostly) of the atmosphere to enhance the rotational potential of the storms.

For a year that nationwide will go down as a low tornado year…for the KC region…that’s what…about 10 tornadoes…maybe more?

The cold front has now moved through and spells a temporary end to the rains in the region. At 7AM it’s off to the east of KC…and with temperatures around 50° and cooler air flowing in all day…it will be a struggle to go up much. Remember all the cool air has JUST been to the west of the region for a few days…that has now changed. Here is the 7AM surface map…temperatures are in RED. Also note the blue dots…showing the expansive low clouds that are prevalent as well.

Cool fall days are ahead.

On the bigger picture…there is snow falling across the upper Midwest this morning too…

See all the ** between the temperatures in RED and the dew points in GREEN…those are snow reports. The .. (dots) are rain reports.

This cooler air will be with us for awhile but at least the rain is briefly winding down.

Another system will come up on Friday and give us some additional rains…then on Saturday some moisture from what was Sergio in the Pacific Ocean can give us the chance of some showers but it doesn’t appear to be much. It will though continue to reinforce the chilly air on top of the region into the weekend.

The chilly air that is coming into the area today, combined with clearing skies and lighter winds tonight may give some their 1st freeze of the season and give many others their first frost. The trick though is how quickly do we clear out the skies with all the clouds expected. Faster clearing = colder temperatures…slower clearing = less frost potential. Gardeners…pay attention to the clouds later today and this evening especially.

Finally there is Michael. A hurricane that, as I type this, is at CAT 4 status with this of 145 MPH. This is going to be a devastating storm for parts of NW Florida. A storm of this type hasn’t happened there in a while.

This storm will be different that Florence. It’s moving…and will move in quickly and leave quickly. The main things with this storm will be winds..and surge. The surge aspect, as I wrote about yesterday in the Apalachicola Bay region may be devastating. Any little eastwards wobble of the storm track as it comes ashore near Panama City will increase the surge even more.

The contours above are the strongest winds…again this will be mostly a wind/surge issue storm with devastating effects.

There are many aspects of this storm…this would be the strongest hurricane to hit that part of the state in recorded weather history. There hasn’t been much there recently of significance and with the population change…many may never have gone through anything like this before.

Category 4 hurricanes hitting the US as a whole in the month of October don’t have…very rare.

With winds likely to be at least 135 MPH+…while building codes have changed over the years for the better…there are still a LOT of older buildings that will be vulnerable to wind-caused failure.

The winds from this storm will live (somewhat in weaker form) into Georgia.

Again though…since something like this storm (intensity) hasn’t happened in a long time in that area…let’s look back at how the land-use has changed in the last 30 years…it’s been dramatic as you might imagine.

We’ll be watching radar like a hawk today…looking for typical last minute wobbles as the storm tries to come ashore.

Potential wind gusts are extreme…

All because of this…

One other aspect of this…the tall buildings in the region along the beaches. Believe it or not…there is a difference between winds at the surface and a few hundred feet above…here is a list of the tallest buildings int he Panama City Beach area via emporis.com

So many things to think about with a CAT 4 hurricane making US landfall. I’ve just scraped the surface.

The storm surge may be unrivaled compared to anything they’ve gone through before in that part of the state. Note the tweet I sent out earlier today.

Our feature photo comes from Nathan Raymo in Chillicothe, MO a couple of days ago as a well defined wall cloud moved across.

Joe

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