KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Today is a big weather anniversary for the region. On this date back in 2003 (20 years ago) parts of the metro were ravaged by a series of tornadoes that ripped through the region. Hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed, dozens were injured, and sadly two people lost their lives.

I remember that day vividly from the morning through the night as, even a day or two before, I had a terrible feeling that something very bad was going to happen near the area. It was more of a matter of where specifically. Would it be in an open field somewhere, or would it be right into the metro?

Unfortunately, it was right into the metro area. I remember seeing the helicopter shots of a massive wedge tornado as I was describing radar and warning those in the path to take cover. When those shots popped up on the air, I just had a sick feeling in my stomach. I had never covered anything to that significance before, and it was chilling.

This is one anniversary that we’re remembering. Another is the tornadoes that ripped through areas on the southside back in 1977. Communities such as Pleasant Hill, Missouri, were hit hard. So May 4 is a big weather remembrance day locally.


Kansas City Forecast:

Today: Variable clouds with a few scattered showers possible later this afternoon or tonight. That activity will be scattered though. Temperatures should be in the 70-75-degree range.

Tonight: Clouds with some scattered showers/storms. Lows well into the 50s.

Tomorrow: Variable clouds with some scattered storms and showers around in the morning. Highs in the 70s.

Saturday: Hotter with highs well into the 80s. Breezy and more humid.

Sunday: About the same with highs well into the 80s with a small chance of a few late day or evening storms.



I thought I’d start with a radar replay of the fateful day back in 2003.

Weather radar of May 4, 2003, over the Kansas City metro area.

This is the lower-resolution data from the National Weather Service radar in Pleasant Hill. The higher resolution data has disappeared from the NOAA servers. Every other piece of data is there from all the other radars in the country, but the one radar I wanted is void of higher resolution data.

You can clearly see the hook echo develop towards the southern Leavenworth-Wyandotte counties area in Kansas. That would turn into a cyclic supercell that produced several tornadoes from southern Leavenworth County, Kansas, through Clay and Ray County (near the Liberty-William Jewell College area) in Missouri.

There were other tornadoes across southern Missouri as well… some bad ones.

I wrote a full write up of that day in this blog. Looking back it’s a pretty good read!


Rain chances in KC

The rain chances here are still there. There were a few light showers/sprinkles earlier towards the west and south of the metro, but the air still is rather dry from the surface upwards, so the clouds are the main issue at this point. This morning, there are a couple of thunderstorms near Topeka, Kansas, that might survive as they move towards the east-southeast.

There isn’t a glaring sign though of widespread activity today.

Overnight, as I mentioned yesterday, we should see some additional activity develop. It may be a bit more widespread heading into the wee hours tomorrow through early afternoon. This may keep temperatures tomorrow cooler than today.

The weekend looks hotter as potentially some of the hottest weather of the year settles into the area, especially on Sunday.

The risk of rain for the weekend appears limited locally. We should be capping up on Sunday especially, so despite the hotter air mass and the extra humidity (higher dew points), there isn’t any real trigger to get things into motion it appears. It should feel a lot like summer this weekend.