KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Last night was such a great night for civic pride in the Kansas City area. Between the good weather, the spectacular NFL Draft stage, the lightning and the huge crowds that watched the whole thing unfold, KC really should’ve have been proud of everything that was accomplished. It just looked wonderful on TV.
The concern for the week has been tonight from a weather standpoint and that concern remains. The hope is that there won’t be lightning associated with any of the activity that moves through the region, but as I mentioned yesterday on the blog, there is the potential for some lightning with whatever cells move through later this afternoon and this evening, especially within the first few hours of the activity moving through.
That is worrisome, because if you have tens of thousands of folks out there in the wide open, and lightning crops up, there really isn’t any safe place in quick fashion. Tents aren’t safe, all the buildings are closed to the public mostly around Union Station, and you will be vulnerable.
Please remember this and give yourself plenty of time to perhaps walk back to your car or another surrounding building if lighting develops. Really once you hear the sound of thunder, you become vulnerable.
Kansas City Forecast:
Today: Variable clouds, seasonable and not too bad through the early afternoon. Rain chances with some embedded thunderstorms are possible after about 3 p.m. or so moving in from the west and southwest. Highs well into the 60s.
Tonight: Rain ends during the evening and then partly cloudy skies. Lows dropping into the 40s.
Tomorrow: Windy and milder with highs near 70 degrees. Gusts may approach 25-30 mph. There is a small chance of a few storms later in the day with the front moving through.
Sunday: Partly cloudy, windy (gusts to 40 MPH) and cooler with highs in the upper 50s. An isolated shower is possible, mainly for northern Missouri.
The weather map this morning shows a cold front knifing through the middle of the country. Behind the front, the winds are going pretty good right now. Ahead of the front, the winds are pretty light. The front should approach KC later today and move through the region towards 5-7 p.m.
The timing, along with temperatures warming to near-70 degrees, and the fact that it doesn’t take a lot to get rain to fall during the spring around these parts, are conspiring to create problems for the NFL Draft tonight.
Showers and perhaps some thunderstorms should form near the front and perhaps some leftover rains behind the front this evening. For thousands heading down the the NFL Draft Experience and the Draft itself, it could be impactful later today.
Here is the front at 9 a.m. this morning.
Temperatures are starting the day near 60 degrees with some breaks in the clouds showing up now. We should get some sunshine to go to work and that will allow temperatures to warm up more today, probably well into the 60s
So the combination of a front moving through, temperatures well into the 60s, and dew points in the low-to-mid-50s will help to create some instability. Not a crazy amount though, which makes the forecast just a pinch more challenging from the thunderstorm standpoint.
The CAPE values (a measure of instability) are only forecast to be under 500, perhaps even under 300. That is pretty low and indicative of the weak (but still present) instability that will be around the region during peak heating later today. Hence the threat of some lightning (probably not widespread in the region) during at least the early portion of the evening.
The HRRR shows a product called lightning density. What’s important with regards to this situation is not to necessarily treat its locations for lightning as gospel, but to recognize the potential of some lightning with any cells that can be a bit more robust.
What time could it rain in Kansas City?
So really the best timing of any more robust cells would be roughly after 4 p.m. to about 8 p.m. There may be a few isolated showers ahead of this as well early in the afternoon.
Again it’s possible that the lightning can avoid the Union Station area, but any robust cell that can form will have the potential to generating some bolts of lightning.
So with that said, here is some safety information.
In the past there was a suggestion that if all else fails and a person can’t get to a safe location, that person could assume a lightning crouch. The position is almost like a baseball catcher, with a person covering the back of their head with their hands. The National Weather Service stopped recommending this position back in 2008 because of the concept that it really didn’t seem to help.
The strong recommendation is to get into a safe spot AHEAD of the incoming lightning.
We’ll try to help you via social media regarding this potential later this afternoon. As we say, “when thunder roars, go indoors.”
This cold front will be relatively weak. Tomorrow we’re popping again well into the 60s. Then the front that comes in later tomorrow into tomorrow evening will have a bit more of a bite to it. Temperatures on Sunday should be around 10 degrees cooler, but with the blustery winds blowing, it will be a cooler day for sure and there may be some added clouds to the mixture as well.
Early next week looks pretty nice.
Brook Kunkel has the feature photo for today from Leavenworth, Kansas.