KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After a frosty 33 degrees yesterday morning (and a record low to boot), it’s not nearly as chilly this morning thanks to south winds that are starting to transport milder air northwards. This morning we’re starting out in the lower 50s and by the end of the day temperatures should top off in the mid-to-upper 70s.

The winds will be increasing through the day and gusts may approach 35 mph in spots, so here comes the winds again. More on the wind situation in the discussion.

Meanwhile with the south winds, some gulf moisture will start working northwards. Combine that moisture with a developing storm system and a rather potent upper-level system on Friday, and the makings for at least some severe weather is taking shape, especially towards the west of the region. How much gets to our area Friday evening or night remains to be seen, but it’s a reminder that we’re coming into an active time of the year, typically.

It’s also a reminder that the metro, as a whole, has not been placed under a Tornado Watch since late May of 2019… a remarkable run of almost three years.

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Kansas City forecast:

Today: Sunny this morning with partly cloudy skies this afternoon. Turning windy too, with highs in the mid-70s.

Tonight: A few showers/storms possible before daybreak. Lows in the upper 50s. Breezy as well.

Tomorrow: Scattered showers/storms in the morning possible. It won’t rain all day though, and there should be noticeable dry time. Highs back in the 70s.

Friday: About the same, perhaps warmer too. A chance of early storms, then dry and windy. Watching for later evening activity. Highs may be in the mid-70s.

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Discussion:

Noticed a really nice sunset last night. It was enhanced by smoke in the atmosphere. That smoke came from a combination of rangeland burning in Kansas and Oklahoma, out of control wildfires in New Mexico and perhaps even some smoke from forest fires burning in Siberia on the other side of the Pacific Ocean in northern Russia.

These smoke particles help to enhance the sunset/sunrise colors. Why? Because the sun’s light actually contain many different colors and different wavelengths. With the setting/rising sun’s light traveling through more of the atmosphere (since the sun is low to the sky as opposed to when it’s right above us), this filters out the shorter wavelengths which contain the blues/greens and purples. So what’s left are the oranges, yellows and reds which reach your eyes. Add in more dust, or in this case smoke, and this helps to scatter the light even more, so the sunsets are more vivid too!

So now you know.

Thankfully, at least the winds were light yesterday adding to the nice afternoon. The winds are returning. Maybe not 45-plus mph gusts like what we’ve seen this year, but still increasing again. On that subject, take a look at this:

Strongest wind gusts for 2022 (so far).

There have been roughly 54 days with winds gusting to over 30 mph. I tried to crunch the last seven years and came up with an average through the April 25 of 39 days. Yes, the winds have been “gustier” that what we’ve seen over the last several years.

All that wind has led to dried out vegetation. This is less of an issue to some extent now, compared to several weeks ago because we’re starting to see a green up as the spring evolves (slowly).

Here is a look at the moisture during the year so far:

Daily precipitation data between January and April 2022 taken from KCI airport.

For the year, we’re actually close to average now, around 8 1/2 inches or so.

We should add to that over the coming days.

Rain chances go up near daybreak tomorrow morning, but it won’t rain all day. As a matter of fact, we may actually warm up to some extent, perhaps with a run towards the mid-70s. It won’t be a bad day overall.

Friday looks about the same too, at least during the day.

Severe weather chances on Friday in Kansas City

We’ll focus on a small, but potent upper-level system that will be coming into the western Plains Friday afternoon. Temperatures ahead of this feature will soar into the 90s in south central Kansas into Oklahoma.

4 p.m. temperatures from the NAM model

Instability will also be rather significant out towards central Kansas.

These are CAPES which show the levels of instability. The higher the number, especially over 2000, the more instability there is. Over 1000 is pretty decent as well.

Finally, add in the fact that the system will really increase how the air aloft fans out, what we call diffluence. When the air aloft fans out the air below, it has to rush in to replace that fanning out air. The end result is a LOT of lift.

X marks the spot where the air is REALLY diffluent (fanning out)

Initially, the atmosphere out there should be capped though. Warmer air at around 10,000 feet or below will keep the air parcels from punching through, but the cap will weaken as that warmer air is cooled down later in the day or in the evening.

Storms are expected to fire and they should become severe in central Kansas into southern Nebraska. They will move east-northeast at a decent speed too Friday evening.

How long they hold the strength remains to be seen as they approach eastern Kansas and western Missouri. They won’t arrive until nighttime when we are stabilizing, but it’s worth watching because the atmosphere will sort of be set up once again for stronger winds and perhaps even some of those overnight meso-vorticies.

Storm Prediction Center map showing severe weather risks Friday. The Kansas City metro is highlighted in yellow for slight risk. For us, this is likely an overnight event.

We’ll be watching this carefully, because as we know, this is now the beginning of the heart of severe weather season for the next 4-6 weeks here in the Plains.

The feature photo is from our camera in Olathe, Kansas yesterday evening as the sun was setting. It shows the vividness of the sunset that I started the blog with.

Joe