Joe’s Weather Blog: Summer and storms (WED-8/18)

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Yesterday was an interesting day: One of the first days of the summer that storms generated widespread outflows that fueled additional storms, that then generated outflows and fueled additional storms. Despite all that, many areas got no rain and just dramatic-looking clouds while some areas had almost 2 inches of rain and 40-50 mph winds in some of the slow moving to non-moving storms just dropping rain in one spot.

It was for sure a weather geek day for clouds and rain shafts, as we were geeking out at 5 and 6 p.m. yesterday watching the clouds and rains move through the area on our tower cameras.

Today may be somewhat similar but I don’t think as “widespread” as yesterday. More miss than hit I think, but the same outcome could again happen today and for that matter tomorrow too.

The common denominator though through the weekend is more typical summer heat for the area.

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Forecast:

Today: Sunshine, then partly cloudy with isolated storms possible in the afternoon. Highs near 90°.

Tonight: Clearing out and seasonable with lows in the upper 60s to near 70.

Tomorrow: More of the same.

Friday: More of the same with an uptick in the rain chances though but NOT an all-day rain. Highs well into the 80s.

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Discussion:

Lots to talk about today: Sort of a recap of yesterday, the tropics, the fires… a busy blog coming.

The rain yesterday was scattered, but there were some flat-out downpours yesterday that eventually faded away after about 7 p.m. or so (rather quickly too). Here is a look at some of the rain totals via MRMS data:

You can see how there were sharp cutoffs to the haves and have nots. The Johnson County scenario yesterday highlights that. Notice the small corridor (from east to west) of the rain. It decreased markedly as the rain faded going northwards, but notice we’re talking a few miles of coverage east and west and very little to nothing outside of that.

Meanwhile the area of Platte County, Missouri and Wyandotte County, Kansas really had themselves a day. Or perhaps an afternoon.

Lots of 1.5 to almost 2-inch totals in there too.

It really felt like a Florida day. Near 90° with storms popping, then the outflows (sort of like mini-cold fronts) spread out in the rain-cooled air, which then collide and come into the hot and unstable air sparking new convection. It can become a repetitive process, which it did yesterday in parts of the area. As a matter of fact, if my memory serves, the stronger convection into Platte and Wyandotte counties were helped along by an outflow coming up from the south, which helped to create the narrow rain coverage in Johnson County, Kansas. Take a look at radar from that time period and watch those thin lines in the data spread away from the storms. That’s outflow or rain-cooled air.

What happens in time is that rain-cooled air moves out ahead of the storms, then the storms start sucking in the rain-cooled air, which then slowly kills the storm. That’s what happened in Johnson County, but along the leading edge that outflow can help fuel a developing storm even more and make it really pop, and that’s what happened in Platte and Wyandotte counties.

Just fascinating stuff and great clouds.

OK moving on.

Fred has been a mess of a storm. Heavy rains in the east has lead to terrible flash flooding, especially in the western Carolinas.

There are some 6-10 inch totals which, combined with the mountainous areas, is a big problem.

Severe weather was a bigger issue too. At least 10-20 reports of tornadoes have been received, all because of Fred.

Overall, almost 70 tornado warnings issued.

Meanwhile Grace is out there and getting stronger, and may become a hurricane today as it moves westwards and will threaten the Yucatan Peninsula and eventually central Mexico.

Lots of flooding as the main issue. This is from Jamaica.

Henri is out there as well near Bermuda which may in the end become the stronger hurricane of the two.

It’s smaller for now, a swirl of clouds well off the southeast U.S coastline.

Also note the HUGE swath of African dust in the central and tropical Atlantic. A lot of times that can lower tropical development chances out there. By the way, assuming Grace becomes a hurricane, it would be roughly eight days ahead of average for the season’s second hurricane.

Meanwhile out west… fires. More bad ones due to stronger winds, which developed yesterday.

This Caldor fire is going be be a problem down the road.

In Arizona, more rain. They’ve had themselves quite the monsoon season out there. Of course when there are burn scars from previous fires, that leads to this near Flagstaff.

Obviously they knew it was coming judging from all the sandbags that were ready and in place. Still incredible to see.

Our weather isn’t going to change a lot it appears. I do think there are some hotter days coming next week, especially Monday and Tuesday. A run into the mid-90s likely with some upside perhaps. I don’t think we get to 100°, but some areas may be sniffing that out.

Periodic rain chances as well. Nothing overwhelming showing up at this point until perhaps later next week. Although with the continued chance of popups in the afternoon and perhaps a bit more Friday night, we should get some decent rain coverage over the coming days.

Whew, that’s a lot. Hope you enjoyed the blog today. The feature photo comes from Laura Crawford up in Smithville, Missouri. Great example of the many rain shafts that were out there yesterday.

Joe

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