Joe’s Weather Blog: Longer term heat with lots of smoke in the air (WED-7/21)

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Good Wednesday everyone… on a smoky start to the day in the area. Yesterday, I was looking at the sky (as I often do) and remarked that I didn’t remember seeing so much smoke in the air in the 25+ years since I’ve been in Kansas City. It was pretty impressive in the afternoon seeing in it on the satellite and watching it rotate into the region and then looking outside.

The smoke is still there, and you really notice it at sunrise and sunset times.

The slow warming will continue with temperatures approaching 90 for the next couple of days and then getting into the 90s over the weekend. There may be some scattered showers/storms around on Sunday and perhaps Monday (slightly better chance) to knock down the heat somewhat. After that though, the heat comes back and gets stronger heading into the end of next week.

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Forecast:

Today: Hazy sunshine and seasonable. Highs in the upper 80s.

Tonight: Fair skies and mild with lows near 70°.

Tomorrow: Mostly sunny and seasonable with highs around 90°. Breezy as well.

Friday: A bit warmer with highs in the lower 90s.

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Discussion:

This was from yesterday afternoon…

And this morning…

So there is the reason it’s so hazy looking. I haven’t smelled any of the smoke, so it is still well above us, but it is descending towards the ground in the eastern US.

This was New York yesterday…

Back home into Kansas City, this is what the city looks like on a clear and clear air day…

This is what it looks like now…

No doubt a big difference out there.

You can see the expanse of all the smoke moving around North America on the model guidance for later this afternoon.

All this smoke is coming out of Canada and the western U.S.

As of yesterday…

Wildfire activity continues in 13 states where 83 large fires have burned 1,293,636 acres. More than 19,300 wildland firefighters and support personnel are assigned to incidents. Type 1 and Type 2 incident management teams are assigned to 35 large fires and complexes via the Fire Center.

You can see all the fires that are going out there, with the gray shading representing the smoke, you can see how much of the country is seeing smoke.

So far 2.6 million acres have gone up in smoke this year from over 35,000 fires. That is about the size of Delaware and Rhode Island COMBINED.

To give you another perspective, the Interstate 435 Loop encompasses some 250,000 acres of land.

250,000 acres of land.

The fires have burned through 2.6 million(!) acres of land. That’s about 10 time more land that within the I-435 loop and look at all the smoke.

Another perspective: Our viewing area is roughly 13 million acres, from the Iowa border to southern Henry County to west of Garnett and Ottawa to up to far northeast Kansas. So all these fires this year have encompassed roughly and area the size of 20% of our viewing region.

The wafts of smoke may eventually get over to Greenland and then Europe. The Canadian fires are also a HUGE contributor to all this as well. 500,000 acres have burned in Canada so far. They’ve had more fires than their 10-year average this year but interestingly they seen less acres burn compared to their 10-year average (so far).

So now you know more than you want to about all the smoke in the skies!

Onwards. Building heat.

Nothing out of the norm really, we’re into the hottest time of the year and we’re adding a few degrees here and there over the coming days, eventually well into the low-to-mid-90s for the weekend with heat indices closing in on 100-105°.

There may be some relief though before the bubble of more intense heat moves in starting a week from today or tomorrow. There are continued signs, as I mentioned yesterday about at least some vague rain chances showing up on Sunday, and especially Monday of next week. This may knock down the temperatures and give at least some areas some needed moisture. Obviously we’ll have to see how this plays out, but at least the chance is showing up.

This will be connected to a weak boundary that may migrate far enough south into the heat and high dew points to generate storms. There may also be some mid-upper air disturbances helping the cause, and with dew points in the 70-75° range potentially (especially if there is a front around where the moisture can pool along/ahead of the front) then we could get some good rain-makers. Add in a few outflow boundaries and there may be some decent coverage.

Again five days out, but increasing chances.

Then after that, the heat builds in big time as we see a big dome of higher pressure aloft move into the region. This is a typical heat wave generator for the area with higher heat and dew points. This may start a week from today and go into NEXT weekend. We may approach or exceed 100° with this, but a lot will depend on how much the soil bakes out and that may be determined by the rain situation on Monday.

So a lot and a little happening out there at the same time.

The feature photo comes from Michael Legel showing us the almost full moon and the reddish tinge connected to the wildfire smoke.

Joe

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