It’s the ‘It always misses my house’ season again

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This is an article I could probably write at least 4 times per year, but the opportunity hasn’t presented itself in a while.  We’ve been in one of those patterns where 20, 30, and 40% rain chances are quite frequent.  But if you look at most people’s lawns, or anything that’s not regularly watered, it’s probably getting much drier.  As a whole, we haven’t seen too much widespread rain of late.  Yes, I know you’re looking at this in Lawrence or other areas in Douglas County like “What are you talking about?”  That was also part of this pattern, which we’ll get to later on.

This is something a lot of you probably rely on: the standard phone weather app.  I check it once in a while just to see what it actually says in comparison to what I’m saying or thinking.  I think it’s a decent metric for simple weather patterns and trends, but that’s probably about the end of it for me.  Don’t you look at these icons and think it’s going to rain all day? I bet when you’ve seen these icons over the last two weeks, it’s rained a collected 1/10″ and you’ve cursed US and not this app, am I right?  If I am wrong, then you’re already ahead of the game.

Here’s the FOX 4 Weather App for comparison.  It looks a LITTLE bit different.  Do you expect me to go into a long spiel about how our weather app is SO much better and that you should download it right away? I’m not here for that either.  The difference between the two in this case involves control.  For the most part, I can manipulate the specifics with this one. I will say, even with this, the percentages get a little wonky.  I didn’t put 80% for Thursday and yet there it is.  But you can actually select each day and see what one of us has typed.  I think that’s helpful.  Most people don’t do that.  Once again, if you do, you’re ahead of the game.

Why do we have this unsettled weather pattern and how come it’s been so difficult to forecast recently?  We’ve got this strong seasonal high pressure dome of heat in the southwestern United States.  This is a pretty common setup for this time of year, and it generally draws up gulf moisture from the Sea of Cortez and thunderstorms develop along the mountains with the heating of the day.  The reason this impacts us is because the main circulation of “larger” storms is well to the north.  I would consider these much more “predictable” storms. We have these smaller disturbances and old clusters of storms that come together to interact with our Gulf of Mexico moisture supply and create these “scattered” days.  On one of these 20, 30, or 40% chance days, you may get 5″ of rain and it’s a bit shocking.  Just because the percentage is low, doesn’t mean the other variables that go into the storm have no consequence.  In fact, I’d argue this makes our weather app a bit more useful because one of the 4 of us always update the web forecast and that usually explains whatever we’re talking about in terms of those “scattered” rain chances a bit better.

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This Tuesday night as I’m writing this, for example, we’ve got one of those clusters of storms heading toward our area overnight.  At the moment, this certainly looks like it will deliver some much needed rain for the first part of the day Wednesday.

I would expect this in the early morning hours to impact the metro and most of our viewing area.  Once again though, I think there are going to be a few areas that pick up some significant rainfall overnight.  Some areas could get a quick 2″ of rain overnight and some may get only 1/3″ or less.  That’s the way these systems are going to set up over the next few days, so expect a lot of variables to change.

Rain may linger into lunchtime tomorrow and on the MO side for a bit longer as well.  Recall that 87 degree temp from above?  If it’s still raining like this on the MO side tomorrow, or anywhere for that matter, you’re not likely going to get above 80.  I personally think the sun comes out later in the day and we heat up pretty quickly regardless.  Notice how quickly a few of these variables will change things a significant amount? These are just a few things that are: 1) Hard to explain in my 2-3 min time frame on TV,  2)Explain in any capacity on ANY weather app.

To wrap up my TED talk, I’ll tell you that Thursday looks to be a bit more cloudy in comparison to Wednesday.  Another one of those large complexes of storms moves in overnight and the cloud cover probably stays with us a lot of the day.  I’m still expecting a large portion of the area to get 1-3″ of rain as a general rule.  There will be some areas that may not even get 1/2″ by the end of the weekend, and there could be a few areas that get over 5″ of rain.  This weather pattern is very unpredictable and will likely change again soon.  Just don’t expect a simple “yes” or “no” answer to the question “Will my house get rain tonight?” question anytime soon!

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