KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A windy day on tap for the area with gusts to 40 mph (or higher) possible. That isn’t unusual for this time of the year as we see stronger surface storms move through the Plains, and a large change of pressure in the middle of the country.
Those large changes in air pressure, from high to low or low to high, create lots of wind… more on that in the discussion. Today and tomorrow though the winds will be from the south and that means some big time warmth in the area.
Last week I told you that today would likely be the warmest day of the spring so far, and it appears that is still on track. The warmest we’ve been is 83°. We should top that today.
Rain chances increase later tomorrow night but the severe weather risk never really goes up in our area (farther south maybe) but for us we’re dodging another risk of bigger storms. Odds are there won’t be severe storms here until at least next week, and even that isn’t set in stone.
Today: Partly cloudy and windy(!). Gusts to 40-plus mph possible and warm too with highs in the mid 80s.
Tonight: Fair and mild. Windy as well with lows well into the 60s.
Tomorrow: Partly cloudy and warm with highs 80-83°. Windy again. Gusts to 45 mph.
Wednesday: Rain and some storms likely. Not as warm and not windy. Highs in the 70s.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about the lack of severe storms. In my position, I’m not a fan of the coverage and the stress of them. So I’m not overly upset about the lack of big storms locally at least. I’ll be just fine watching them from afar.
Today will feature wind.
The morning map shows high pressure in southeast Canada and low pressure in the western Plains.
The solid black lines with the numbers on them are called isobars. Those are lines of equal pressure. Notice the lines go from about 1018 millibars in southeast Missouri to 1002 millibars in northwest Missouri. That is a large pressure change in Missouri. About 4/10″ on a barometric scale. That is a lot and when you get that many isobars in a “short” distance, you get a lot of wind.
The winds are created by something that you learned in school back in the day called the pressure gradient force. It’s the atmosphere’s way of trying to equalize and wind is created. In this case, a lot of wind is created and with slow moving features, the wind is sustained.
As the gradient force relaxes on Wednesday, the winds will subside. Until then though, lots of wind!
As mentioned, with south winds temperatures are going up, up, up today despite clouds filtering out the sunshine. All that wind creates a lot of mixing, and the air above us is warm so that warm air is heated even more and sinks. As it gets closer to the ground it warms up even more, sending our temperatures up!
So that’s why it’s going to be windy and warm too!
Now these same south winds will be increasing the dew points… surface moisture coming up from the south. Our dew points this morning are near 50°, but they will jump into the 60s soon.
The morning map shows the 60s dew points down in Texas with gulf moisture bringing up the thicker air.
This moisture will stream north today.
So we’ll have warmth and moisture, two ingredients to storms. Now we need a trigger.
That is more muddled. A week or so ago I was tracking a large upper-level storm off Alaska. Well here we are five to six days later, it’s in the western U.S.
Notice though where the storm goes, all the way down towards southwest Texas… it really isn’t doing a lot for us locally. During the winter that would be a killer for significant snows here and during the spring that may well be a killer for significant severe weather risks locally.
Storms should fire farther south and move north-northeast/northeast. We’ll get rain from them but while there may be some thunderstorms, the risk of severe weather seems to be rather low for us.
The severe weather risk is farther south of here later tomorrow.
Then on Wednesday a cold front is going to work through the area during the morning. That is bad timing for strong storms in this situation and essentially there won’t be enough instability to get vigorous storms going locally. There may be some stronger storms down south of Kansas City though towards the Lakes region, so it’s worth paying attention too.
Overall the heaviest rains from this will be south of the area.
I’m not yet convinced about us getting over an inch of rain from this whole thing. The 2-4 inch totals south of here may wander even farther south as we get closer to things playing out.
While early, it does look like next weekend will be nice.
There may be another system to watch for on the 3rd/4th.
Overall though it appears the first 10 days of May will trend milder than average.
Today is an interesting day in tornado history. Back in 1991, there was the Andover, Kansas tornado.
That was an F5.
In 2011 this happened…
It was the day before the infamous Tuscaloosa, Alabama tornado. All part of a devastating three days of tornadoes in the southeast part of the country killing hundreds.
Our feature photo comes from Austin Hamilton up in Iowa.