Joe’s Weather Blog: Don’t get used to the nice weather today (FRI-4/9)

Weather

It’s going to be a wonderful finish to the work week… during the daylight today at least. Clouds will start to develop and move through this afternoon and eventually after sunset tonight, the rain chances go up. By midnight, or earlier, rain should be around the region.

This will be about a 12-15 hour rain for the area, and the amounts may be decent. 1/2″ to 1 1/2″ are possible from this system on top of the near 1″ from the last system. That is good moisture in April.

After this system though, and aside from some showers (maybe) on Monday, it will dry out next week it appears, with cooler days coming into the area and likely some frosty mornings as well next week.

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Forecast:

Today: Sunny this morning with increasing afternoon clouds. Highs in the lower 70s with light winds.

Tonight: Rain arrives after sunset with breezy conditions developing as well. Storms are possible to likely mixed in with the rain. Temperatures drop into the mid 40s.

Tomorrow: Rain (some locally heavy) in the morning. Hopefully moving away after lunch but the first part of the day looks unpleasant. Hopefully things will improve after 1-3 p.m. or so. Highs will cool off to the 55-60° range with some sunshine later in the day. Those highs may not come until 6 p.m. or so.

Sunday: Wonderful, with highs in the 70s.

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Discussion:

Up and down we go… Today and Sunday will be similar for weather and temperatures and are the two best days for the next week or so.

Tonight and tomorrow though, especially through lunch… not so pleasant.

As we get rid of the storm from the last couple of days, we bring in another rather potent upper-level system that will change our weather overnight.

You can see this system developing already in the Rockies. It will come into the Plains later today and tonight and spread right on top of the Kansas City area.

One good way of tracking this feature is by going up to about 18,000 feet, or what we refer to as the 500 mb level in the atmosphere. Here is a snipit from NOAA of the importance of this level:

This is an important parameter to meteorologists because it is in the middle of the atmosphere. The 500mb height is the height at which the pressure is 500mb. When the 500mb height is low, there is low pressure at the surface, and when the 500mb height is high, there is high pressure at the surface.

So let’s look at the progress of the U-shaped trough or dip in the jet stream.

Now also notice all the reds and pinks showing up. This represents vorticity. Vorticity is the tendency for the air to spin or rotate in the broad sense for this representation. When air spins or rotates it creates rising air beneath it. Rising air is lift, and lift gets you clouds and precipitation if the lift is significant enough and broad enough. And for tonight, both scenarios will be met handsomely.

Notice as well how the U-shape closes off into a circle. That is a developing upper-level circulation/storm that moves through the region. If this would be the dead of winter and the atmosphere was colder, we’d be looking at a significant winter storm/snow locally, probably a rain-to-snow event.

There isn’t enough cold air above us to do that though, so instead there is just rain.

Two areas of rain/storms will be developing: one towards southern Kansas and Oklahoma where some of those storms in Oklahoma may be severe too later today with hail being the main threat, and another will develop from the developing upper-level storm in the Plains. We’ll dabble in both areas but the upper-level storm as it approaches tomorrow morning will be the main culprit in the heavier rain potential.

For all the above animations for timing purposes: 18Z is 1 p.m, 0Z is 7 p.m., 6Z is 1 a.m. and 12Z is 7 a.m.

With the upper-level storm pivoting through tomorrow, we’ll not only get the front-side rain but also the wrap-around rain. In the winter this would be the snow part of the storm. For tomorrow morning, it will be the steady and potentially heavy rain part of the storm.

Overnight data indicates a pretty large swath of 1 to 1 1/2″ of rain from this.

Perhaps heaviest to the southeast of Kansas City where over 2″ may fall and that will depend on how much rain from the Oklahoma/southeast Kansas storms make it into the area later this evening.

It’s an impressive system on the heels of the system from the last couple of days. Kansas is doing really well on the moisture side over the last week and thensome.

And this is on the heels of a wet March and a pretty wet start to the year overall. Look at this:

While the northern Plains are getting really dry (it was the driest first three months of the year in record-keeping data in North Dakota), in Kansas is was the eighth-wettest and in Missouri it was the 20th-wettest start to the year.

This rain that comes into the region may have to last us awhile. There are questionable rain chances later next week and the seven-day totals of rain from Sunday into next Sunday aren’t too great.

Keep in mind that we’re about a month away from coming into the wettest time of the year as we head towards mid-May and June.

Of issue as well for next week will be the overall “cool” weather that will be highlighted by some pretty chilly mornings in the 30s.

Average temperatures for Monday through next Sunday.

OK that will do it today. I’ll probably get a blog out tomorrow with the rain moving through.

Our feature photo comes from Matthew Smith.

Joe

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