Joe’s Weather Blog: Heat breaking cold front creeps towards KC (THU-8/12)

Weather

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Yesterday for the fifth time this year we hit 98° officially in Kansas City. The heat index topped off around 110°. Just a nasty and hot day in the area. Winds were gusty during the morning. We also tied a record warm low temperature of 81°. That’s ties the record from 1918 for the 11th.

Today will be about the same. Hot, breezy and humid. There will be rain chances increasing later today and tonight especially. Storms, perhaps some strong to severe, will fire north of the metro and sag southwards with time. This will mark the end of the intense heat that has been with us for a few days.

The weekend looks more comfortable and not nearly as hot!

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Forecast:

Today: Mostly sunny, hot and humid. Breezy as well but not as windy as yesterday. Highs in the mid-to-upper 90s. Heat indices near 110° again. There may be a few isolated storms this afternoon north of the metro.

Tonight: Storms rapidly develop up north and sag southwards with locally heavy rains and potentially some small hail and gusty winds in the metro. The best severe weather risk will be closer to wherever the storms initially form. Lows in the lower 70s.

Tomorrow: Rain chances trend down during the morning. Variable clouds and not as hot with highs in the low-to-mid-80s.

The weekend: Lots of clouds around on Saturday then more sunshine sunshine. Not as hot with highs both days in the mid-80s.

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Discussion:

I thought I’d start with that tying of the record warm low temperature yesterday of 81°. Lows that warm up at KCI don’t happen all that often. Here are the most recent really warm morning lows going back to the mid-50s:

In the bigger picture though it was the 82nd-warmest low in Kansas City weather history.

The warmest was 87° back in 1930.

So interesting that we hit 98° for one minute apparently because at 2:05 p.m. yesterday, it dropped back to 97°. Five times we’ve hit 98°. For whatever reason we just can’t get above that number.

We’ll try again today, although I doubt we get there. If there is full-on sunshine, and enough wind, it’s essentially the same air that was with us yesterday, so it’s doable. Although clouds may have a bit more of an effect today on the highs. We hit 98° at 2:04 p.m. yesterday, so let’s see where we are by then. It won’t be as windy either compared to yesterday.

The front in question is up there still. It really hasn’t moved a lot in the past 24 hours.

Again the push to the front is really weak right now. We’re waiting on storms to fire up. Yesterday all the storms were well east of the Plains (mostly) so the front didn’t get a kick in the pants to push southwards. I expected that.

Today the challenge is: 1) when do storms fire in the heat, 2) how long do we get the storms, and 3) how do the storms themselves generate cooler air to force the front farther south and through the area. It’s not necessarily a clear cut forecast for timing today.

This morning there isn’t a lot of activity around the area except towards northeast Missouri. There is plenty of heat though. Here and elsewhere. Excessive heat warnings are in effect from coast to coast in the major cities it seems (not to that extent but there are over 57 million under that warning). From the big cities back east to the northwestern U.S., it’s toasty. All those areas in pink are in that warning. The orange is a heat advisory:

Records are dropping again (daily records) in the Pacific northwest and into western Canada. There may have been some all-time records set in this, but the heat from a few weeks ago broke so many all-time records that this heat blast can’t match up. But it’s a big heat blast for the northwest in the big picture of things.

We wait on relief.

Here is a look at radar today. Watch areas in northern Missouri for storm development as the day moves along.

The storms will have A LOT of instability to build with. Values will be way up there with dew points in the 70s and temperatures between 95-98° for most of the region. Depending on where the front sets up later today, things can blow up in areas to the north I think. With all the instability, it won’t take a lot for storms to create some gusty winds and potentially some quarter-size hail up there (or larger).

The Storm Prediction Center has this risk for today:

One of the many tricks today is when do storms actually fire up. Some model data actually has one wave of scattered storms coming through before 4 p.m., especially from Kansas City northwards, but I’m not confident in that. If storms are firing off towards Topeka, Kansas and westwards by noon, this can indeed happen. We’ll see about that prospect.

Then another wave comes through later this evening into tomorrow morning. The main shot of rain may well end up moving through before daybreak tomorrow. So that one of the model runs show this collage of rain amounts.

That’s 1-4 inches in the region for many areas. Doable for some I think. Not sure about the coverage above but I think it does show potential. There may be some training storms at times and that can jack up the rain amounts nicely. So some flash flooding won’t be shocking to me.

I’ve said time after time, when several days of consistent heat and high dew points are broken, it would be very unusual for nothing to happen. Typically it rains, and it rains a lot in spots. Let’s just see how things come together overnight.

Finally a few other tidbits.

There’s this really neat video of a drill bit tornado. Wait until the end of this:

And this… kind of fascinating.

In both cases, it shows just how small tornado circulations on the ground can be for at least a brief time. Literally wards across.

Finally, a lot of you didn’t get that test alert on your cell phones yesterday. Odds are it’s because depending on what phone you have, a setting or an opt-in needs to be set. If you missed the alert, here is how you can get them.

For iPhone users:

For Android users:

The feature photo comes from Sheila Jackson.

Joe

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