Joe’s Weather Blog: That Spring feeling (MON-12/13)


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Of the many fascinating things about this warmth so far this month is that fact that even after a “cold” front comes through, we are still above average. Saturday was a case in point. Sure it was a strong front, blasting through with winds over 40 mph in spots, but we still got into the upper 40s that afternoon. The average is around 44 degrees.

So far this month is the seventh-warmest start to December and we’re on the upwards path through Wednesday. We’ll do the whole strong front thing again Wednesday evening into Wednesday night, but this time there is a bit more of a substantial cool down coming heading into the weekend. Nothing unusual though for December, just more seasonable air.

Still, no important snows showing up for a while.



Today: Mostly sunny and mild with highs in the lower 60s.

Tonight: Mostly clear and mild with lows in the 40° range.

Tomorrow: Increasing clouds and warmer. Windy too. Cloudy in the afternoon. Perhaps a few sprinkles around. Highs in the lower 60s. The record is 67° set back in 1933. The low clouds should keep that from happening.

Wednesday: Temperatures start the day in the 60° range and we end up in the 70s, again we’ll see if the lower clouds thin out a bit. The record is 68° in 2002. This record is attainable. The record warm low is 49° set back in 1888, one of our first records too! We may not get that depending on what we are at 11:59 p.m. that night after the passage of the front.



Let’s start with the events from this past Friday night: The devastating tornadoes, perhaps historic in some cases, that affected eastern Missouri down through the Tennessee Valley region.

64 reports of tornadoes. That should come down as we whittle away at the multiple reports highlighted by the long track “quad-state tornado” that went through parts of Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

They are evaluating that tornado and dozens of others for path length and strength. Already, several EF-3 tornadoes with winds of at least 136 mph have been documented. The quad-state tornado is at least an EF-3 and likely higher as the get into the nitty gritty of the destruction.

149 warnings were issued for nine different states that night and early morning.

The destruction from this has been incredible: Deaths from Illinois southwards.

The main tornado was an incredible long-lasting twister that went through four states. Back in 1925, the deadliest tornado known as the Tri State tornado went through three states and killed over 700.

This next graphic really highlights the evolution of the storm/tornado(s):

The research into the storm this week will determine if it was one tornado or a cycling tornado which faded then returned. If it was one tornado, this may have been the longest-tracked tornado in our weather history.

There are numerous videos of this storm at nighttime highlight by lightning, a bad situation for all involved.

On the Missouri side, tornadoes were around St. Louis, including the devastating one in Edwardsville, Illinois.

There will be comparisons to the Tri State tornado back in 1925, and you can see the communities potentially in the path of the Quad State tornado.

The death toll is expected to increase for Kentucky and elsewhere. It’s possible this may have been the deadliest tornado in history in Kentucky.

It must be pointed out that tornadoes in December are not that unusual, especially for that part of the country.

What made this outbreak more noteworthy is the violence of the twisters, and the shear number of them.

You can see before-and-after aerial pictures of the communities hit in the link on this tweet:

The reasons for the tornadoes were pretty clear. Why that one tornado lasted so long, perhaps more than 150 miles, will be researched… that really is rare. Supercells go through various transitions as they evolve and this affects the tornadic mechanisms so that tornadoes fade then can return. But for one to be on the ground at such intensity for so long is the rarest of things.


The story for us is the warmer air.

Strong south winds will be developing tomorrow morning and that means warmer air returning in force. It also means moisture coming up from the south, and that may prevent a record high for tomorrow due to lower clouds coming up near or after daybreak.

You can see the moisture down towards the Gulf Coast. It will race northbound later tonight.

Data this morning shows these low clouds coming up tomorrow morning. How solid the deck is will determine how warm we can get. Low-to-mid-60s seems reasonable. There is upside if the clouds are thinner or break up due to the stronger winds.

Then the winds get stronger heading into Wednesday. Gusts to 40-50 mph are possible and a high wind watch is in effect for areas from about Interstate 35 west and northwards.

If the clouds break up enough, we may pop into the mid-70s. The all-time high for December is 74 degrees.

Even starting the day we may be in the 60s! Here are the all-time December warm lows. Now if the front holds off until after midnight Thursday, we could break a record on this side as well.

The front may come through with more wind, and after 9 p.m. drop the late-evening temperatures.

The rain chances are there with the front but not great and coverage doesn’t look too good.

Then we turn cooler on Thursday but still near-or-above average.

I’ll be taking some time off this week so the blogs will be infrequent. Hopefully another one on Wednesday.

Our feature picture this morning is from Kevin Short.


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