Joe’s Weather Blog: We’re not done with the rain (TUE-5/18)


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Well the forecast has more or less worked out as expected… occasional bouts of rain with mist and drizzle every so often as well. Temperatures have remained below average for highs and we’ll gradually come off that over the next few days.

The rain situation is a bit nebulous. Today the chances aren’t too high for any one spot except for areas off towards the east of the Metro this morning. This afternoon, while there will be some scattered activity out there, nothing really is set. Then tonight the chances increase more as a series of disturbances come back up from the south.

We’re essentially in this until about Friday, then the hope is that the rain chances get to be more scattered for the weekend.

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Today: Lots of clouds with a few showers around. We should start seeing some breaks in the afternoon with temperatures warming up into the mid-70s.

Tonight: Showers with a few rumbles are possible. Lows in the lower 60s.

Tomorrow: A bit more of an iffy day with showers and storms around. Highs in the mid-70s.

Thursday: A reduction in the coverage of the rain to some degree. The chances remain at around 60% though. Highs in the mid-70s.



This is the 24th rainiest start to the spring season in Kansas City, depending on what happens today. We’re now up to 11.53 inches of rain since March 1 with the .02 of an inch from overnight.

Today will be sort of an OK day. Hopefully we break up the clouds a bit this afternoon because it’s tough to dry things out when the we’re very humid and moist in the area.

The pattern continues to favor these weak disturbances coming up from the south and moving up the State Line region. Every time one of these things comes up, it could trigger showers/storms and since the atmosphere is so loaded with moisture, you get some locally heavy downpours.

The disturbances will be spawned by an upper-level system in the southwest U.S. that will gradually move into the southern part of Texas over the next 24 hours. It’s sort of being deflected there by a developing ridge in the eastern U.S. This will bring some hot and muggy weather to the eastern U.S. heading into the weekend, especially from the mid-Atlantic southwards.

Every time there is a spoke around that upper-level storm (and there are lots of spokes), rain and storms form down south and then move northwards around the circulation. How well they hold together will determine how we get rain locally.

The morning run of the HRRR shows one of these spokes coming up from the south during the evening. So while most of the day should be dry, after about 7-8 p.m. or so tonight the chances start to increase again from the south to the north.

For timing: 18Z is 1PM…21Z is 4PM…0Z is 7PM and 3Z is 10PM

Depending on what disturbances come up tomorrow, that will dictate the rain chances. If the focus is more towards the west of here, perhaps we don’t get too much tomorrow. Same with Thursday. We just have to take that one day at a time.

As we head towards the end of the week, there are some signs that the ridge of heat back east will “retrogress” or push westwards a bit. That should deflect these little disturbances farther west and with the upper-level system falling apart, odds are we’ll see drier weather, but warmer and more humid weather over the weekend.

There are other stories in the world of weather, including big rains yesterday in Lake Charles and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Yesterday Lake Charles had 12.49 inches of rain. In just one day. There was no hurricane or tropical storm causing this. Just a persistent and slow-moving cluster of storms. This was one of their wettest May days on record and one of the wettest overall days. And when you consider all the tropical systems over the years, that is impressive.

Look at all the big one-day rain totals down there over the decades and notice how many have come since 2000:

Again that doesn’t include yesterday, which goes up to No. 3 in the rankings for all time.

West Texas had a busy severe weather day. Tornadoes and big hail were an issue. There weren’t a lot of tornadoes but the storms that created the bigger severe weather were quite photogenic. Look at this timelapse from a station in Lubbock.

This is a “low precipitation” (LP) supercell. They are rare here. We get the “high precipitation” (HP) supercells because we have so much more moisture in our atmosphere in most cases compared to western Texas.

The storm farther south and east towards Sterling and Forsan, Texas was the one to be chasing.

Here is another view:

Here’s another one from Sunday that eventually produced a tornado in Sudan, Texas.

So at least for the last few days, West Texas is the place to be for searching for tornadoes. At this point there isn’t a strong indication of a northwards shift to this at least into the weekend. Next week there might be an opportunity for some stronger organized storms locally.

There is one thing though that I wonder about. When we have a LOT of moisture in the atmosphere, like for example tomorrow, and we have this little areas of “vorticity” in the atmosphere as well helping to create lift and storms, sometimes (and again this is just sometimes), I’ve seen instances around here where we get funnel clouds from various storms through out boundaries that other storms interact with. On rare occasion in non-descript scenarios, you can get weird funnels to develop with such low cloud bases.

Again that’s needle-in-the-haystack stuff but if it were to happen, it would be tomorrow or Thursday. It’s rare for this to happen at all and rarer at night. So if it happens, usually it’s in the mid-to-late afternoon hours only if the instability is converted to storms and only if other VERY localized phenomena comes together.

Sandra Cox has the feature photo today… looks like a beautiful rose!


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