Joe’s Weather Blog: Wet pattern continues with a drier weekend (maybe) (THU-5/20)


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Today is an interesting date in severe weather history. On this date in 2013, there was an EF5 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma. It was a devastating tornado that killed 24 people, destroyed over 1,100 homes and did about $2 billion dollars in damage. Winds were estimated to be around 210 mph.

Why am I bring that up? There hasn’t been a EF5 tornado since then. An amazing run of more than 2,900 days in a row without an EF5 tornado. Simply astounding. There have been EF4s, but no confirmed EF5s. No one is complaining about that, but it’s the longest stretch in our short tornado weather history.

Today we add another day to go to No. 1 on the above list I believe.

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Today: Mostly cloudy with scattered areas of showers around and the potential of storms and some heavier rains this afternoon once again lingering into the early evening. Some thunderstorm activity is possible as well. Highs in the mid-70s.

Tonight: The rain should move away with clouds and breezy conditions. Lows in the mid to upper 60s.

Tomorrow: Once again about the same although the activity may not be as widespread. Warmer too with some extra sunshine. Highs near 80°.

This weekend: While this may change right now, the bulk of the weekend looks OK. We won’t be capped though and I can’t rule out some scattered storms in the region during the afternoon in the heat of the day as temperatures warm up to the low-to-mid-80s with pretty humid conditions.



That opening part of the blog is pretty amazing really. With the upcoming anniversary of the Joplin, Missouri tornado that occurred in 2011 and was one of 6(!) EF5 tornadoes that year alone, to go this long without one… pretty remarkable.

Take a look at this radar replay:

F5/EF5 tornadoes are rare things, but they have been even rarer since this tornado. Now it’s possible that there were a couple since then (there obviously have been some violent tornadoes), but it basically says that there wasn’t damage correlating to EF5 status.

The chart above is a numbered list of F5 and EF5 tornadoes since 1950. The number represents the sequential number of the storm since 1950. Basically, lower numbers are the earlier storms with higher numbers closer to the present, or really closer to 2013. No. 59 is the Newcastle-Moore tornado.

An amazing streak that right now shows no signs of ending anytime soon.

There were actually 12 tornado reports up in the Upper Midwest yesterday, including Minnesota. That brings our May total to around 180.

Data through yesteday morning

Here are the reports so far this year. Again, this doesn’t include the Minnesota action yesterday.

Notice the dearth of activity in Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa.

Next week MAY be a bit more active, but still no overwhelming signals for outbreaks in the Plains… but worth monitoring.

For us locally, these last few days have been frustrating and folks are getting cranky because it’s tough to make outdoor plans with these in-and-out rains. You’re looking at the yard and wondering when you can mow because the grass isn’t getting any shorter. The cool-ish weather is ideal for bluegrass to take off and that’s what were seeing out there.

The rain has been plentiful… for some areas too much. Last night, the focus was about two counties west of the State Line.

And over the last 30 days, the anomalies are impressive, especially south of the region.

This is through yesterday

That Upper Midwest area is just brutally dry and the drought worsens up there.

And it’s spreading eastwards as well into the Great Lakes.

Those are severe drought conditions in southwest Michigan and near and north of Chicago.

These last seven days though (through yesterday) haven’t been great.

All that red is 3 inches or more of rain.

Today is sort of like yesterday. There are a lot of clouds out there and we’ll see how unstable we get this afternoon. But if you start seeing breaks in the clouds and we warm up to the mid-70s, storms and locally heavy rains are possible once again before the evening.

Radar shows this…

And locally…

Our short range models indicate eastern Kansas may be more vulnerable to heavier rains than the Missouri side. We’ll see how things play out.

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

There is still the chance of more rain tomorrow, and then we’ll see how strong the ridge off to the east builds into the region for the weekend. Hopefully strong enough to pop some clouds but NOT allow convection to build in a widespread fashion. There may be some scattered or worse storms out there. I’m not convinced though that this will be a perfectly dry weekend.

Actually, most of the model data has at least some rain in the area over the weekend at times.

Next week won’t be overly dry either. So mow when you can and get those walks in while you can.

Our feature photo comes from Bradley Scott up towards the Smithville area.


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