Joe’s Weather Blog: Our one severe weather risk in 2+ months (WED-5/26)

Weather Blog

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Did you catch any of the eclipse? I didn’t… I was sound asleep… Heard it was OK though. Clouds and some fog were an issue for some though. Meanwhile today actually, from a weather standpoint may be a shockingly dry day in the area. The rain chances look to be under 10% for a change. Yesterday, while there weren’t many showers/storms around, where they were though, there were some pretty good downpours.

Tonight and tomorrow are both the main timeframes that we’ll be watching for stronger storms and potentially some severe weather. In a season of no severe weather, this is about our best chance in over two months, yet there is no “classic” setup for the metro area at this point.

A lot of this is dependent on what happens in the wee hours of tonight and tomorrow morning and how a evolving complex of storms moves through the region and how is messes up and reorganizes the atmosphere around us.

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Forecast:

Today: Partly cloudy and warm with highs in the mid-80s.

Tonight: A dry evening through at least 2 a.m. or so, then storm risks increase in the area. Some storms early Thursday may contain 30-60 mph winds. Other threats are much much smaller at this point. Lows in the upper 60s.

Tomorrow: Storms in the early morning, then the question becomes how long does the clouds and rain stick around and how warm do we get from there. If in the 80s, we should see at least some renewed convection in the later afternoon after 4 p.m. If we remain a lot cooler, that will be tough to achieve because of lower instability. If we do get the bigger storms in the late afternoon, winds and hail will be the main concerns with a much smaller tornado threat, especially south of the Metro.

Friday: Cool! Upper 40s in the morning with mid-to-upper 60s in the afternoon.

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Discussion:

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I’m told thousands have already done this and we’re just announcing it today really. So get aboard!

OK so about the storms… These have been talked about for awhile so you’re aware of the chances and the risks. We’re on the lookout overnight and tomorrow for flash flooding, some stronger winds, and during the afternoon hail and perhaps a tornadic storm or two.

This DOES NOT mean that there will be tornadoes tomorrow locally. There are a lot of things that need to happen for that chance to become stronger and of all the risks, the tornado risk is the smallest. We’ve been very wet so the flash flooding risk is the highest. The strong wind risk is highest in the AM (although the storms may be weakening as they come towards Kansas City) and in a more isolated fashion, the strong wind risk increases with storms in the afternoon.

The hail risk is low in the AM, but higher in the PM if storms get beefier. The tornado risk is low in the AM and a bit higher in the PM, but that too is dependent on a lot of other things happening which may not even happen locally at least.

For areas south of Kansas City, perhaps the last two risks will be a bit higher, especially the tornadic risk. Again it really depends on how things come together. Why the murkiness on this?

Well, we’re trying to predict something that doesn’t exist (afternoon renewed storms) based on another thing that doesn’t exist (tonight’s thunderstorm complex). So you know, it’s tough to do.

Model data isn’t surprising to me. It’s trying to figure out how the overnight storms, whenever they arrive (likely after 3 a.m.), either purges out the atmosphere or doesn’t. Typically storms that arrive near daybreak and blast through cleanse the atmosphere out for the rest of the day, especially during this time of the year.

Storms that come in earlier could get out earlier, allowing more instability to rebuild later in the day and that is the conundrum facing us on this early Wednesday morning.

The Storm Prediction Center has us in a slight risk (level 2 of 5) for tomorrow afternoon…

… with an enhanced risk on the south side (level 3).

This information will be updated this afternoon.

So the south side of the Metro is in it for sure.

At this point, I’m not overly thrilled by this setup locally at least. There are several things that I don’t like in terms of the tornadic potential (this is a good thing). One thing that may be missing from this for tornadoes is a southeast wind component ahead of the storms in the afternoon. Data today shows more of a southwest wind component ahead of whatever develops in the heat of the afternoon tomorrow. That different wind direction reduces the “spin” in the lower levels of the atmosphere.

You can still get beefy storms with enough instability but it may reduce the tornadic scenario. The instability issue though will be determined by the heating that takes place and some data suggests that we could pop to around 80°. Some data shows even warmer temperatures. That would lead to higher CAPES, or available convective potential energy.

Here are two models showing the CAPES. Again, this is dependent on us drying out and warming up enough to get the instability to bubble up.

The HRRR model. 3000+ CAPES is pretty impressive
Hi-Res NAM model. Notice the placement of the higher values.

If the storms overnight don’t plunge through and don’t rearrange the atmosphere a lot, then the risks of all modes of severe weather would be farther north and more into the metro area. That is on the table as well and shouldn’t be discounted.

Certainly not a “classic” setup for the KC area, but something to watch for.

My general feelings regarding the tornadic potential to the southeast of the Metro and south is that is it a bit higher. I think areas including Lafayette County, Johnson County and Cass County on the Missouri side to Miami County and Anderson County in Kansas and points south need to really watch this evolution tomorrow.

The Storm Prediction Center is actually a bit more bullish farther south than I am. They’ve increased the risks towards Oklahoma and southeast Kansas.

A cold front will help to spark off the renewed convection after 3 p.m. or so tomorrow as it barrels in the area. That will change the weather considerably into the holiday weekend.

My hope is that the team and I are just dealing with severe thunderstorm/flash flood warnings around here and just waiting for something worse that hopefully doesn’t get issued at all. But we’ll be ready to break into programming just in case.

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The feature photo is of the eclipse from this morning from the @PeopleOfCowtown.

Joe

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