The Cycling Weather Pattern & This Storm

/The Cycling Weather Pattern & This Storm

The Cycling Weather Pattern & This Storm

Good morning bloggers,

This approaching storm is likely going to struggle to produce the organized thunderstorms over eastern Kansas and western Missouri.  Remember the ice storm that didn’t quite come together near KC?  Kansas City still ended up with one of its wetter winter storms and we are expecting some heavy rain tonight.

Kansas City Weather Time-Line:

  • This morning: Dry with a a few clouds spreading overhead. There is a slight chance of a rain shower.
  • This afternoon: Dry in most areas with a slight chance of a shower or thunderstorm. High:  82°
  • Tonight: A 70% chance of thunderstorms. A few spots will likely have heavy rain with up to 2″ possible. Many other areas will have either no rain at all or under 0.50″.

Mid-Term Exam:

I have an LRC Mid-Term exam for you today.  Can you look at these two maps and tell me which one is January 14th and which one is May 8th?

If you are able to answer this question you will pass the first of two questions. The second one is easier. Take a look at question #2:

Question #2 actually has the answer on the map.  Do you remember the “non ice storm” ice storm part of the cycling weather pattern from 115 days ago in January. There were dire predictions of a major, crippling ice storm, and a few spots actually had a major ice storm from northwestern Oklahoma into southwestern Kansas and a moderate ice storm farther north over parts of Nebraska. This map on the left shows the 500 mb flw from January 16th.

This map on the right is the forecast map valid on Thursday. The upper low is moving out of the southwestern states into Kansas. What happens next is also quite similar to what happened in January.  The storm never leaves Kansas and splits into pieces. This is what happened in January, and this is what is forecast to happen on Thursday.  The upper lows take a similar track and have a similar destiny.

Okay, so back to the first question. Could you tell which verified 500 mb map was January 14th, and which one was May 8th?  Here is the answer:

The pattern is quite obviously cycling as described by the LRC. This will certainly be in my presentation in Kansas City in June at the AMS Broadcast conference. Yes, I am presenting our hypothesis,and the conference is here in KC.  The Lake Tahoe and obliteration of the California drought will also be a big part of the presentation and also in our paper being submitted for peer review in the coming weeks.

So, what does this mean?  This is a storm we forecasted to hit around late this week and it is arriving during these next 36 hours.  What happens in the next two weeks will likely result in excessive rainfall in many areas. We will look ahead to that second half of May forecast in the coming days. Today, let’s concentrate on this storm.

Today’s Set-Up:

Using the LRC we already have a head start and there should be no big surprise if this storm struggles to produce thunderstorms outside of the more obvious focusing mechanisms.  A focusing mechanism is a front or mid-level disturbance.  The fronts are the most obvious and we can find them in the surface pattern.  I have been showing these on the air. Let’s look for them this morning.

The main focusing mechanism is forecast to be a slow moving frontal system that will be tracking southward later this evening and overnight. Here is one surface forecast from the HRRR model valid at 10 Pm tonight:

This model was rather dry until after sunset when thunderstorms form near the front.  This is the boundary we will be monitoring and analyzing all day long. If this model is correct, then a line of thunderstorms would be tracking slowly across the KC metro area with the front extending from near Kirksville, MO southwest to near Salina, KS.

There are other focusing mechanisms beyond the surface boundaries.  We have to look for mid and upper level disturbances. Here is one of them that has an obvious strength to it this morning:

This wave of energy is timed to arrive in eastern Kansas around sunset and it may combine with the front to increase the thunderstorm activity. But, it is way out over western Oklahoma and it is not moving very fast as it rotates around the developing upper level low.

Here is today’s severe weather risk from the SPC.  Let’s see how this evolves today.

One last map to post as the NAM just came out:

This is the rainfall forecast from 7 PM to 1 AM this evening. KC seems to be the target on the latest NAM model.

Thank you for participating and sharing in this weather experience. We will be looking ahead to the second half of May in the next few days.


2017-05-10T23:25:33+00:00 May 10th, 2017|General|25 Comments


  1. Three7s May 10, 2017 at 8:03 am - Reply

    Not seeing much of a severe weather threat with this unless we’re almost right underneath the warm front or near the upper level low. There’s zero chance of the latter happening, and the warm front should be too far away for any significant severe weather. Should be just old thunderstorms.

  2. turd ferguson May 10, 2017 at 8:13 am - Reply

    would you predict the heavier rains to be north or south?

    also, those two maps next together look like boobies 🙂

    • Three7s May 10, 2017 at 8:21 am - Reply

      North will get the brunt.

    • Gary May 10, 2017 at 9:03 am - Reply

      It will depend on where the front is located around 8 PM tonight. The latest NAM blasts the KC metro area. There may be some severe weather, but flooding is the most likely risk in a two county wide area.


  3. John Sickels May 10, 2017 at 9:58 am - Reply

    Sounds like an ideal spring event to me….heavy rain, thunder, lightning, maybe some hail, but low tornado risk. I’ll take it.

  4. turd ferguson May 10, 2017 at 10:23 am - Reply


    If this cluster down by wichita holds true and gives us a good pop this afternoon, what does that do to instability, avaialble moisture, etc

  5. Dave LS May 10, 2017 at 10:25 am - Reply

    I like the good old fashion thunderstorms. Nice relaxing weather with a cold beverage after work watching the royals game.

  6. Weatherby Tom May 10, 2017 at 10:33 am - Reply

    Hope we get some rumbles of thunder and a little lightning tonight, kind of missing that…

  7. REAL HUMEDUDE May 10, 2017 at 10:51 am - Reply

    This weather is boring

  8. REAL HUMEDUDE May 10, 2017 at 10:53 am - Reply

    The little MCS by Wichita sure looks to be here much sooner than this evening. I would wager it arrives in metro by 3 pm at this speed, possibly earlier if it can develop anything out ahead of the lead impulse. I sure hope those up north takes the brunt of this one, they need the rain up there.

    • DanT May 10, 2017 at 11:26 am - Reply

      Wichita NWS says it is moving NE at 55-60 mph. Looking at the numbers in and around KC- temps near 80 and Dew Point close to 70. So there is enough for storms to work with.

      • Gary May 10, 2017 at 11:43 am - Reply


        There is no surface boundary for this system to intensify onto, so the risk of anything severe is rather low. Then, this area of rain may mess with where the front will be located later. We will have to look and see how the surface responds behind this system. It is moving so fast.


    • Three7s May 10, 2017 at 11:26 am - Reply

      HRR has this wave falling apart as it gets to the metro area.

      • Waldo Weather May 10, 2017 at 11:40 am - Reply


      • Craig May 10, 2017 at 2:11 pm - Reply

        HRRR blew this one.
        Heavy rain with strong winds and limbs down in Lenexa.

    • Gary May 10, 2017 at 11:44 am - Reply

      Or 1:30 even.


  9. Jason May 10, 2017 at 11:16 am - Reply

    I don’t mind a little rain but the flooding issue is getting really old. Quite the opposite of a prolonged drought.

  10. REAL HUMEDUDE May 10, 2017 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    Much stronger activity starting to pop ahead of that lead wave, maybe not severe but some very heavy rain may be inbound by 2pm or earlier. A big old cell is trying to pop around the farm, please move off somewhere else!

  11. Anonymous May 10, 2017 at 1:03 pm - Reply

    you blowed that forecast

  12. KS Jones May 10, 2017 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    Got hit with one drop of rain yesterday at 7:30 PM. Weather Underground predicted we’d get rain at 7:30, so technically, they were right.
    It has stayed dry here so far (1:43 PM) and the system that we are supposed to monitor in our our lesson plan is tracking east of here. Looks like we will miss getting rain altogether unless that spinning pinwheel down in New Mexico heads our way later tonight.

  13. Weatherby Tom May 10, 2017 at 2:05 pm - Reply

    Wow, wishes do come true, nice storm with lightning and thunder. Just thought it would happen tonight, not right now. Some heavy downpours too!

  14. LSDoc May 10, 2017 at 2:27 pm - Reply

    Dana and Parks at 98.1 KMBZ also commented on your maps. I am ROTFLMAO! They are right – LOL. I didn’t notice it either, so don’t feel bad…

  15. Dobber May 10, 2017 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    What happened to a dry afternoon with a slight chance of showers?

    • REAL HUMEDUDE May 10, 2017 at 2:47 pm - Reply

      Gary knew that was off by like 9am, we have been chatting about it. I know you only exist to troll others lately, but come on man. You been leaning towards curmudgeon lately, brighten up buddy.

  16. Three7s May 10, 2017 at 4:16 pm - Reply

    Yep, HRR totally blew this one. I wasn’t expecting storms that bad through the whole duration, so that was pretty surprising.

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