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.

Gary